Sunday, December 31, 2006

January goals

So, here it is December 31. I said I'm going to make a set of goals for each month to reach my goal of being a healthier me by the end of 2007.

For me, the definition of healthy is participating in regular physical activity at least 30 minutes a day, but hopefully 60; eating healthfully by ditching the refined grains, refined sugars, and eating fruits and veggies and lean protein and making decisions about my body and health because they are the healthy decision not because they taste good or because I'll lose weight if I eat them.

So, to go toward those goals, my January goals are:
  1. Exercise 30 minutes 3-4 times a week. To measure whether I've reached my goal, I'm going to take the total number of times I've worked out for January. That means 30 minutes for 12-17 times total and I will have reached my goal.
  2. Follow the 30-day plan ( to get my eating back on track. I know this isn't necessarily about weight loss, but at this point, I just need my regular pants to fit again. So I will be doing the 30-day plan to remind myself how to each proper portions and set me on my way toward eating healthy, and Oh, the ever important dropping of holiday weight.
There it is, I'll be stopping in to give updates about how I'm doing and probably moan a little when I'm having a bad day or need some motivation.

Looking back

Before I officially begin on my 2007 journey. I felt like I needed to look back at what I had accomplished health-wise. In the process of losing the weight that had me at almost 200 lbs I have very proudly made the following changes:
  1. I have switched almost entirely to whole grain bread products at home. White pasta is tasteless to me anymore, I love the nutty flavor of brown rice, I love that same nutty flavor in steel cut oats instead of instant oatmeal. I'm still working on loving whole wheat bread, but I'll still take a good loaf of rye over regular white bread any day.
  2. I eat way more fruits and veggies. I'm much more conscious of trying to eat veggies with my meals. I no longer think a piece of bread is a substitute for a veggie. I still have a long way to go on this, but I got my veggie cookbook, so I'm raring to go.
  3. I know how to eat healthy even if I don't always do it. Almost always anymore the meals I cook at home are fairly healthy and balanced. I can cook a tasty, low-fat meal that I enjoy eating and get compliments on from guests. I also know the substitutions to make to lower fat and calories, or to just generally make things healthier. The area I need the most work is when I eat out I tend to throw those rules out the window.
  4. I know that exercise does shape my body well. I still need to work on being regular with it.
  5. I take my vitamins and sneak flax seed in wherever I can. I'm much more conscious about trying to eat more fiber.
  6. I almost never eat red meat anymore. I've switched to turkey or chicken in most of my recipes and when I do eat red meat, it's never ground beef, it's usually lean steaks or lean pork chops.
I've come a long way from my pizza and mac n cheese eating college self. I do have a few more miles to go though. I've been pretty good the last couple of days (except for that one incident with the pizza hut pizza). I've done my new work out videos 3 of the last 5 days and am about to pull one out to do right now. I've made healthier choices for snacks including whole oranges and apples (oranges have tasted phenomenally good to me lately) and yesterday, though we ate out for breakfast and dinner, I had the fresh fruit crepes for breakfast instead of the belgian waffle and then I didn't just eat lunch because it was time, I had a healthy snack and then just dinner. All in all I've felt better about the choices I've been making, and the scale is making a little bit of headway, but tomorrow is the big day.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Making a little bit of headway

I've been doing well the last couple of days. I limited myself to 4 cookies yesterday, which still seems like a lot, but the way I've been eating recently is really good. The other good news is that in eating better and having done my 2 new workout videos (balance ball toning workouts since I still can't seem to breathe that well) my "fat" pants are buttoning again, regular jeans still do not fit. After the incident on Christmas eve where I almost broke down in tears about my pants buttoning, this is good news. Plus I feel better about myself. Whenever I exercise, I feel thinner whether I am or not. Had a falling down this afternoon. It seems popcorn is a trigger food for me. I then ate 2 cookies and several caramel kisses and it sent me craving junk food (when I had been craving oranges).

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Weekend Report

So, Christmas is over and now I just have New Year's left to navigate before I begin the big push. How did I do this weekend? I think my record is pretty much 1-2. Saturday we had many Christmases with Dustin's family. We had breakfast out with his mom at Bob Evans. I had turkey sausage, egg beaters, and 2 biscuits. Pretty darn good for Bob Evans (where it's nearly impossible not to get everything fried). Lunch with his aunt and uncle at Panera: I had a gigantic steak salad. Dressing on the side and I didn't even eat the whole thing. Fabulous. Then I crashed and burned at his dad's Christmas. There was spinach dip. Yum. I had a turkey sandwich, lots of spinach dip on corn chips. I ate until I was overly full. Clearly, this was a problem. But over all I did pretty good on the day and only had 2 cookies, which is pretty darn impressive for me.

