28-day Challenge – Stick a Fork in Me I’m Done

Welcome to the end my friends. Yesterday marked the last day of the

Prevention 28-day Transformation Challenge, and although I don’t know that I would consider myself “transformed”, I definitely feel like I took some major steps in the right direction when it comes to my health.

I think the most interesting part of this challenge was that even though I wasn’t counting calories or fat grams or any other nutrient, I still managed to lose weight. Being conscious about what and how much I put in my body was enough to make me understand that eating 1500 calories a day is all well and good, but if it’s 1500 calories of Pepsi and Cheetos, it’s not going to make any difference in your health. Food is fuel. Grilled chicken and a salad will keep you going all day, Cheetos will probably only get you as far as the front door.

Although I had a hard time fitting in all my workouts during the challenge, I was working out more than I had before. I definitely need to make exercise a priority because I do feel great after I work out. I even tried yoga a couple of times while on the challenge and although I’m not great at it, I think I’m going to keep trying (as long as I don’t have to do it in public 😛 )

As I mentioned in previous blogs, although I started out strong, I kind of fizzled in the last two weeks of the challenge. I had a hard time balancing healthy living with being busy, and I think it’s something I’m always going to struggle with. I definitely think preparation is the key thing here and remembering that I need to put myself first, otherwise I’ll burn myself out. And no one wants that. 🙂

I had my last weigh in yesterday and in total I lost 7 lb over the 28 days. Not to shabby if I do say so myself. I had lost eight after Week 2, but then gained back pound in Week 3. For Week 4 I stayed exactly the same.

So now what do I do? Good question!! I carry on, try new foods, try new workouts, and hopefully continue to keep all of you entertained and with my blogs.  Blogging every day is HARD, which is why I think I wasn’t blogging so much towards the end.  I just ran out of things to say (hard to believe, but true).

One last thing I’d like to mention—yesterday the world lost an amazing person with Maya Angelou’s passing.  Her words have inspired so many people, but there is one particular quote of hers that always makes me want to go out there and take on the world:

I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.

Off I go to kick some ass…

Super-spectacular Meltdown Week

The last couple of weeks have not been great. I’ve been struggling with my eating, not getting any exercise, and am generally unhappy with the way I’ve been (or not been) handling my health. All of this led to a spectacular meltdown Monday afternoon. I tend to keep things bottled up inside, until BLAM! I can’t take it anymore and all the toxic stuff inside comes spewing forth like an emotional volcano. Villagers take cover…she’s gonna blow.

(This is going to be a rant by the way, so if you’re not interested in listening to me complain for a couple of paragraphs, you can skip this post 🙂 )

Let’s start with dairy. DAIRY!! Why didn’t one of you tell me how hard it is to give up dairy?? It’s everywhere taunting me, mocking me. I have dreams of swimming in cheese sauce, while cows float by on rafts. I’ve slipped up a few times, but I’m trying to stay on track.

Next is my general eating, which has been—out of control sounds harsh—but basically that’s it in a nut shell. Food consumes my thoughts on a regular basis, and definitely way more than it should:

What time is it? Do I need to eat?
How many calories are in that?
What should I have for breakfast? Lunch? Dinner?
How much fat is in that?
Have I eaten enough today?
Should I skip dinner since I ate a big lunch?
Fuck it, pass me the Doritos.

And on, and on, and on…the cycle in my head never stops. It’s exhausting. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think eating should be this hard. I’m probably the most frustrated I’ve been in a while and I honestly don’t know what to do.

Then there is this weather issue…COLD! SNOW! COLD!!! I am so unmotivated to go anywhere and do anything other than go to the office and home. I feel like a bear in hibernation mode.

These are sob stories…I know. There are people way worse off than me, and I’m just complaining, but if someone out there is wondering how hard and frustrating it is to lose weight then read no further. This is the real deal, and I’m tired of pretending like I have my shit together and everything is going well. It’s not. It sucks on a pretty regular basis. I read these amazing success stories every day of people who have persevered and lost the weight and got themselves healthy. All I think is why can’t I do that? What glitch is there inside my brain that just won’t let me do what I’m supposed to do to lose the weight. I mean, I’m a smart girl, and I’ve got the resources to do it, but for some reason I just can’t get things to click.

My meltdown yesterday got directed towards my friend Dave, who patiently listened to me vent and then calmly told me two things:

  1. Losing weight is hard. It’s physiological and psychological. It’s like trying to beat an addiction.
  2. You need to try to go easier on yourself.

How quickly we forget – that was my one and only resolution for 2014. Go easy on myself. If I could just learn that lesson, I bet everything else would fall into place. Maybe that’s the click I need.

The Dairy Diaries

Welcome back friends!  When last we left Victoria, she was embarking on a quest to improve her health by giving up dairy products.  Let’s check in on her to see how it’s going.

