Health(ier) Habits, Vol. I

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 Pic unrelated to post, but I’ll try to have more relevant pictures for the next time around!

(Post idea taken from Franish, where she details the small steps she’s taking weekly to strive towards a healthier lifestyle. This first post won’t be nearly as fun/informative as hers since I haven’t been taking pictures of my food and can’t find my Garmin running watch, but I’m hoping that having some kind of accountability check-in, even if it’s just once or twice a month, might help me to be a little better health-wise than I’ve been lately.)

So.

It’s been three months since I posted anything weight- or health-related, and the last time I did report anything, it was because I had finally gotten my weight back down to what it was before I had my second pregnancy (which I miscarried), and things have been silent ever since.

I used to think I was really good at the “maintenance mode” of weight loss–that once I’d gotten over the hurdle of losing the excess weight itself, keeping it off was easy-peasy.

And so it seems to be…in the beginning, that is.

But pretty much every time I’ve lost weight during my adult life, I’ve usually gained at least some of it back, starting the endless cycle of gain and lose, gain and lose.

Mind you, these are often minor gain/loss battles, unless you count the 25 pounds I gained while I lived in El Salvador and the 50 pounds I gained while pregnant with Raven. Usually, I’ve gotten my weight back down to where I’m more or less comfortable with myself, and then it’s defend-defend-defend that weight against all the chocolate-and-ice-cream storms that come my way.

I finally got to a point after I had Raven where I didn’t think I was ever going to get down to what I was the few years before I got pregnant, when I was running several times a week and training for long races (at least not at this stage in my life, with the time I can devote to exercise).

Initially, I’d set a goal after I gave birth that I wanted to be back down to 135, which was the weight I’d been at when I ran my first half marathon (but not as low as I was when I ran my full, which was all the way down at 128, nor my lowest adult weight that I hit my second year of college, which was 118).

After many months of trying, the lowest I ever got was 138, which lasted only a weekend (since I hit it while majorly sick with strep throat). The rest of the time, my weight bottomed out at 141 and stayed there stubbornly, despite upping exercise and cutting out gluten and increasing the amount of strength training.

But, since I still fit into about half of my clothes pre-baby, I decided to just stop fighting myself and call it good, going for strength and focusing on what my body could do rather than chasing some illusive number.

This shift was so good for me in many ways—it showed me that even though I was heavier than I had been before, it didn’t mean that I wasn’t in as good of shape: in fact, I was in better shape in many ways, especially when it came to what I was able to do exercise- and strength-training-wise.

But, as in so many things, it seems like it’s impossible to just stay in one spot and maintain—you’re either constantly progressing, or you’re regressing. And so the pounds sloooowly started to creep back on, especially when I did get pregnant again earlier this year and then again after we moved in June and I started stress-eating a bit more.

I always reach a point, though, where I tell myself, “Absolutely no more,” and I reached that point this last weekend, when I binged on so much junk food during our vacay watching the solar eclipse that I literally made myself feel ill.

When I got home, I went on an unplanned sugar detox, which I’ve kept up all this week. Whenever I try and psych myself up about doing such a detox in a premeditated kind of way, I always talk myself out of it—it seems too daunting, I love chocolate too much, and I’m not willing to put in the focus or discipline. So for me, most detoxes have come about because I reach a point when I can’t handle how I feel anymore, so I just start it spontaneously, which is actually easier for me in the long run to keep up with because it doesn’t have some end date in the future–I just keep it up for as long as I can.

(Takes some of the pressure off, ya know?)

Anywho, after that rather lengthy introduction, I’m going to be following Franish’s lead on this and breaking up these little health updates into different sections (much the same as she did):

– How my diet’s been lately
– How my exercise has been
– Progress I’ve noticed
– Specific goals I have in mind for the coming week(s)

Here goes.

Nutrition //

As mentioned before, my main thing this week has been going off of refined sugar–no chocolate, no baked goods (which before I was making 1-3 times a week, usually to use up the produce that was about to go bad), no ice cream…nothing. I have 100% stuck with this, with the possible exception of the homemade blackberry jam I made the other night, which I did put sugar into.

Other things I’ve done are to not eat anything after dinner (which means that the last time I touch food per day is around 6 p.m.) and to drink more water and less of other drinks (mainly, milk, which I would drink with every meal happily).

Something I’ve realized (again) this week is that I’m not much of a snacker at all, unless you count sweets. So if I’m eating sweets, I’ll eat only those as snacks. If those aren’t an option, I will choose to eat nothing.

The first two days of going without sugar weren’t hard at all (which was great since usually when I go off sugar, my body goes into massive withdrawal mode)–I think this is because my body had just reached such a saturation point of junk food that I craved loads of healthy, fresh food, and STAT.

It’s been a bit more challenging the last day or two, especially as we’ve started potty training. I didn’t *think* I was much of a stress-eater before (I thought I just loved chocolate period, for celebration and for misery), but apparently, I did somewhat eat my stress before, so it’s been challenging to go through that particular stressor without sugar to fall back on when I feel like I just can’t take it anymore.

My best meal of the week? The sweet potato-and-bean rice bowl pictured above, which I made up by kind of stitching together two recipes I found online and improvising the rest. I used to not be a big rice bowl person, but over the past month, Matt and I have really been getting into it.

(In future blog posts in the series, I’ll do more of a day-to-day breakdown to keep myself accountable.)

Old running pic from last year–looks like I need to take some new ones 🙂

Exercise//

Tuesday: hip-hop aerobics class, 60 minutes
Wednesday: 2+-mile run (hard to know for sure–I haven’t found my Garmin running watch since our move)
Saturday: Zumba class, 60 minutes

Usually I do a high-intensity boxing/bags class on Wednesday nights, but I’ve skipped it the last two weeks because my body’s been feeling super tired, which makes me worried that my AI disease might be about to flare up again (since I felt similar then). I’m trying now to reach that sweet spot where I’m not pushing my body too hard and getting the rest that it needs while also not just letting myself off the hook and doing nothing at all.

Progress I’ve Seen//

When we got back from vacation on Monday of this week, my weight was the highest it’s been since I did an elimination diet to clear up my autoimmune disease issues almost two years ago.

As I’ve been consistent with cutting out the sugar, it’s dropped back to what it was at before the vacation (around 147), which means I’ve just got 6 pounds to go before I can be back to a point I can at least settle with.

This week: – 2 lbs

Goals for the upcoming week(s):

***I haven’t set a specific end date for going off sugar, so I want to continue cutting it out until I’m more sure that I’m not about to go into a relapse of my autoimmune disease (since diet does seem to affect it a lot). If I continue to have the troubling signs that it might be flaring up again, I’ll have to start cutting out gluten again too.

***Go to my boxing class on Wednesday night. (That class is sooo hard–much harder than my hip hop/Zumba classes, so I want to make sure I don’t let that class fall by the wayside since it’s one of the few things exercise-wise I’m doing lately that actually pushes my limits.)

***Make it to bed by 11:00 at the latest the majority of nights in the week (5X). I’m hoping if I can start getting more sleep, my body won’t feel as fatigued as it has lately, and there’s really no reason I should be staying up so late every night anyway.

And there you have it—my plan lately for trying to be healthier than I have been lately.

Tune in again in a week (or two) for another update!

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