Category Archives: Goals

Paleo Eating, It’s What We Do!

Since January, Patrick and I have made a concerted effort to cut out simple carbs and eat “paleo.” It’s also been called eating primal, caveman, etc. It’s actually a pretty simple theory for how to model your food — cut out simple carbs in the form of bread, wheats, white rice, pasta, white and red potatoes and the like, and focus instead on eating protein, veggies, nuts and fruit (in moderation). If we were eating “true 100%” Paleo, we would cut out dairy 100%, but that is really just too difficult for me. I need my cheese. And as long as it is in moderation and isn’t soy cheese or low-fat cheese it is fine.

Why are we doing this you might ask? Primarily for health and weight loss benefits. Both of us should lose weight (especially before we have kids) and we want to feel better. Now that we are in our mid-30’s, we were both starting to feel more creaky and found we weren’t feeling good after we would fill up on some of our favorite foods like pizza and pasta and breads and potatoes. I also have a slight gluten sensitivity, and when I avoid foods with gluten, my stomach thanks me greatly. But most importantly, oh my God do we feel better and younger and faster and stronger eating this way! It’s hard to believe that changing how you eat on what is ultimately a minute level (we usually cooked at home before too) can promote a bunch of bigger and better feelings. When my blood sugar levels aren’t spiking after eating foods so high in starch like potatoes and pastas, I don’t feel the need to nap after eating.

I wish I could explain it other than just saying “I feel good” but it’s true. I feel good. My blood sugar levels are solid, my water intake is up, my joints feel good, my stomach feels GREAT and I’m sleeping better. By cutting out processed foods, increasing water intake and eating healthy foods for me, my skin has improved and frankly, when you have extra weight you’re carrying around, it kind of starts to melt off. The added bonus, of course, is that when you don’t need to nap after every meal or lay on the ground in the fetal position clutching your stomach, you can actually exercise too!

What CAN You Eat? This is a question I get a lot…..”sputter, sputter, if you’re not eating bread and grains and pasta, what the hell are you eating?” Well, first off, we are eating like kings lately! The general rule of thumb for our plates is half protein, half veggies/fruits/nuts. If it’s an animal? You can eat it. If it’s a vegetable? You can eat it. If it’s a nut? You can eat it. If it’s fruit? You can eat it in moderation. I love all those things! Nom nom nom. And when you fill your house with good foods, as I tell my mom all the time, it’s that much harder to eat the bad food.  I have a heroin-like addiction to pretzels. BUT, if I do not buy them, and I’m craving them, it’s a lot of effort to get up, get shoes on, go to the store, run in to get the pretzels, and then return home to eat them. That’s a 30 minute time commitment I have to make to getting junk food when if I wait 15 minutes at home, the craving will probably pass.

My saving grace for eating in the “Paleo” lifestyle, though, is meal planning. Course, I’ve always done meal planning since we live in an apartment with a regular sized refrigerator and not 3 fridges and 2 freezers tucked into a basement somewhere. We have somewhat limited storage space in our pantry and while we store all of our “staples”, fresh fruits and veggies need to be bought at least weekly and I buy our meat in bulk about once a month. Sundays for me is the day to sit down with the paper and see what’s on sale (have I mentioned I’m an avid coupon clipper), check out the specials at the store, and sort through the recipes I’ve found during the week that I earmarked for trying. We figure out our schedules for the week, who will be home for which meals and start the planning there. My theory is always if I know what I’m going to be eating each night for dinner, AND I know that I have the ingredients all ready to make the meal, I’m not going to be as tempted to sit down and order take out on my way home or grab a frozen pizza. Because let’s face it, pork chops on the slow cooker sound AND taste way better than take out or a frozen pizza.

 

If you’re at all interested in reading up on the Paleo lifestyle, and/or looking for yummy Paleo recipes, here are a few blogs that I follow that make finding new and yummy foods easy:













I set my blog subscriptions up in Google Reader and then log on each morning to see what’s new!
Happy Eating!
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Pretzels, My Love, We Need to Break Up…..

The one food that I love more than anything else in the world is a pretzel.  Whether it is a soft pretzel eaten from a vendor on a busy city street, one at a sporting event, enjoyed covered with mustard and washed down with beer, or the Rold Gold pretzels at home in that beautiful yellow bag, I love ’em. L-O-V-E them. I also L-O-V-E the salt that covers them, adorning my pretzel so beautifully.

