Healthy Byte: Lose Weight AND Be Happy

NOTE: These exact list of things, like anything else won’t work for everyone. However, I think the general approach has a broad enough applicability to warrant consideration. If we can only implement on 1 thing to eliminate entirely that would bring us one step closer to being healthy in body, mind, & spirit, then this was worth the post.

Losing 70 pounds is tough. Keeping it off for more than a decade is even tougher. Trust me, I tried everything. Once I lost the weight, I thought I’d feel relieved and proud all the time, but what I didn’t expect were the feelings of panic and fear.

I was constantly afraid that I’d end up back where I started and keeping the weight off became an obsession. When I overindulged or wasn’t able to work out, my first thought was that I was going to gain the weight back. It was exhausting and nerve-racking.

But somehow I’ve managed to keep it off and eventually found a way to do it that’s effective, effortless and doesn’t mean living in fear. Here’s what I’ve learned about what it takes.

1. Workouts that I dread.

I used to assign value to workouts purely on the number of calories that they burn so I stuck to brutal, high-intensity workouts that sorta made me miserable and ultimately got me injured and left me feeling burned out. Then, it occurred to me that I’m more than just muscle and fat. So I started only doing workouts that felt good in my body and contributed to the overall well-being of my body, mind and spirit. Now, I actually look forward to my workouts, which means I’ve got no problem getting them in regularly.

2. Eliminating entire categories of food.

Legit food sensitivities and allergies aside, cutting out a whole classification of food is not sustainable, making it a one-way ticket to Frustration City. Our bodies were designed to take in quality fats, protein and carbs (in moderation of course) and each plays a vital role in proper bodily function. Now, over time, I’ve learned that there are certain foods that don’t make me feel the greatest — for example, gummy candies cause my skin to break out, cereal makes me gassy and fried foods make me sluggish — but will an order of fries, a few celebratory cocktails or a birthday cupcake (or two) derail my inner peace and send me into a downward spiral of self-loathing and guilt? Absolutely not. I don’t give food that much power over me anymore.

3. Thinking in terms of calories.

Calories get far too much attention considering that they only tell a small part of the story. So many other things have a direct effect on your body weight and overall health and well-being — for example, hydration, sleep and stress levels all affect how well your body’s internal processes work, including digestion and metabolism. When we focus on calories, we learn that low-calorie means better … but it doesn’t. Many of the most nutritious foods on the planet are calorie dense and many very low-calorie foods have little or no nutritional value. Remember that food is fuel, so quality and nutrition definitely matter.

4. Punishing myself for “slipping up.”

Workouts aren’t punishment and deprivation is cruel. Think of it this way: if your child or pet screwed up, is it okay to run them into the ground or withhold a meal from them? No. So why, oh why, it is okay for us to do it to ourselves?

5. Ignoring the need for recovery.

I used to wear my perpetual muscle soreness like a badge of honor and told myself that I had to work out every day in order to “earn” my calories for that day. Honestly, I wish I could get back all that time I wasted — it didn’t make me stronger, leaner or happier. Our bodies can self-heal, but only if we give them the time to do so. Pushing yourself to the limit every day may seem bad-ass, but it’s robbing your body of the chance to rebuild, adapt and grow stronger.

6. Choosing my workouts based on what I want to look like.

My current workout routine reflects how I want my body to function so that I can do all the things that make my life fun and enjoyable — like teaching yoga, running ultra marathons, playing with my 3-year-old niece and carrying all my groceries in one shot. Here’s the thing: I’ve been a size 18 and I’ve been a size 0 — and everything in between — and it didn’t change how I felt about myself. Losing 70 pounds didn’t make me any less self-conscious about my body. You know what did make a difference? Learning what my body is capable of and developing my strengths. The shape and size of my body don’t define me or affect my overall quality of life.

Originally Posted HERE

HB Sig

Healthy Byte: Maintenance 3rd Anniversary (Day 1318)

Today started out like any other Saturday; the house was quiet, still full of sleepy heads, and two hungry pups. I laid in bed for a brief moment before I propelled myself out of the comforts of the warm covers and into the chill of the air conditioned room.

