Diet, Habits, Health, Health(ier) Habits, Weight Loss

Maybe It Was the Cheese That Made Me Gain Weight… (Health(ier) Habits, Vol. VI)

Welcome to Health(ier) Habits, a series I started to help keep me on track with my goals to stay healthy, even when (ESPECIALLY when) I don’t always see the progress or results that I would like to as quickly as I would like to! Every two weeks, I list out my progress on my recent goals, my exercise habits, and what I’ve been eating.

Quick Recap of My Goals From Last Post //

  • Eat cheese for only one meal or snack per day
  • Do two full sets when doing my strength workouts
  • Consciously take time to unwind each night before bed–enough to at least read one chapter a night

Nutrition //

Well, spoiler alert–my weight has actually been going down this week (not much, but still steadily downward), which is the first time that’s happened consistently for awhile. And the main difference?

Well, there are two.

One, I was pretty good at cutting down on my cheese consumption like I planned to. Rather than having it at least two meals of the day (sometimes for all three!), I’ve been pretty good at just having it at one, though there were some days I forgot and had it twice. But just the fact that I was conscious of it more seemed to really help since those calories can add up quick!

The second thing I did differently was because I was cutting down on cheese, my lunches tended to be a lot more filling since in the past I would just have some cheese and crackers and a piece of fruit and call it good. Now, because I often try to save the cheese until dinner, I’ve been actually eating real lunches (and when I do have cheese for lunch, it’s with a much more filling meal overall). Calorie-wise, I would guess that I’m actually eating MORE at lunch now than before, but since the calories are much more filling and better for me, it has seemed to be making a difference.

Admittedly, I HAVE been indulging a bit in Halloween candy, but so far, it’s proven to be like the Hershey Kiss paradox awhile back, when buying Hershey Kisses seemed to HELP my weight loss for awhile since I would just have a couple after every meal and then call it good. As long as I can keep the Halloween candy in moderation, I’m not too worried about it—so far, I’ve been averaging 2-3 little Kit-Kats a day and a handful of Tootsie Rolls, which comes to around 300 calories a day. Since I don’t really snack at all between meal times, that’s not too bad. I know the weight would come off faster if I did cut out sugar completely, but allowing myself these small indulgences every day makes it easier for me to stay on track long-term. (The only danger is if I get too complacent about it and start eating a LOT of the chocolate. So far, we’re not even close to that point yet.)

Here were my dinners for the past two weeks:

Monday: Mexican Chip Casserole

Tuesday: Lemon Chicken & Broccoli Pasta (pictured above, left)

Wednesday: Homemade Hummus, Black Bean, Tomato & Corn Quesadilla (I need to post this recipe!)

Thursday: Korean BBQ Rice Bowls + Asian-Style Carrots (pictured above, center) – So glad my readers, in response to this post, recommended the website these are found on! I can’t wait to try more!

Friday: Sizzler’s (salad bar) with my parents

Saturday: Costa Vida (2/3rds of a pulled beef burrito) with the in-laws

Sunday: One-Pot Taco Spaghetti

Monday: Homemade Hummus, Black Bean, and Corn Quesadillas

Tuesday: Korean BBQ Rice Bowls (yeah, they were THAT good and THAT easy!) + Halloween candy

Wednesday: Sweet & Sour Ground Turkey Meatballs + Rice + Green Beans (pictured above, right)

Thursday: Low-Calorie White Chicken Chili + Quick Breadsticks

Friday: (anticipated) Leftover chili from last night

In addition to keeping up my goal of eating less cheese, my new goal for the next two weeks is to plan out my produce better so that it’s not going bad before I’m able to use it. I’m a big advocate for not wasting food, but sometimes with the amount of produce I buy, it gets a little tricky. I want to really focus on using that produce up during its optimal time so that I’m not throwing some away every week.

Exercise //

It’s starting to get harder now that it’s getting colder to fit in our usual after-dinner walks, so we’ve only been doing it about half the time (which makes me so sad!). We’ll still keep it up as much as we can and are planning to do it every night that the weather allows for the foreseeable future.

Photo shoots and going out of town have been throwing off my exercise class habit on Saturday morning, so I’m excited that this weekend, I’ll be able to go to the Zumba class I like for the first time in several weeks. As for the strength training goal, well…I’ve consistently been doing it once a week (and have now doubled the amount I do during that session), but I keep skipping that second strength training session. I feel confident that strength training is key for me going forward since cardio no longer seems to have any impact on my shape (unless I’m training for a race, which I don’t want to do at the moment).

So, my goal for the upcoming week is to redouble my efforts to fit in TWO strength training sessions that each have TWO full sets of the four exercises. I’d also like to vary the circuits I’m doing, since I’ve basically just been doing the abs one.

I also want to set an additional goal for myself to double down my effort to fit in a second high-intensity cardio hour somewhere in the week. I pretty much will always get at least one, but with Matt’s new church meetings on many Wednesday nights and us being out of town on Saturdays, it’s been much harder than it used to be. However, over the next few weeks, Matt has some Wednesdays that are free, and we’re anticipating being here for at least some of the upcoming Saturdays in the morning (with no photo shoots!), so I’m hoping I can squeeze in a second class (or even a run, if I can convince myself to go outside in the cold!).

Monday: North Logan Pumpkin Walk (abt. 45 minutes of slow walking)

Tuesday: TWO walks + 60 mins. hip hop aerobics (15,000+ steps today)

Wednesday: after-dinner walk + 10 mins. strength training (abs, two full sets of four different exercises)

Thursday: after-dinner walk

Saturday: photo shoot in the morning + scavenger hunt photo walk = 10,000 steps

Tuesday: trick-or-treating along Main Street (45-min. walk)

Wednesday: family walk after dinner + 60 min. hip hop aerobics (over 15,000 steps)

Thursday: two walks + 10 mins. strength training (abs, two full sets of four exercises) = 10,000 steps

Friday: (anticipated) family walk + strength training (if I can handle it! I’m feeling pretty sore today!)

Average # of Steps in Week One: 8,236 (this took a hit since there were multiple nights it was too cold to go out!)

Average # of Steps in Week Two: 8,800 (estimated)

Progress I’ve Seen //

Weight: – 0.5 lb. (Total Weight Loss in 12 Weeks: 3.5 lbs)

Current Weight: 145.5 lbs.

Though the weight loss wasn’t huge this week, it was consistently going down little by little or holding steady, and I’d count that as pretty good with the holiday being thrown in there!

As for my last goal of making sure I take time to unwind before bed, I’ve overall been doing a lot better. There were still some nights I stayed up late working on editing my latest photography sessions, but for the most part, I kept to this. There were multiple nights I was in bed before ten or around ten to start my reading, and I loved having that time to myself to enjoy that hobby of mine! I will always love reading, but I know that unless I make it into a solid habit, it sometimes tends to slip by the wayside with more urgent things pressing for more time, so it’s important to me that I keep prioritizing that.

New Goals for the Upcoming Weeks //

  • Continue to focus on having cheese at just one meal
  • Plan out the use of our produce better so less goes to waste and we eat more when it’s at its peak
  • Redouble efforts to fit in two strength-training sessions a week (continue to do two full sets of four exercises, but focusing on a different body part each time)
  • Fit in a second hour-long high-intensity cardio class/session each week



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