[The camera cuts to Victoria sitting on the kitchen floor in her pyjamas, surrounded by empty chocolate milk and ice cream containers, while eating fistfuls of shredded cheddar cheese straight from the package].

Just kidding!!  Actually, I can honestly say it’s been going well.  It hasn’t been as difficult as I thought it would be, only in that I have to keep reminding myself that I’m not eating dairy, but no slips ups so far.

I did a grocery shop on Saturday and cleaned out the refrigerator of any dairy I wasn’t going to be consuming over the next month.  That seemed to leave quite a bit of space, so I filled the refrigerator with fruits, veggies, fresh herbs, eggs, chicken, turkey, and fish.  On Sunday I roasted a chicken, and then made soup with the bones.  Look at me getting all culinary!  I have plenty of good eating options for the week and have no excuse not to eat well.  Check it out:

A healthy refrigerator is a happy refrigerator!!

A healthy refrigerator is a happy refrigerator!!

Did I just become one of those people who posts pictures of the inside of their refrigerator? YOU BET I DID!  I’m proud of that refrigerator!

One of the best parts of all this is that my brother has decided to support my efforts by giving up dairy himself.  He and I share an apartment and he told me that he was willing to give it up if it was going to help me.  With him taking a break from dairy as well, we can eliminate it all from the house.  Can you say best brother ever?  This is a HUGE deal because my brother is kind of an ice cream junkie, so for him to give that up for me is a very big gesture.  He really has been one of my biggest supporters and wants nothing more than to see me succeed.  It’s amazing to have someone like that in your corner.

Not that he’s the only one!  The amount of support I receive from friends and family, and everyone who reads my blog is so incredible.  It’s pushing me to keep going, and in the last week I’ve made some really great strides in getting healthy, from removing dairy from my diet and cooking more healthy meals to getting back to the gym, I really feel like I’m on an upward swing.  So much so, that I’m proud to say I’m down 1.4 lb.  Not a huge drop, but it’s a start.  I know it’s only Day 4 without dairy, but I’m already starting to feel like I have more energy.  I can’t wait to see what else happens over the whole 30 days!

The Big Fromage

For a while now, I have not been feeling well.  I’m tired a lot and have a lack of energy, I have heartburn and acid reflux sometimes, and just generally feel, well, blah I suppose is the best word to describe it.  I get through my days, but I could definitely be feeling better.  But I don’t just want to feel better, I want to feel great.  Getting back to the gym and watching what I eat are all good starts to moving from feeling blah, to feeling better, to feeling great.  One thing I have been thinking about a lot lately though is the amount of dairy that I consume.

I have been doing some research, and have been reading articles and blogs about the health benefits of giving up diary.  One blog in particular I read this week, written by Kris Carr, made me realize that maybe giving up diary is something I should seriously try.    Going off dairy can potentially:

  • increase my energy
  • eliminate my digestion issues
  • clear up my skin issues (I have had eczema since I was a child).

So, here’s the thing.  Giving up things like drinking milk, or eating yogurt or ice cream – no big deal.  It’s not often I will sit down and drink a whole glass of milk, and I can live without it in my tea.  I don’t drink coffee, so that’s a non-issue as well.  I hate yogurt and although I like ice cream, it’s not something I crave on a regular basis.  The two items that will be the biggest challenge for me when it comes to giving up diary are cheese and chocolate.

Chocolate I’m not so worried about.  I’m sure I could find some tasty dairy-free chocolate alternatives if I’m really craving it, and even if I can’t, I could learn to live without it (it certainly wouldn’t hurt my waistline).  But oh, the cheese.  THE CHEESE!!  Just the thought of living without cheese makes me want to run to the nearest fromagerie and start a samplin’!

I know there are people out there who will tell me that there are all kinds of dairy-free cheeses out there that can substitute nicely for regular cheese.  To those people I say nay.  NAY!!  I have tasted a few dairy-free cheeses and all I can say is I’d rather just give up cheese altogether than have to try and choke down some fake cheese-wannabe.  No thank you.

Now just to be clear, I am not becoming a vegan.  I have no desire to give up meat, but I think eliminating this one area from my diet could make the difference in how I feel, and if that’s the case, what’s the harm in just giving it a try.  Sooooooo….I’m going to start a 30-day no dairy challenge starting tomorrow.  No diary from January 24th until February 22nd.  We’ll see how I feel after a month off the junk and then evaluate.  If things are going well and I’m feeling better, I’ll keep going.  If I don’t really feel any difference then I either need to give it a couple more weeks or assume that dairy isn’t really the problem.  Though I suspect that after four weeks diary-free I’ll start to see a change.

So I invite you to check back occasionally and see how I’m doing.  This can really only go one of two ways – either I feel so fantastic I never have dairy again or I crack by Day 4 and eat my weight in cheese curds.  Stay tuned!!