I glanced briefly down at my Fitbit and it stated “0930, SA 13.” The pups wagged their tails excitedly waiting for their breakfast and as they chowed down I retrieved my standard weekend breakfast of protein bar and cup of hot tea. Something about the date drew me to tap on the Fitbit again and I read “0947, SA 13.” Then it suddenly dawned on me, Aug 13 is the day. The day that I reach my goal weight three years ago from years of being overweight.

EPSON MFP image

This is what unhealthy looks like

This was me in 2000. I was 30 years old, 163 lbs at 4’10”, had a BMI of 34.1 (obese), hated photographs of myself, hated shopping for clothes, was the heaviest I have ever been in my entire life, and had accepted that this is how a mother is suppose to look. It wasn’t until 12 years later at an annual physical when my blood work came back declaring that I was pre-diabetic that I finally was scared enough to actually skip all the quick fix diets or miracle diet supplements and just settle down to put in the work.

Weight loss compared to was a breeze. The first two years of maintenance blew by with very little hiccup largely due to my fear of falling prey to the statistics regaining. I remained hyper vigilant on nutrition and gymming regularly. The only time I skipped gym was for a child’s sporting event. My weight remained constant within +/- 1-2 lbs and life was good.

This third year however, has been a series of challenges and it was the first time my weight fluxed back over 100 lbs. I was horrified, frustrated, and was in borderline panic mode. I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong or what has changed or why is that stupid fucking number on the scale going in the wrong direction?!

Of course I knew all the answers but just became quite comfortable with what I am calling the ‘maintenance blinders’ squarely over my eyes. And that is exactly why I religiously log everything and anything other than water pass my little devil lips into MyFitnessPal. It is an incredible source of data to find the self-sabotaging pattern of eating. I can summarize my top pitfalls which has made my 3rd year of maintenance a bit of a roller coaster.

  1. I looked at my daily caloric allotment and felt it was time to increase it from what has made me successful in the previous two years. Instead of 1230 I increased it to 1450 – regardless if I gymmed or not, often eating over it, and abandoned my TDEE #s.
  2. I increased my strength training and reduced my cardio drastically.
  3. Due to increased strength training I was more hungry so I ate more. I became a huge fan of Peanut Butter … on everything!
  4. I associated the consistent weight gain to gaining muscle and rationalized that my pants were getting tight around my waist due to muscle – yes I really did quite an excellent job convincing myself of this one.
  5. A few days before my cycle I have always been famished but since I was doing more ‘strength training’ to ‘build more muscle’ which naturally ‘burns more fat’ I quenched my insatiable appetite with everything and anything with little regard to the quality of what I was consuming. The power of self rationalization is incredibly powerful.

Thanks to my MFP pals and a mishap on the elliptical severely injuring my wrist, I refocused on getting back on track.  

  1. I have NO idea why I veered away from TDEE. I think subconsciously I reflected how easy the previous 2 years of maintaining was and just got a little cocky. I thought ‘hey maybe I can’t get fat again!’ I was sadly mistaken. LOL I dialed my daily baseline caloric allotment to a reasonable 1350, did not eat over it except for once a week on family pizza night, and I have strictly adhered to eating on plan during the workweek and loosening the reigns on the weekend (80/20 Rule).
  2. I did a bit of research and apparently there are studies which alludes that some people are physically built to respond better to cardio and some to strength training when it comes to weight loss. So I have tweaked my physical routine to strength training to be half of my cardio 5 days a week. While on the weekends I bump up the cardio and the strength training to a 60:40 ratio in favor of cardio.
  3. I have made peace with that peanut butter can be addictive for me, so I have tapper off on it and magically I no longer crave it on everything. lol
  4. I have also had to face the hard truth that if my weight is creeping up and my clothes are getting tight around the waist, it is NOT muscle weight but F-A-T. That was a very difficult truth to acknowledge because I no longer could use strength training/more muscle as an excuse to eat like a crazy person. Cuz let’s face it, eating like a crazy person with zero regard to outcome sometimes is just flat out enjoyable. But too much ‘enjoying’ resulted in a reality that I did not like. SO instead having ice cream 4 days a night I limit it to 1 on a non-pizza night. Instead of drowning my protein bar in PB I put it in the fridge so that it doesn’t need ‘something extra’ to make it more palatable.
  5. I still feed my insatiable appetite days before my cycle, but now I do so with the least amount of carbs & sugar with the most nutritional value. This little standard allowed me to make much better choices to satisfy without falling into the carbs & sugar addictive cycle.
IMG_20160615_082543