Sunday I ate well all day, but Christmas Eve dinner, I crashed and burned. The Polish food proved too much for me. Yesterday was also pretty similar, I grazed all day. However, I never felt ill, which is good (yes, sadly, this has been a problem for me in the past). But, my pants are definitely too tight. I'm attempting to reform today and had I meal replacement bar for breakfast, and orange and string cheese for a snack and I'm having a meal bar for lunch. I know they aren't exactly healthy, but at this point I'm desperate to make my pants fit again. Oh and lots of water.

Also on the docket for today: exercise video. The good news is the respiratory crap seems to be almost gone, so I expect to be able to breathe normally again soon.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Rest of December

Because the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step and you can't take those steps too soon, my goal for the rest of December (since I am currently recovering from a respiratory infection which makes breathing under normal circumstances rather difficult) is to attempt to make at least incrementally healthier choices. I'll be eating out a lot celebrating with my husband's family and with friends. So, I will choose chicken instead of beef when possible (or even, *gasp*vegetarian). I will choose vegetables instead of fries as a side and when I can stomach it, ordering a salad (I really hate being the girl that orders the salad. It's so cliche). I have to remember, that is not the last french fry in the world. If it looks like the world is ending, I really can stop at wendy's and order a last minute order of french fries.


I, Alyssa, am a food-a-holic. I love food. I love to cook. I love to talk about food. And I especially love to eat. In a certain way, I'm lucky. I've been blessed so far that I've not had any major health problems because of this and I'm only overweight and not obese. But I've decided that this year, 2007, I need to change my attitude about how I live my life. I've always pretty much been a "life's short, have dessert" kind of girl. It's time for me to be a "life's short, let's do something" kind of girl. So in 2007 I'm resolving to stop dieting, stop eating dessert first and stop worrying about the number on the scale (so much). I'm making changes because my health depends on it.

I'll get to the changes in a minute, but I feel like I need to give some back story here. I'm 5' 6" and currently (during Christmas time) weigh 180 lbs. I'm usually at about 175. Which puts my current BMI somewhere between 28 and 29. Firmly in the overweight, but not obese category. I have asthma and eczema. I have weighed as much as 196lbs post-college. The least I can ever remember weighing was 135lbs and I was playing basketball (so running approximately 5-10 miles a day and biking 5-10 miles a day) and was 14 years old. I thought I was fat then. I've never really found a happy medium.

I was raised Polish Catholic. This means I grew up eating sausage, sausage and more sausage. Oh and potatoes. My mother is a great meat and potatoes cook and my father thinks noodles are a vegetable. My family loves to talk about food. This is what we do when we get together. "oh, this is a great piece of cheesecake, but it's not as good as the cheesecake you made last year." "these are some great cookies, but they could use more nuts." I spent a few hours as a kid helping my mother cook and bake. I love to cook and I especially love to bake. I actually love to spend 3 hours making a cake from scratch.

I say all of this not to over share, but really as a baseline of where I'm coming from and what my goals are. As a kid, I was an a bit of an athlete so I never worried about what I ate and my parents, while they limited sugar and pop, also served hearty meals with pasta as a consistent side (though I don't blame them for this, I was a picky eater and I've heard many a story about the great whole wheat pizza debacle of 1976, long before I was born). I lived on chicken nuggets and pizza in college. I like my food to taste good. I don't mind if it's healthy, but I'm still skeptical of most veggies. I did manage to lose about 20 lbs after college, so I have made strides toward being healthier, but I'm a long way from doing my best.

So, my point is this: in 2007 my new goal is to be a healthier person. Weight loss is not my goal, but I won't lie and say that I won't hope it's a pleasant side effect. I will eat balanced meals, exercise 6 days a week and treat sweets and fast food as a condiment or rarity. Since people who make radical changes all at once tend to fail, my goal is to make incremental changes, with a new plan each month so I don't get bored. I also hope to run a 5K in March. By the end of 2007, my goal to be exercising 6 days a week with at least 30 minutes of activity 7 days a week. This exercise will include 3 days of cardio and 3 days of strength training. Along with this, I will be eating better. This is a goal not just because I want to be healthier, but I hope along with dietary changes I can get the eczema and asthma to disappear or at least not be bothersome. Oh, and avoid the heart disease and high blood pressure that run in the family.

It's a big goal. I plan to accomplish it. This blog is to help me be accountable. And hopefully to keep me on track when I stumble.