What’s up, Wednesday?

I've been nomming on my garden grown Kale ... carb-free!

I’ve been nomming on my garden grown Kale … carb-free!

Hello, hello. I hope your day is off to a nice start, or if you’re reading this in the afternoon/evening, that it’s been AWESOME so far! I have a mish-mash of randomness to chat about today. The first is, results of my weekly Weight Watchers weigh-in. I was having trouble with motivation this week, even though I’ve been cutting carbs like a champ. As outlined in several PCOS/Low Glycemic diet guide books, I’m trying to stick to 100 carb grams or less per day. It’s actually a very doable amount, in that you can still have bites here and there of yummy carbs like red potatoes, it’s just the “empty carbs” that have to go. I just wasn’t feeling the whole “constantly trying to lose weight” thing, especially since I found an old journal from five years ago where I weighed exactly one pound less than I do now. That sent me into this whole “Why do I even bother?” type mindset, making me think things like “Maybe this is just who I am. Maybe I just need to accept that this is my weight, forever.” However, common sense spoke, as it often eventually does, and my friend who’s also dieting reminded me that we’re not getting any younger, and there’s the whole health thing to worry about. I ate the chip off my shoulder, and moved on. I forced myself to weigh in today, and while I dreaded stepping on the scale even though I knew I had done alright, I was rewarded with a 1.5 pound loss, making my total weight loss hover around 22 pounds. That was a good reminder for me that sometimes you just need to SHOW UP to find new inspiration. I have a semi-goal of trying to shed 8 more pounds before my Cabo San Lucas vacation in May. I say semi-goal because as I’ve learned with PCOS, setting up a numerical goal is sometimes a bad idea, because my body bloats like a sponge in water, and jeans/measurements are a much more reliable factor for me. But you get the drift. I’m tryin’ to be good. Enough of that, let’s talk about VIKINGS!

I'll refrain from making a bad Helga/Olga joke, but you know what I'm thinking about singing!

I’ll refrain from making a bad Helga/Olga joke, but you know what I’m thinking about singing!

Remember how I wrote a post about how I’m not fat, I’m just a viking? On Sunday, the husband and my mom and I trekked up to California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks for the Scandinavian Festival! We got to hear stories, lore and historical facts (like the fact that nobody likes Lutefisk), and there were all sorts of cool crafts for kids, like making floral wreaths and butter knifes. I, for one, most enjoyed the dress up, as you can see by the photo above. We enjoyed traditional Swedish fare of roasted corn (Yeah, not really traditional Swedish fare), curly fries, and fresh berries with cream, and spent some time shopping at all the little Norwegian/Swedish vendors. I got a cute blue and yellow horse that says ‘Vilkommen’ to hang on my front door. Here’s me in a traditional Swedish kitchen, feeling right at home amongst the cabbages.

Scandinavian Festival

Sweet Swedes in a traditional Swedish kitchen

Lastly, I have some good stuff to tell you guys about in the next few days! In the “I’m becoming a hippie” vein, I’ve stumbled upon some really cool natural healing/wellness products from a brand called Bio-Ray. Using some of their herbal detox products in conjunction with now weekly acupuncture has helped some of the ongoing health issues I’ve been having. I’ll have more details for you soon. I am also excited to share a low-calorie banana split recipe in the next few days, courtesy of some amazing light, all natural ice-cream from my friends at Halo Top Creamery. I’ll be spending some time in Palm Springs over the next few days, and when I’m not hanging with my desert tortoise friends or logging training miles walking around the living desert, I hope to be catching up on writing some more posts. Ok, I lied, I have one more thing to tell you about…

Woohoo! Let's keep fundraising and walking!

Woohoo! Let’s keep fundraising and walking!

 

Lastly (for real this time) thank you SO MUCH for your support of me and the 3-Day! In my first day of fundraising I raised $469, which is 20% of my total goal of $2,300. I am humbled and overwhelmed by the amazing encouragement you all have given me. Thank you, thank you, thank you! $2,300 will allow me to walk 60 miles in San Diego with my team, the Double Chin Divas. Can anybody out there make a $31 donation and help me reach my first mini goal of $500? Once I’ve met $500, we don’t have to stop there — keep those donations coming! One $60 donation funds a walker for the whole 3 days, and a $35 donation funds transportation costs for a patient undergoing chemotherapy. If you can’t make a donation, consider registering for the 3-Day and walking with the Double Chin Divas! (Don’t worry – if you’re a dude and would prefer not to be a diva, we’ll make a concession and make your shirt say Double Chin Dude ;) ) Using the code TEAM20 at The3Day.org through April 16 will save you $20 off your registration, making it $50. We’ll have a blast training together, walking together, and kicking cancer’s butt.

That’s all I got for today. Keep on rockin’!