Purrty colors no?

Oddly enough the horrific wrist injury refocused me on nutrition because I knew my physical activities had to be highly curtail to accommodate my lack of mobility. I literally could not even walk on the treadmill because the vibration sent sharp shooting pain up my arm. Therefore without the reliance to ‘out-gym’ poor eating choices I was inadvertently forced back on track. As my wrist healed and I was able to slowly incorporate strength training again back into my cardio while being more proactive about my nutrition – not only did I not gain weight but lost. It was the first time this 3rd year of maintenance that I have regularly included strength training without gaining and I am elated.

I am back under 100 and 1.8 lbs from goal. I have been focusing on my shoulders and triceps and with the continued reduction in fat, I am finally seeing results.

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Happy 3rd Maintenance Anniversary to Me!

So thanks universe for my mishap on the elliptical to get back on track. hahaha

HB Sig

Healthy Byte: Day 1060

Healthy living shouldn’t always mean an either / or scenario.

The holidays – the time of joy, cheer, and weight gain. As we have all been repeatedly conditioned to believe, the holiday weight saboteur proves to be a formidable foe even to those who are most disciplined. Or does it?  

It occurred to me that there are many very popular myths out there which has been passed around for ages by traditionally reliable news outlets. But this is why I am prone to conduct my own research because many times it’s the only way to discern fact from fiction.

One of the most notorious is of course the weight the average person gains from the holidays. What is fact? What is fiction? Here, let’s take a look based on a published study in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

The Myth: Average person gains 7-10 lbs over the holiday season.

The Facts: The average person, based on year 2000 study published in the NEJM  indicates that the average weight gain between November to January is less than 1 pound! (Shocked?)

Interesting Findings to Keep in Mind:

  • Participants’ perceived weight gain was far greater than actual weight gain.
  • The more overweight a participant (based on BMI categories: Not Overweight; Overweight; or Obese) was at the beginning of the study the “greater likelihood of gaining … with increasing degree of overweight.” So if one was already overweight, their chances of gaining weight also increases. (Not new fact)
  • Two predictive factors for holiday weight gain should be no surprise – Perceived Hunger and Change in Activities Level. “Those who reported being much more active or much less hungry since their last visit had the greatest weight loss; conversely, those reporting being much less active or much more hungry since their last visit gained the most over the holiday interval.” (If we eat more and is less active … ahhm yea we’re going to gain weight / fat)

Study Conclusion Formal: “In contrast to the common perception that weight increases during the winter holiday season, the measured weight of the vast majority of subjects in this study changed little between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. The subjects believed they had gained four times as much weight as their actual holiday weight gain of 0.37 kg. Fewer than 10 percent of subjects gained 2.3 kg or more, and more than half of all measurements of weight after the initial one were within 1 kg of the previous measurement. Thus, despite the fact that 85 percent of the study subjects made no effort to control their weight, large weight gains over the winter holiday season were not the norm. Unfortunately, we also found that the 0.18-kg average weight gain during the fall preholiday period and the 0.37-kg increase during the holiday season were largely maintained during the postholiday winter period from January to February or March, resulting in a net average weight gain of 0.48 kg. In subjects who completed one year of observation, the weight increased by an average of 0.32 kg during the holiday period and 0.62 kg over the entire year, suggesting that the period contributing most to yearly weight change is the six-week holiday period.”

