Books, Healthy Eating, Lent, Redefining Self!, Seasonal Depression

Diet/Seasonal Depression

Last week on my diet I lost 4 pounds. I’ve gotten a bit off my game this week but I’m holding steady.

This time of year is rough for me. I live in the Pacific Northwest, near Seattle, which is gray, drizzly and dreary a good part of the time 9 months out of the year. I get seasonal depression and find it hard to care about much of anything. I just kind of want to hibernate until the dreariness is over.

I’m thinking I need to get ahold of some vitamin D and some K vitamins. I just put out my light therapy lamp that helps with combating seasonal depression and I’ll see if I can kick myself in gear! I’m currently reading Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, by Philip K. Dick. Not usually my reading genre, however, my daughter is taking a Literature and Film class and I’ve been reading some of the books and watching some of the movies. This book was the basis for Blade Runner. At the beginning of the book husband and wife are talking about dialing their machines, the Penfield Mood Organ, to set their moods and what they want to feel. For example, he has to go to work so he sets his in the business like setting. This time of year I could use one of those!

I taught my Religious Education class today and got the kids geared up and ready for Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent. I need to find a new book for Lent this year or one from previous years and focus my efforts on the 40 days of Lent.

I will pull myself out of this pit with vitamins, my light therapy lamp and Lent. The sun would help too! I’m ready for spring!

Healthy Eating, Redefining Self!

Cooking is Therapy

Today was one of those days. Nothing went right, things out of my control tripped up the day, things that needed to get done. I was feeling super cranky. Worse I needed to cook dinner and what I had left on my list was Weight Watcher’s Chicken Pot Pies. This is not an easy quick recipe. The idea of cooking this, alone made me cranky on top of everything else. I wanted to “throw in the towel” scramble a couple eggs and sit and mope.

I got started as it really had to be done, my chicken was going to go bad, I really didn’t want scrambled eggs and my family really wanted the pot pies. I felt myself loosen up as I began chopping vegetables. My daughter walked in and we chatted, she helped a bit, but most of it I did on my own and I found it helped calm the cranky. I spent about and hour and half cooking and cleaning and I no longer feel cranky. Not only the therapy behind the cooking but also the fact that I got something done that was healthy and needed doing instead of skipping out, throwing in the towel and eating something not so healthy.

When you don’t feel like doing it, do it anyway. By the end you feel calmer and a sense of accomplishment where you would have been left feeling cranky without the accomplishment. And bonus I get to have a nice yummy healthy WW Pot Pie for dinner! Happy Cooking!

Scrapbooking

Scrapbooking!

I love to scrapbook. I haven’t done much in awhile but I now have a good space for it. I pulled out all of my things and I’m ready to get started! I’m posting a picture of a page I did a couple years ago. This is the scrapbook I’m going to start with.

My Grandparents passed away and I ended up with a couple trunks full of their pictures. My Dad asked me to put them in an album and I got a bit carried way. But, I’m glad I did! I have a ton of their pictures to work on and a ton of mine!

I used my Cricut, my scrapbooking stapler for embellishment, a bit of ribbon and a huge button. I had a lot of fun putting it together. I’m excited to get going on some more!

Healthy Eating, Redefining Self!

Social Gatherings and Food

Today I learned a lesson in social gatherings and food. It was my Priest’s birthday party and a bunch of us met at a Chinese Restaurant to celebrate. It was a fabulous time to spend with fellow parishioners and Father and develop relationships!

However…. My intention was to eat only a bowl of egg drop soup which was only 2 points. But I decided to go ahead and get Egg Foo Young. That turned out to be 4 points as I called it 4 items because it was big though, maybe it was only really one. I should have skipped eating the rice which was 6 points but still, 12 points isn’t bad especially for eating out. Now if I’d have left it there it would have been great!!!

Here’s the kicker. We finished lunch and sang Happy Birthday to Father then he walked around passing out birthday cake and I, not wanting to hurt his feelings, took one. Worse, I ATE IT. At the time I thought, well no big deal it’s only one tiny piece of cake and I have lots of extra points. However, when I got home I found out that it was a whopping TWENTY FIVE POINTS! Yes, one tiny piece of chocolate cake with frosting is twenty five Weight Watchers points.

What I learned today is this. Leave the rice to rot it’s not worth 6 points for 1 cup. And just say no to cake. Next time I will do it differently. Happy Birthday Father! No thank you on the cake.

Healthy Eating, Redefining Self!

21 Day Sugar Detox Prep Day 1|Weight Watchers

Today in my writing out my grocery lists and getting ready to start the detox. I, after nagging thoughts of I’m not sure this is going to work for me all week, came to the conclusion this is not going to work for me. I’m glad they give you a week to read, research and plan as it gave me a change of heart.