 

Livin’ la vida low-ca(rb)

See what i did there?! Okay, I’m probably a little bit delusional from working on a brand naming project for the past six hours :) Today I want to talk about food, one of my very favorite things.

One scary thing about being on a low-carb diet is that social eating situations are unknown. Will the main dishes be bread, bread and crackers? Will there only be a platter of sugar cookies and punch? We’re getting into the Holiday season and it’s not uncommon to deck the halls with tons of sugar. For example, last night I went to a David Sedaris reading put on by university’s alumni association. I was a little bit nervous about what I’d eat at the reception as breads and sugars are pretty much off the list entirely. To my delight, they had tons of roast vegetables, cold cuts, cheese, and my personal favorite – a gigantic bowl of marinated olives! I was very happy.

buffet_csun_doublechindiary

Then there’s the challenge of eating at restaurants. In Minnesota last weekend we went to the 58 Diner, famous for their Juicy Lucy burger, a patty with melted cheese inside. I got my sans bun with “Carrot fries” on the side. The dish in the background looks much more scrumptious, but hey, gotta make sacrifices somewhere!

LowcarbBurger_doublechindiary

The easiest way to handle this way of eating is cooking at home. For dinner tonight, I stir fried some ground pork, carrots, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, carrots, onion, bell pepper and celery with soy sauce and garlic. Deeeeelicious and filling!

Stirfry_lowcarb_doublechindiary

But my favorite low-carb dish of the day was my baked avocado egg. One of the best ways to get ideas for clean eating is to search hashtags on instagram. I browse #lowcarb and #pcos quite often for recipe ideas. Pop the seed out of an avocado, fill the hole with an egg, sprinkle with salt and pepper, bake at 375 for 30 minutes. It took me a little bit to get used to a cooked avocado, but it was a mellow and filling meal, and so pretty too!

Avocadoegg_doublechindiary_lowcarb

Do you find it challenging to eat healthy or in a certain style when you’re out and about? Have you pleasantly surprised lately, like I was at the David Sedaris reading? I hope you have a wonderful day!

 

All or Nothing

Hello! Can you believe it’s November already?! I can’t. It feels like just yesterday that 2013 was starting and I had all the hopes in the world of being at my goal weight by the end of the year. Well, erm… *scratches head* So maybe that hasn’t happened, yet, but in all reality, some things just take time. More time than you imagine. But, I digress.

Today I want to talk about “All or Nothing”, or, what happened to me with food this weekend! The past few weeks I had done a Doublechindiary_popcorngood job eating low-carb. I did meal prep for breakfasts, making scrambled egg whites and pan fried lean chorizo. I ate salads with chicken for lunch, drank water and snacked on persian cucumbers. Sadly, since I’m scaleless, I have no idea if I lost weight. I need to schedule a follow up with my doctor and can weigh in then. I was on track!

Then, Halloween came. That meant pizza with friends for dinner, and a few Almond Joys accidentally fell into my mouth. Halloween passed and I resolved to get back on track to the low-carb eating. Instead, we went out with friends to Dia de Los Muertos, where Matt and I split three tiny tamales. Not satiated by the corn husk wrapped burritos, I smelled the unmistakable smell of popcorn, a treat that had eluded me for the past few weeks, as buttery corn doesn’t really fit into a low-carb lifestyle.

Hunger and the thought of “a treat” got the best of me, and I was in popcorn heaven. We hung out at the festival for a few hours longer, then went to a 24 hour diner where Matt and I split a cheeseburger and onion rings. Thankfully, I was too full before I could do major damage on the onion rings.

I forgave myself for my few days of foodie misgivings and vowed to get back on track today. But then, I saw the open box of Count Chocula and said I’d “start tomorrow”. How could I tell myself that after last week’s blog?! Haha. But, these few slip ups have reminded me of why a low-carb diet will probably be my key to success. When I can’t have a certain food group (in this case, sugar or bread), I stay away from it. It’s All or Nothing. Where I get into trouble is when I am eating a little bit of everything, and trying to pretend that I’ll have the power to say no. Tomorrow is a new day, and it’s back to the low-carb lifestyle. No sugar, no bread, no onion rings. And that’s ok. Because it’s not that I’ll never be able to have them ever again; it’s just that I’ll do better refraining entirely for the next little bit of time. I’m not sure how I’ll navigate the holidays, but I’ve noticed I feel better on low-carb. More energy, less stomach issues, and hopefully, less bloating and weight gain.

Do you notice when you splurge on something (and it doesn’t have to be food), that’s it’s ALL or NOTHING?