Study Conclusion Cliff Notes:

  1. The average person do gain (< 1 lb) the most during the holidays but nowhere near (7-10 lbs) the widely perpetuated myth claims.
  2. If we maintain the healthy habits (eating & activities level) we do the rest of the year the forecasted holiday weight gain doom is one of the biggest fibs which continues to be  irresponsibly circulated.

My Personal Add-On: I’d almost add in the possibility of the placebo effect. If we are lead to believe that we will gain weight over the holidays than how many of us tend to unconsciously toss in the towel and just embrace what seem to be inevitable?

Holiday Eating Tip

Practicing 90/10 Rule for me is my ticket to mindfully indulge guilt free. It’s wonderful not to be bothered by the glaring red warnings which MFP dutifully affords me.

Do I indulge? Dang skippy!

Usually every November time frame the cult favorite McRib hits local McDonalds. And I am usually the first in line ordering 2 to 3 at a time. I load it with veggies to psychologically trying to make it more ‘healthy’ but I know it’s negligible. I enjoy the crap out of it while it’s here and once its gone I move on.

Day 1060 27Nov2015 MFP Overages

My Thanksgiving Overages – Multiple servings of Apple Pies w/Ice Cream adds up quickly. Thank goodness once its enjoyed it’s gone – no lingering leftover temptations to contend with. 🙂

Day 1060 28Nov2015 MFP Overages

ahhhhh the McRib!! 🙂 The “If every day were” like reminder is a great way to put indulgences into perspectives for me because it is not my ‘every day.’

My other holiday must-have is warm apple pie and vanilla ice cream. Nothing says holidays to me more than cold vanilla ice cream melting over a piping hot slice of apple pie! Instead of buying an entire pie & a gallon of ice cream, I opt to purchase an individual portion of apple pie and ice cream cup. I reap all the benefits of the indulgence but the portion is controlled for me – best of both worlds. And like the McRib, once it’s gone, it’s gone. No week-long leftovers to tempt me.

day 1060

So my tip is – indulge away. Control the portion when possible. Add in the healthy when possible. And log it all in and don’t be afraid of giving yourself permission to enjoy … as long as it is truly an occasional occurrence it will not have any long term detrimental effects on our quests for healthy living.

Other Myths Busted:

Freshman 15 

Holiday Fitness Myths 

Healthy Byte: Day 1040

Day 1040 2

I think it is fair to say that many of us healthy-life fangirls / boys have a tendency to toss around acronyms like BMI, BMR & TDEE and popular sound bites like reverse dieting, all things in moderation, and balance. For anyone who has been my MFP peep for any length of time knows that I am a huge cheerleader of the 80/20 RuleIt’s one thing to understand a theory or approach but I’ve personally noticed that there seem to be a disconnect in actually put it into real life application. Kind of like an attorney learning about the law in law school but to be able to apply that law to real life situation takes a different set of skills.

So I thought it would be helpful to share ‘a day in the life’ of what 80/20 eating regimen actually looks like. Please note that I’ve personalize a variation of 80/20 Rule. My eating habits just effortlessly gravitate more towards 90/10 then 80/20. The key here is no matter the ratio – whether it’s 80/20, 90/10, or 75/25, the build-in ‘off-plan’ eating takes the pressure of trying to be perfect all the time. Eating perfection (100% on plan 100% of the time) is a myth; it’s unrealistic & unsustainable goal.

Again, I think this is a good time to make the disclaimer that I am not a licensed dietitian or have any formal nutrition education. However, due to my own food sensitivities & BBFTB approach, I do invest a vast amount of time in researching what will keep me feeling satisfied the longest at the least amount of calories. Also please keep in mind that:

  • I am limited in what I can consume (food sensitivities). So once I find something that doesn’t have adverse effects I tend to stick with it.
  • I adore routines, schedules, plans, & goals. My go-to standard meals are my comfort foods.
  • And this really shouldn’t need to be mentioned but is always good to remind peeps that everyone is different! This is what has worked for me. And it may very well not work for anyone else. But I am hopeful by sharing details will spark an idea for someone who maybe struggling with the nutrition portion in maint or was looking for a new maint approach.