Also, a difficult concept for me to get behind is one of self-deprivation and that I must suffer in order to accomplish something good. (Note: Patrick often tells me that he blames his Catholic upbringing for his constant feeling that if he didn’t have to suffer for something, it isn’t worth having.  I, on the other hand, do not believe that.)  All of this is ultimately why I love the Weight Watchers program so much, because I can still enjoy my favorite foods, just in moderation. But enough about WW, this post is about my ongoing affair with pretzels.

Unfortunately,  these past few weeks have taught me that despite how far I have come on the WW program, in controlling what I eat and my portion sizes, I do not think that I have the ability to control myself when it comes to pretzels. Or actually, as the case may be, the salt that adorns the pretzels.

Each big, beautiful Rold Gold pretzel is 2 Weight Watcher’s points. That isn’t bad, especially when I need my pretzel fix. However, the Weight Watchers Points system has yet to calculate and determine the amount of points associated with me licking my finger, running it through the salt on the bottom of the pretzel bag and then eating that. Repeat about 5 times and that is me on any given day when my hand hits the pretzel bag. Add in that my body seems to adore retaining water when I even look at salt, and I’m sure that you can follow along nicely with my point — > pretzels, no matter how much I build them into my Points system, end up causing me to gain weight when it is time for weigh-in day.  I also get the unfortunate side effect of water weight being that I am bloated, which makes me crabby because I am uncomfortable and my clothes do not fit that well.

Well, the pretzel problem (“PP”), hit a head last week (when I initially started this post and then life got in the way of me finishing it) when I found that my engagement ring was a little bit tight on my finger. Not to the point where I couldn’t wear it, but definitely a little uncomfortable to get on and off. It wasn’t until I was sitting at work having a pretzel (perfect snack size, did I mention that?), and telling a friend about the ring issue, when she said “maybe it’s that pretzel you’re scarfing down.” WHAAAHHH? What you talking about Willis? Well, what she was talking about was 100 percent right — my salt consumption was off the charts (I’m like an alcoholic looking for my fix) and I was bloating up as a result of my affair with my beloved snack food. This, in turn, was affecting my hands too.

Enter:  The Cure.  I decided that to test this theory, I would go off pretzels for a week and see what happened — not too hard since I finished licking the salt out of the pretzel bag the night before and didn’t have more in the house, and they don’t sell my favorite kind at my local grocery store (I have to go a little farther for that).  I went off the pretzels, didn’t have any for a week, and sure enough, as the days wore on, I felt better, less bloating, and surprise, surprise, my ring was comfortable to get on and off again!

The Breakdown:  Last night, I ran into the grocery store for a few items on my way home from work. I was hungry, but stuck to my list UNTIL…..drumroll, please, I was in the frozen food aisle and the snack food aisle is on the other side, and shining down from that high shelf was the exact brand of pretzel that I ADORE — Rold Gold Sourdough with the white salt.

Before I knew what was happening, I threw a bag in my basket, was checking out and at home in my kitchen busting the bag open. Oh God, those pretzels were so fucking good, especially after a week of not having them and not having the salt. Intellectually, I knew that the pretzel incident would not turn out the way I wanted it to, no matter how many times I chanted “they’re just 2 points, they’re just 2 points.” Alas, I woke up this morning, got ready for work and went to put my jewelry on, and sure enough, the ring is a little tight again.

I’ve now recommenced my pretzel deprivation program and I am working on getting through it emotionally — a therapist may or may not be required, but I know I can prevail, so long as I don’t ever buy those pretzels again.  I had expected to be a little upset about the fact that pretzels and I are going to have to break up, and angry at myself for not being able to control myself to even enjoy my favorite snack food in moderation, but I guess that is the point of all addict-recovery programs — you can’t have even a little bit. Pretzels, you are my downfall, and we cannot see each other anymore.  My body will thank me, my sad Panda heart will not.

Why do I need goals, again?

Something that I have been thinking about a lot lately is what are my “goals” for this entire process of losing weight and changing the overall structure of my life (which I will get to, keep reading)….but more elemental than this question is why are goals important? Every magazine article I read in Shape, or Self, or Weight Watchers, or Health, starts off asking the question “what are your goals?” But why is this really important?

If you do a simple Google search of “why are goals important” you’ll get more than a million hits to websites that discuss and dissect this very issue, from individual blogs, to studies that one only hopes were official and in accordance with some type of scientific methodology.  Without going into a lengthy review of each such article, as each says essentially the same thing, let’s try to boil it down…without goals we cannot define what we intend to do, how we are doing in the process of it, and if we have accomplished anything.  Continue reading Why do I need goals, again?