First thing that deterred me was the higher fat content and lack of carbs. I had my gallbladder removed and I was told by both my Doctors to eat low fat as my gallbladder is no longer there to process the fats. As my digestive system isn’t doing very well already I’ve decided to go low fat. The other reason being the amount of preparation in this diet. I know myself there is no way I can keep up with this level of preparation. Today I had a long list of “make ahead”. And third, these are not my foods. I will go crazy. If a person is completely deprived of the things they love a major lifestyle change ridding themselves of those things is a sure fire way to lose your footing.

I decided to go to Weight Watchers. I have done WW before and loved it. However, I made a dire mistake regarding WW is that I thought of it as a diet and not a lifestyle change and that is where I need to first begin. This is a lifestyle change not a diet.

Weight Watchers is a Whole Foods based diet with a good balance. I won’t have to completely cut out the foods I love but I will be cutting them back and eating healthier versions and lower fat, less carbs and just as importantly low sugar.

In my research this past week the biggest thing I felt I got out of it is the dangers of sugar and processed foods. The amount of processed foods, fast foods, bad fats that we eat as a society are scary and it’s undeniably wreaking havoc on our health and that of our children. It has changed the way I see the grocery store. While I’ve been aware of such things for a long time I am far more attuned to it and concerned with ridding my family of these bad habits.

Tuesday I will start Weight Watchers. I subscribed to my first 3 months of the Online version. I have my app and I’m ready to get started tracking. This is one big thing that is so important is tracking what you’re eating. I find when I don’t I loose sight of what I’m eating I think I’m eating healthier than I am.

In the next couple days I’ll write my grocery lists, finish getting my kitchen in order and get started on Tuesday. Remembering this is a lifestyle change not a diet and keep my focus.

Healthy Eating, Redefining Self!

21 Day Sugar Detox 3 days pre-detox

Today in my book 21 Day Sugar Detox, I read about carbs.  She talks about how carbs are not the enemy, there are plenty of nutrient rich Whole Foods that have some carbs that your body does need. The book goes into quite a bit of detail about how carbs and how your body breaks down carbs and how your body stores them and how that all works. In a nut shell, you eat too many they turn to fat.

When you work on your meal plan it’s ok and important to eat HEALTHY carbs in moderation.

In my book, Fat Chance, by Dr. Robert H Lustig M.D. I’m reading about stress and eating. A little stress is important to motivate us and to be alive is to have some stress. However when you are stressed over a long period of time your body creates too much of the hormone Cortisol which raises blood pressure, increases blood glucose level and can precipitate diabetes, human research also shows that cortisol specifically increases caloric intake of “comfort foods” (those with high energy density or high fat and high sugar). In these cases Cortisol increases the visceral fat, which is fat associated with cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome. Adapted from Fat Chance beating the odds against sugar, processed food, obesity and disease. By Robert H. Lustig M.D. I found this book on Amazon if you want to read it. They also have it on Kindle.

That is nearly a snippet of what the book goes on to talk about stress, cortisol, insulin, leptin, changes in brain biochemistry, the effects on the body and the vicious cycle of stress-eating. While I haven’t gotten to the part where he tells us how to get out of the cycle yet I learned a lot about how the body works and why we do the things we do! Why do we eat when we get stressed? If you want to know Dr. Lustig has an answer for that!

To stress is to be alive. However, when we find ourselves in a place where there is stress all the time over a long period of time we can find it hard to find a way out of that constant stress. If there is not a way out of the constant stress there are ways of helping you cope with that stress. Some people find a lot of help in self help books while others really respond better to counseling. Not only will finding a solution to the constant stress increase your quality of life and lets face it, the quality of life of those around you, it’s also clear how important it is for your body as well.

Healthy Eating, Homeschooling, Redefining Self!, Writing

Write it down!

How many times do you have an idea you’re sure you will remember. Maybe it’s something you wanted to make for dinner, or an ingredient your wanted to add to a recipe. Maybe an idea for a story you wanted to write or to expand on. A post you wanted to write. A craft you had an idea on. Something you want to work on or how you want to work on it with your kids. Whatever it was later you can’t remember! This happens to me all the time. I wonder sometimes how many good ideas I had that I completely forgot about. I have a story I’m writing and one day I got an idea I was really excited about on how I would proceed with it. I completely forgot and I’m still stuck on where I want it to go.

Recently I got an organizer. I take it into the bathroom with me sometimes while I keep getting ideas. I write down everything. My desk is covered in post it notes with ideas and notes. This has made a world of difference for me!

As you are writing those ideas don’t worry in the slightest about organizing those ideas. Just jot them down in whatever order they come to you and keep the ideas flowing. Later when you have time and are ready to organize them then go for it but don’t stop the creativity before you’re truly done.

Then, when you’re ready, sort through those ideas, organize, expand on them, change them up! Think of how much more you’ll accomplish if you just start by writing it down.

Healthy Eating, Redefining Self!

Day 3- 5 days Pre-Detox

This is my 3rd day, 5 days pre-detox. However, as I found out today that my son and I “made the bus” on a pilgrimage with our Church on Monday, the nature of the trip will make it quite difficult for me to get started on my detox. So, I decided to start my detox Tuesday, therefore I’m putting it out one day.