Alright, now onward with what my week-in-the-life of eating 90/10 looks like.

MONDAY – FRIDAY

(My 90% Eating on Plan)

Meal Item Food Group
BRKFST        
  • Whole Wheat English Muffin
  • Peanut Butter
  • Grape Jelly (just enough to make the English muffin not so dry)
  • 2 Mandarin Oranges Fruit Cups (drained the water – no sugar added)
  • Tea
  • Water
Complex Carb

Healthy Fat, Protein

SEE PIC

Fruit

TIP: First thing I do in the morning is drink as much of 16 oz of water I can while prepping lunches for me & the kiddos. I read somewhere that drinking water helps kickstart the metabolism & to be quite frank I don’t know how much truth is in this. However I have noticed on the mornings where I wake up absolutely famished the water helps temper that hunger until I can get to work and have a proper breakfast. So even if this routine has no metabolic boosting effects, it helps me be less hungry which is always a good thing.
Breakfast 1

Just a smidget of grape jelly to counter the dryness a toasted English muffin can be

Breakfast

Proper Breakfast: Complex carbs, Protein, Fruit (considering I never use to have breakfast at all this is a huge accomplishment) LOL

LUNCH:     
  • Low Calorie Whole Grain Bread
  • Cucumber slices
  • Spinach
  • Red or Green Leaf Lettuce
  • Rainbow Chard
  • 2 Slices of Turkey
  • 1 Slice of Ultra Thin Provolone
  • Lite Miracle Whip w/ Lite Italian House Dressing instead of mayo
  • 1 Mandarin Oranges Fruit Cups (drained)
  • Water
Complex Carb
Veg

Veg

Veg

Veg

Lean Protein

Dairy

Fruit

TIP: I have found that I visually need to be satisfied before I actually ‘feel’ satisfied aka Jedi Mind Trick.  [LINK to Earlier post – 40 lbs?] I’d venture that I probably physically consume a higher quantity of food then when I was overweight. However, because it’s higher quality of foods instead of Doritos, a sugary yogurt, & a sugary granola bar, overall I am consuming less calories but not necessarily less food – if that makes any sense.
Lunch

Perfect nutritionally balanced lunch: Complex Carbs, Lean Protein, Dairy, Veggies, & Fruit. You can see how visually it’s a “huge” sandwich but believe it or not the entire sandwich is under 250 calories.

DINNER:                                     
  • Diced Cucumbers  
  • Chopped Spinach
  • **Chopped Red or Green Leaf Lettuce (part left raw)
  • **Chopped Rainbow Chard (part left raw)  
  • **Shredded Carrots
  • **Green Peppers  
  • **Small amount of Onions (FODMAP)

[** Indicates I lightly stir fry these in EVOO in heavy spices for flavor]

  • Protein of Choice: 2.5 oz of Salmon with no more than 4oz of hard protein (ie. chicken, pork, beef – always via baked, grilled or slow cooker) for a total of 6 – 6.5 oz of protein
  • Fat Free Ranch
  • Tea
  • Water
Veg

Veg

Veg

Veg

Veg

Veg

Veg

Veg

Veg

Protein, Healthy Fats

Lean Protein 90% of time

TIP: Along the line of eating more food but consuming less calories, my dinner is a good example that ¾ of it is ‘filled’ with vegetables. So instead of using white rice, pasta, macaroni & cheese as ‘fillers,’ I use vegetables. Also instead of drowning it in ketchup or some other high sugar sauce I learned to season, season, & more season for flavor because let’s face it veggies can be bland.
Dinner 1