 

Crash n’ Burn: Navigating Highs and Lows of PCOS Insulin Resistance

All last week, I did a commendable job staying on my low-carb eating plan. My lunches were things like turkey breast, string cheese and crunchy persian cucumbers. I had raspberries with a drizzle of cream for dessert. I stuck to perrier and water (ok, fine, the occasional Diet Coke) and even managed to stay away from the yummy cookies at work. I could feel this eating plan working. Slowly, the “wheat belly” that I so often have, de-puffed, and I could feel my jeans getting a little looser. I was feelin’ good. Then, I got busy. Really busy. Busy enough that I didn’t notice yesterday that I had only eaten two egg whites, some chorizo, and a few persian cucumbers. It was 6:00 pm, but I knew I was heading to a party where I could eat there, so I held out on eating. I felt kind of shaky, but knew I was just hungry. I got to the party and there weren’t many low-carb options, so I had tortilla chips, a piece of chocolate cake, a few chocolate raspberry sticks. Towards the end of the party, my stomach started doing that rumbling that only makes you think “Uh-oh… I need to go home!”. Sure enough, I got home and immediately regretted my lack of planning. Not fun. But I forgave myself, went to sleep and moved on, knowing that tomorrow would be a new day to plan better.

Lofthouse Sugar Cookies — Image from TriadCouponing.com

You’d think I’d learn after all that. But apparently I didn’t, because I started my day today with scrambled eggs and bacon. A few hours passed. I kept working on freelance projects. I didn’t eat. We stopped to go to an open house, and there they were, on the table: my crack. Other than movie theater popcorn, there’s something about these disgusting, fake, sugar-y cookies that rocks my world. Before I knew what was doing, my hand was wrapped around one, and the first powdery bite was in my mouth. Mmmm. mmmm. nom nom nom. The house wasn’t a good fit for us, but that cookie felt like a sugar vacation. The texture alone was carb-tastic, enough to rock my world into a hypoglycemic rush of sugar and glucose. I felt fine, as we made the not so smart decision to get frozen yogurt. We got frozen yogurt; my favorite, coconut yogurt with dark chocolate chips. I made it through half when I started getting the heebie-jeebies. I felt nauseous, tired, warm and just GROSS. It took me a little while to figure out what was going on. I was crashing. My body has adjusted in the past week to being a lean, mean fat burning machine. Very few carbs have passed my lips. All of a sudden I went from practically carb-free to carb-overload. I can’t do this to my body anymore. I need to plan. I need to focus on being prepared for the weekends, when all bets are off, when sometimes, yep, I sleep till 11 AM and skip breakfast. My how the times have changed, when weekends used to be binge-fests. Now I’m not eating enough, and not often enough.

I think this year has been an interesting one in terms of learning why my body does what it does. A large part of that is realizing and recognizing that I have insulin resistance, a happy little side effect of PCOS. There’s a reason my doc put me on metformin; to help me process sugar the way a normal person would. If I’m eating a low carb diet, my body doesn’t have to deal with the huge blood sugar highs and lows that my usual diet causes. Now, I keep the blood sugars happily in the middle with a low or reduced carb plan. By eating the party food and cookie, I basically shocked my system. It wasn’t fun. This week, I need to take better care of myself. My deadlines and projects will only be excellent if the person working on them is also feeling excellent. Who’da thunk that a few little carbs could so drastically affect my blood sugar balance? Beyond sugar and carbs affecting the way I feel, I need to be more mindful of this, as my insulin resistance puts me on the fast track towards diabetes. While my fasting blood sugar tests are all still great, as I’ve seen this year, my body is a fickle, delicate little (or not so little) thing. I need to take better care of myself by taking better care of my food.

Do you find that when you eat really sugary things, you get either a “crash”, or feelings of hyperness? Which is it? I think I can now confirm I’m definitely the “Crash n’ burn” type of gal!

 

Banned Words: I’ll Start Tomorrow

It starts out innocently enough. In my case, a movie. The husband and I had been wanting to see Gravity for a few weeks, but overlapping schedules prevented us from the two-hour luxury. We finally made it yesterday night. As we planned our day, I thought about what we’d make for dinner. I had previously said on Saturday that I’d “start low-carb tomorrow.” I’ve been kind of “off” the past few days in terms of exercise, overwhelmed by life and feeling lazy. (House-hunting and being a business owner will do that to ya.) I knew I needed a fresh start. I decided that I’d have movie theater popcorn as my dinner. Yes, yes, that sounded lovely. There’s nothing like hot, buttered popcorn and a suspenseful flick to end the week. Wait! A little voice popped up in my head. “Popcorn isn’t low carb.”

“Oh, who cares,” the other voice in my head reasoned. “If you don’t eat dinner, and have popcorn instead, it cancels itself out. Sure, it’s high in calories, but you ate light today.”