Things I’m learning today:

I’m following 21daysugardetox on Instagram. I tell you this as today’s post was quite interesting. They said… Nutrient density: why real food matters more than calories. They go on to say that calories in=calories out is not really the case. That in order to metabolize carbohydrates and turn them into energy, you need B vitamins and the minerals phosphorus, magnesium, iron, copper, manganese, zinc and chromium. So, if you eat bad carbs, which are refined, processed, nutrient-poor carbs they do not contains all these vitamins and minerals naturally. Which means, your body has to use stored versions of these nutrients just to break down your food. This means that you are taking out nutrients from your body without replacing them which leads you to feel lethargic…. Ah ha I say!

In the book I’m reading, Fat Chance by Robert H. Lustig, M.D. I’m learning about Leptin and how leptin works. If you aren’t eating enough and your body goes into “conservation mode”, what’s happening is your not getting enough leptin you feel miserable, your energy goes down and your vagus nerve goes into overdrive, which drives up your appetite, insulin and your energy storage. Therefore, not eating enough can have the reverse effect we are looking for as well as actually cause you to later overeat.

Both of these readings today further cements the idea… eat enough of the right Whole Foods.

I learned in my 21 Day Sugar Detox today how important it is to clean the bad foods out of your cupboard before making your lifestyle change, so that, when you are tempted to reach for that bag of cookies or gee lets make some pasta, those things are not there to tempt you. I also learned that many of your favorite foods can be modified into a healthy version.

While this can all sound daunting I know that you can re-train your brain, just like I know that you can train it to eat unhealthy again. A new and healthy lifestyle can become habit the way your current lifestyle is habit! Commit and focus during the training period turning the new into habit. Stay strong!!

Healthy Eating, Redefining Self!

I have a diet plan!

While I’m calling it a diet plan what I really mean is a lifestyle change. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but the new “craze” out there is take out sugar and sugar substitutes and carbs and instead eating healthy fats. I’ve been doing a lot of reading, researching and talking. I’m willing to give this a try and check my cholesterol and weight changes to see how well it works. Do my own “research”.

The thing that scares me is that after my Mom’s heart attack she was told to eat low fat and low cholesterol foods. Research shows however, that it’s not so much the fat that is the culprit as sugar is. Fat is digested in such a way that it doesn’t hang around the body. It gets used and then “leaves”. Where as sugar does not. Sugar, as they say, hangs around the body, turns into fat and it’s what is clogging your arteries. By eating low fat you’re getting the opposite effect as what you are looking for! They take out the fat but they replace it with sugar so you have some taste. It is better for you, they say, to eat the full fat product instead. To avoid the cholesterol issues you eat healthy fats and high fiber. Fiber binds to bad (LDL) cholesterol and lowers and keeps your cholesterol at healthy levels.

I am starting my new lifestyle change with the 21-day Sugar Detox. While I tend to be one of those people to find the word “detox” a “bad word” I bought and have read the book, The 21-day Sugar Detox Daily Guide by Diane Sanfilippo, and understand her meaning behind detox and why she keeps the word. I have found reading the intro increased my understanding of her ideas. Basically it means for me, to learn a new and healthier way of eating and to re-train yourself to enjoy healthier Whole Foods instead of the processed and low fat sugary foods.

So, no more bakery for me! But one of the things I identified with her on in her introduction is that I don’t feel very well most of the time. I am tired, sluggish, achy, hangry (hungry plus angry) I take food with me wherever I go because I’m afraid to crash, I get dizzy and sick feeling. It is explained in this book that is due to the sugary crap I’m eating and eating healthy Whole Foods without the sugar and eating the healthy fats will fix those things! I’m super excited to see if it works the way “they all” say it will.

I’m on the pre-detox week. Day one. I have finished the intro and ready to start on Day one. In this week we learn the “rules” and the “yes no list” basically we learn to understand the diet and learn where sugar hides. We write down what we are eating so we can compare the before and after. She has nice little encouragements with each day as well, which I need a lot of! I’m anxious to start on next week but also understand the importance of a prep- week. I need to clean out my cupboards and fridge, grocery shop and fully understand this diet before jumping in and feeling over my head and being confused.

I’m a bit worried about the amount of time I will be spending in the kitchen. I’m feeling as thought I have to change my thought processes. This is not only a lifestyle change in the way I eat but also in the way I live my life! I like to get a box of something and make dinner real fast. Or grab a couple quick ingredients and make it quick and easy. I hate to cook and clean the kitchen. I start to feel like my whole life is about preparing food, eating food and cleaning up after. I really hate that. So, I have to change my mindset. Do, you want to feel better? Do you want to get your weight back down? Do you want to be able to buy the clothes you want to wear? So, this week is going to be a week of preparation in more ways than one. But, I’m feeling committed to change and willing to do what it takes to get healthy.