Proteins: 2.5 oz of Salmon & 4oz of Meatloaf

Dinner 2

Diced Cucumbers for a little crunch

Dinner 11

Baby Spinach Leaves – Roughly Chopped

Dinner 6

Leaf Lettuce wrapped in Rainbow Chard Leaf – Rolled tight for easy chopping

Dinner 7

A portion of the chopped leafy greens goes into the stir fry The rest gets tossed into the bowl raw for a bigger texture variation

Dinner 4

Stir Fry Base: Garlic, Onions, Green Peppers, Shredded Carrots, & Rainbow Chard Stems

Dinner 9

Stir Fry w/Leafy Greens

Dinner 8

Raw leafy greens & Protein mix

Dinner 14

Lightly Dressed Va-La! An obnoxious bowl of food under 300 calories!

SATURDAY

(My 10% Eating Off Plan)

SAMPLE

BRUNCH:

[Varies based on Leftovers Available but I always try to squeeze in an obnoxious amount of veggies no matter what it maybe]

  • Diced Cucumbers
  • Chopped Spinach
  • Chopped Red or Green Leaf Lettuce
  • Chopped Rainbow Chard
  • Shredded Carrots
  • 2.5 oz Salmon
  • Spicy Marinara Sauce
  • Low Cal Mozzarella Cheese

All ingredients above on leftover pizza and toasted

  • 2 Mandarin Oranges Fruit Cups (drained)
  • Tea
  • Water
TIP: Even though the pizza itself is for the most part nutrition-poor, I try to bump it up with veggies & lean protein so that I’m not hungry an hour later. This also helps me to indulge completely guilt free.

SUNDAY

(My 10% Eating Off Plan)

BRUNCH:

(Current favorite Sun brunch meal)

  • Sweet Potato Waffle w/ PB&J instead of Syrup or Butter
  • 3 Scrambled Eggs (2:1 EW:WE Ratio Sometimes 4 scrambled eggs at 3:1 Ratio)
  • Protein: Some sort breakfast meat ie. sausage patties or leftover chicken or pork (2-4 oz depending on what it is)
  • Tea
  • Water
WEEKEND DINNER VARIATION
DINNER:
  • PB&J on Low Cal Bread or English Muffin (depending on mood)
  • Snack of Choice (Current Favorite is Chex Mix)
  • Tea
  • Water
OR

(Depending how hungry I am)

  • Diced Cucumbers  
  • Chopped Spinach
  • **Chopped Red or Green Leaf Lettuce (part left raw)
  • **Chopped Rainbow Chard (part left raw)  
  • **Shredded Carrots
  • **Green Peppers  
  • **Small amount of Onions (FODMAP)

[** Indicates I lightly stir fry these in EVOO in heavy spices for flavor]

  • 2.5 oz of Salmon or Scrambled Eggs 2:1 Ratio
  • Fat Free Ranch
  • Tea
  • Water