The other voice responds, “Movie popcorn is the worst thing you could eat. The salt alone will make you bloat ten pounds. Add the butter oil and you’re asking for it. I thought you wanted to lose weight. Don’t do it. Losing weight means saying NO. It means discomfort. It means sacrifice. How bad do you want this? You have to make the change.”

The other voice, growing panicked, grasps for straws. “You deserve it! You’ve had a hard week, with lots of important, adult decisions. Movie popcorn is your FAVORITE. AND, you’ve eaten low-carb all day. You’ve already done so well! You can have a little splurge.”

The other voice, sounding sad, tells you to stop and think. “Remember trying on jeans at TJ Maxx? How the cold, metal button on almost every pair gouged into your tummy, made you cringe? How you’re avoiding the scale, knowing that your body isn’t “normal”, and that your small mistakes with food and exercise WILL ALWAYS show? Your hormones are wacky. It’s not just bad habits that make you gain weight, but it doesn’t help. Your body is actively going rogue. You have to work hard to prevent it from defeating you. It is what it is. Popcorn won’t help, on any level. You know that, Alyssa.”

The other voice, feeling defensive now, says “Just start tomorrow, Alyssa. You deserve this. It will make you feel good.”

The other voice says, firmly now, “No. I’m not starting tomorrow. I’m starting today.”

I’ve learned something about myself the past few years. I can’t just decide one day to lose weight and just do it. I have to decide almost every minute of every day. At least once an hour. I need to decide to drink water, to get moving, to not eat bread, or cookies, or candy. To refuse the movie popcorn. I need to recommit. I’m fiercely loyal to the things I love. Clearly, weight loss is not a thing I love.

So I saw Gravity. And for a riveting two hours, I sat, consumed with emotion and angst, completely lost in the story. The movie was phenomenal, and my husband and I left shaky and tense, rocked by the amazing visual effects and captivating storyline. We’re still talking about the movie today. I didn’t even miss the popcorn. Sure, the smell always seduces me when I walk in, but I didn’t need the crunch, the salt, the butter, the motions, the kernels in my teeth. I didn’t need popcorn. I didn’t need snacks. I didn’t need to start tomorrow. I needed to start today.

Weekly Weigh In

MyFitnessPal – Free Weight Loss Tools

Howdy! Sorry I missed a post yesterday, it’s been a hectic week of tons of writing and deadlines and preparing for my trip to Portland on Thursday! WOOHOO! I’m heading up for a nice little weekend for FitBloggin’, where I’ll do things like attempt Crossfit and meet lots of amazing bloggers. My weigh in this week is pretty anticlimactic – I stayed the same. I’m riding at about eight pounds lost on my home scale, but unfortunately at the doctor’s office, I show a gigantic one pound loss in the past three weeks. SIGH. However, I’ve now started metformin, the insulin resistant drug for my PCOS, and as long as I keep up the fitness and good eating, I will hopefully see that weight start to slide right off! Here I am after an amazing boxing workout with my boxing instructor Shari, and my friend Susannah. I’ve upgraded to using “wraps” in addition to my gloves, and HOLY COW BELLS, does that increase the workout. The wraps protect your knuckles and keep your wrists straight and when I was using them, I could really FEEL the power coming from behind the punch. Yowza!
Screen Shot 2013-06-25 at 8.50.38 PM

One of the main hallmarks of the PCOS diet is staying fairly low-carb and low in sugar. I’m not gonna lie, I’m struggling a little bit with that. Great snacks have helped ease the pain, like last night I took carrots, celery sticks and garlic hummus to my gal pal’s house. That was a satisfying and yummy snack, but I’m missing my bananas and the little Skinny Cow chocolate packets I got as an occasional treat. Anyone have any suggestions for me of snacks that are low in sugar and low carb? I see a trip to the Whole Foods olive bar in my future, but I need to go easy on those because of the salt level.

Chicken Salad for dinner! Yummy and PCOS friendly!

Chicken Salad for dinner! Yummy and PCOS friendly!

So far the Metformin hasn’t been too dicey. I’ve only had one not so great experience and that was after enjoying a delicious pat of butter on my corn on the cob. Unfortunately right after eating I felt the all-too-familiar “UH OH” sensation and the side effect was not pleasant. Now I know that butter, even in a small, limited amount, is a no-no. I guess not everything is better with butter. PCOS certainly isn’t.

It might be placebo affect, but I even feel like I’m more energized from the Metformin, like I somehow have more energy. This of course could be fleeting; maybe it’s excitement about my upcoming trip, or the fact that we’re househunting (EGADS! Watch for a post about that soon!). However, I’m going to enjoy a little more pep in my step while it lasts!

Tomorrow I’ll be back with a post about Beets. Don’t get too excited now… it’s a tutorial on how to make quick pickled beets, because I know you all have so much extra time on your hands, and pickling beets is exactly how you want to spend that time, right? HA! Till next time…

xoxo