I am really putting myself out there with this post. 😉 I was never the type of person to do any vigorous working out, especially after being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia (read about my Fibro story here). I started losing weight when I switched to organic/natural foods and eliminated the processed foods. Then I started taking a natural supplement called Protandim and weaned off the antidepressant I was taking (Venlafaxine, or Effexor). I began exercising but this only consisted of riding my bike around with the kids, going for walks, etc. What I would call ‘light exercise’. The more energy I had, the more I could do. Eating real foods and taking this natural supplement makes me feel good and gives me energy. Plus, with eating real foods you have to be up more with preparation and cooking. And really, I enjoy it! I thought I would gain weight back over Fall/Winter when I wasn’t out riding bikes and walking as much but I haven’t. I think the way I eat really effects my weight and my mood/energy level. The better you feel, the more energy you have, and the more you are up and movin’ around!
So I ended up losing about 30 lbs overall and I’m down to a size 6! This was my size before having kids. It’s still pretty unbelievable. I never thought I would be that size again. I wasn’t ever really trying to lose weight. I just wanted to FEEL better. There was a time where I actually thought something was wrong since I was losing weight without any major exercising. I contacted my doctor and had some blood work done. Everything came back fine. So I just kept doing what I was doing. And I do still eat sweets occasionally, carbs, and even go out to eat at non-organic restaurants. It’s just all in moderation. A list of the types of foods I eat during the day is included at the bottom of this post.
I still don’t plan to do any major working out but I do want to incorporate some type of exercise routine into my life. The weather is what gets in the way of that. The cold just hurts, down to my bones! If we ever get into a bigger house, I want to get some kind of exercise equipment. I do think I could feel even better with more exercise. And that’s all it’s about for me. I just want to feel the best I can feel and really enjoy life. And now for the dreaded before and after picture…
Here’s my typical day of food. Please note that I eat a lot less than I used to. My metabolism has increased and I don’t feel the need to eat as much as I did before. I do need to eat each meal though and sometimes a snack in between. And what I eat is not a perfect menu, that’s for sure. I think there’s a lot more I need to do to improve and we have to find what works for us. And we like to follow the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time we eat organic foods prepared at home, and 20% of the time we don’t worry so much and might go out to eat or eat something at a get-together with friends/family or work.
Breakfast – My breakfast during the busy week usually consists of a piece of toast with peanut butter (this is usually Dave’s Killer Bread, or bread that I recently started making, and Trader Joe’s one-ingredient organic peanut butter), an organic string cheese, and some kind of fruit. I do also drink 1 cup of coffee each day (Trader Joe’s fair-trade organic coffee) and add Organic Valley vanilla creamer, cinnamon & nutmeg and coconut palm sugar (like ½ tsp). Other breakfasts I might have during the week are Stonyfield organic vanilla yogurt with granola (I get my granola from our local food co-op – Olympia Food Co-op), and lately I have been obsessed with pomegranate in my yogurt because it’s so good; leftover pancakes; granola bars (I love the Nature’s Path organic pumpkin-n-spice bars! I think of those as a healthier version of a rice crispy treat); Larabars; granola cereal with organic whole milk (or hemp milk) and blueberries; and I always have fruit on the side with each breakfast. On the weekend, we usually have a bigger breakfast that might be hash browns (from scratch with eggs, bell peppers, onion, garlic, salt & pepper); pancakes (I have been experimenting with pancakes and have made several different kinds in which we all loved each one – zucchini, pumpkin, gingerbread, & apple cinnamon); French toast with cinnamon; biscuits & gravy (using a natural/organic sausage with milk, flour & rosemary, and biscuits from scratch); and recently we started a tradition of Fried Egg Sunday! We all love a fried egg with cheese and ketchup, and hot sauce for the grown-ups. Served with a piece of toast, and fruit of course.
Lunch – Lunch during the work week is typically leftovers from dinner and a salad. The salad consists of mixed greens, carrots, cucumber, baby tomatoes, avocado, dried berries, nuts/seeds, or whatever I want to throw in. I always add pepper. I grow kale/spinach so I will throw that in when it’s in season. I try to buy organic dressings but you really have to read ingredients. I do like Annie’s. And I do balsamic vinegar & olive oil a lot. On the weekend I will either have leftovers again or just a bigger salad with the works. Sometimes I will make a quinoa salad and eat it for 2 – 3 days. There are some canned soups I like, Amy’s brand, or Wolfgang Puck. And I do like Amy’s frozen meals that I will occasionally bring to work if I don’t have any leftovers to take. We do go out occasionally, maybe once or twice a month.
Dinner – We have many different dinners that consist of soups, stews, chili, and casseroles. They all basically have a meat/protein, grain, and veggies. I try to cook simple but good foods that our whole family will like. I don’t think our meals are much different than the typical American meal, however, we do not ever eat Hamburger Helper or Rice-a-roni like before. They are packed with additives. We just make our own version of those type of meals. It is pretty easy and doesn’t take much more time doing it from scratch. I love adding in what we want with all these different herbs & seasonings. We do occasionally go out to dinner but it’s probably once a month or less.
Drinks – I drink water with a slice of lemon everyday throughout the day and with my lunch. Lemon gives you energy, boosts your immune system and helps keep the weight off. Pepper also helps with weight loss and I put it on everything! Sometimes I will have a small glass of milk (organic whole milk) with dinner, maybe with something spicy or it just sounds good. I juice and/or make smoothies on the weekend, and put hemp milk in the smoothies. I don’t drink a lot of store bought juice and I don’t drink soda. If I were to drink soda it would have to be a special occasion where I am mixing it with a drink but I try to make it an organic/natural soda (Hansen is a good brand), and never diet soda, which has aspartame! Occasionally I will have tea with honey, usually Trader Joe’s organic green tea or ginger tea. I have organic wine, usually on the weekend. I just bought these coconut waters that I am excited to try with my lunch this week. One has pineapple juice in it and one has peach/mango juice (Vitacoco brand).
Snacks – I love hummus with pretzels (I buy the Trader Joe’s red pepper hummus, or Lilly’s red pepper hummus – I have even got my kids and husband to like it now); trail mix; fruit; homemade guacamole with organic tortilla chips; granola bars (Nature’s Path or Cascadian Farm brands) or Larabars; popcorn (organic popcorn kernels popped either on the stove or in the microwave in a paper bag, with real butter & salt, and I found a white cheddar seasoning from the food co-op); I also like crackers (Late July brand) with pickles & cheese. Is that weird? 😉
Dessert/Candy – I do have a little dessert and/or candy over the weekend sometimes, or if I just need a chocolate fix here and there. Sometimes we make cookies, brownies, or there might be a birthday. I buy candy from Trader Joe’s or our food co-op – Olympia Food Co-op. It’s made from fruit/vegetable extracts for the coloring instead of dyes, and no high fructose corn syrup. I keep organic dark chocolate on hand for my ‘fixes’ and I buy dark chocolate chips and carob chips for the times we want to make cookies or whatever. Of course the time of year determines how many sweets we eat. Here’s why I’m not concerned about some raw cane sugar here and there: http://butternutrition.com/5-reasons-to-embrace-not-avoid-sugar/.