OVERALL 90/10 TIPs

  • Boring is Good: Yes, yes, I eat very plain, very boring but I like routines so this suits me.
  • Heavy to Light: I front load my heavy carb items (breads, fruits) towards the beginning of the day & by dinner time I consume very little carbs (during the week).
  • No Water Conservation Here: I try to have 3 (16 oz) cups of water by 12 noon (lunch time) – this has helped tremendously on my stomach (bloating) issues & energy levels (weekday only – not very good about it on the weekend because I’d rather have tea hehe)
  • 100 % Tracking: I fanatically, religiously, & obsessively weigh / measure / track the following:
    • protein (too much hard protein can give me GI issues so I’ve really had to reign this one in).
    • carbs (My body process carbs poorly. When my weight fluxes towards the high end of my range, 99.9% of the time it is because my carbs were a little out of whack).
    • snacks (When I’m hankering for a snack I never say to myself, “MMMMM let me gnaw on this large piece of rainbow chard leaf!” {HAHAHA I wish right?} No, it is almost always a hankering for the less nutritional stuff like Chex Mix, or Cheez-It™ Crunch’D™ Hot & Spicy, or milk chocolate covered pretzels).
      • I very rarely will purposely deny myself of my hankerings because that just leads to binging
      • I measure out a portion of the snack – sometimes I will have a portion of both the Chex Mix & Cheez-It then another portion of Chex Mix – That’s A-OK
      • I snack with some form of liquids either tea or water and enjoy the crap out of the treat(s)! LOL
  • Pseudo Tracking: aka eyeballing it track the following:
    • sauces/spreads (Perhaps the sneakiest & most well hidden calorie bombs) I don’t tend to drown my food in sauces any more so I don’t go through the trouble of being too precise. And there is just SO much PB I can put on a English Muffin due to it’s small size). LOL
    • fruit Mine comes in a pre-measured cup so this one is easy (due to the sugar – although it’s natural sugar, I try to watch my intake because I am acne prone).
  • Freebies: Veggies are FREE REIGN! 🙂 WOOHOO!
  • Red is Okay: Although MFP likes to emphasize my overages in jarring red font, I don’t sweat being over my calorie allotment any more. Even when grossly over (ie. 1000+ calories – can be achieved easily with a few slices of deep dish hahaha) because A-I’m entitled, B- it’s not a regular occurrence, every few weeks or months. Again, this is NOT something I purposely suppress my wants – no. I’ve found many times that I’d just rather have my standard meal, my personal ‘comfort food.’ This choice – not mandate mentality makes a tremendous difference in my ability to stay eating on-plan most of the time. It is a choice and not something I have to do. This is also the primary reason why my food diary remains private. If someone glances at my food intake on the weekends or on Family Pizza Night without looking at the big picture from the rest of the week or month, the natural human inclination is to jump to conclusions that would not be an accurate reflection of reality. So, instead of subjecting myself to potential unsolicited unpleasantries I much rather opt to just remove that temptation for well meaning people who doesn’t fully understand the highly individualistic nature of our own methods and approaches to healthy living. (see 3rd bullet of disclaimer).
  • Eat-Fest: To be able to recognize & acknowledge when I am simply too hungry (for whatever reason) to indulge in nutrition-poor and/or highly processed foods like pizza or Chinese takeout has been a monumental leap forward to curbing the after dinner snacking. A sample ‘eat-fest’ goes something like:

Eat 4 slices of deep dish pizza – still hungry; eat leftover cheesy bacon bread – still hungry; eat any leftover pizza – still hungry, snack – still hungry; snack again.

By this point I feel weighed down (like after Thanksgiving dinner of old x3), sluggish, bloated, fatigue, and yet still not fully satisfied. And then there’s the first 24-48 hours after such a eat-fest to contend with.

  • The Day After … or Two: For the first 24-48 hours after the eat-fest I will constantly crave more carbs. The crap in the vending machine I nonchalantly pass by 3-4 times a day, everyday will all of a sudden call my name.

Vending Machine: “psssst hey baby, I know you want this Whatchamacallit. Doesn’t it look yummy?”

Tempted Me: “ahh .. oh … ooooo Whatchamacallit!”

Gate-Keeper Me: “No. F – off! That Whatchamacallit is going to lead me to those Oreos. The Oreos will lead me to those peanut M&Ms. The peanut M&Ms will lead me to the Cool Ranch Doritos. And then I’m back to where I started. So NOOOO F-the-hell off!”

This is the one of the few times where I consciously deny my cravings because I know it’s not derived naturally; that it’s chemically induced & fueled. The processed food addiction factor is very real – at least for me, which further extend the eat-fest misery.

Be a Detective: I’ve been able to curb the after dinner snacking quite successfully because I’ve discovered that most of the cravings were remnant of an eat-fest. So in order to truly stop this pattern of eating behavior once & for all, I had to really live 90/10 – and not just use it as a cool tagline. It’s actually quite silly and required nothing more than a change in my own perspective. I had to embrace that I’m not ‘missing out’ on anything when I delay the indulgence. The delay itself doesn’t somehow make it less of a treat. Once I’ve come to really accepted this, the rest fell into place quite effortlessly.

HB Sig