Wagon, Wait for Me!

Over the past couple of weeks, you could say that I fell off of the healthy-eating wagon, or I at least fell over the side. Some things came up, and my schedule completely changed. I didn't plan meals, I didn't make a focused grocery store list, and we ate out a lot more than usual. So, unsurprisingly, I gained about four pounds. During all of this, I did keep my workout regimen, and I continued to log my food in my food journal on My Fitness Pal and mostly stayed under my calorie goal. Doing these things helped me not to stray too far. 

Did ya catch that? I stayed under my caloric goal and exercised, but still gained weight. Before making changes in my diet, I wanted to eat junk, stay under calories, and lose weight. But, that doesn't happen for me. I have to be diligent with restricting the amount of highly processed foods I eat and make sure that most of the carbs that I eat are good carbs. It makes all the difference for me. 

This week, I got back on track. I did have a couple of cheat meals, but I made more good food choices than bad. When I weighed this morning, I was down the four pounds I had gained plus a little extra. Whew, what a relief!

It has been about eleven weeks since I began making significant changes in my eating habits and workout regimen. Since then, I've lost about fifteen pounds. From my highest weight, I'm down 23.8 pounds. Here's a picture of my progress so far:

Also, in the past month, I've begun focusing on weight training. I still do cardio and calisthenics, but I am learning proper form and technique for heavier lifting. Today, I got a new PR (personal record) for deadlifting. I did 170# for a set of four. It was my fifth set, starting lighter and ending with this heavy set. It really is motivating to lose weight and build strength at the same time.

I have no idea what my goal is for deadlifts. Right now, the hardest part is getting it off of the ground. 😀 So, the goal is to stay uninjured while continuing to challenging myself. Thankfully, I have personal trainers who know that I want to lift and are very encouraging (and make sure that I have proper form to avoid injuries).

I recently read a quote by George Eliot: "It's never too late to become what you might have been." I changed it a little, but it was the inspiration for my current Facebook cover photo quote:

I often wish I had begun this fitness journey a long time ago and was at a more advanced level now. But, I know that a year from now, I'll be so happy that I chose to begin this in March 2017. 

Where are you on your fitness journey? Have you found what works best for your diet? I'd love to hear the things you've tried that work well for you, fitness or food.

This Life That I Lose

Last week, I was thinking about updating my blog to be a better representation of where I am today. So, updated the name and theme of the blog to “This Life that I Lose.” 

The scriptural basis for it is 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 where we are told that this life is not our own – we were bought with a price. To that, I will continue to post devotion-type blogs as I have over the past few years; and, we will continue to grow together in our spiritual walks.

This Life that I Lose physically is the sedentary, sugar and carb-addicted one. So, I will post about my journey of losing weight and getting healthy. I’ll share meal plans and recipes that my husband and I enjoy as well as the exercises that I do to help me stay active.

In case you are wondering how I got here, almost four years ago, I went from an active job to a very sedentary job. I love my job with regular work hours and no uniform requirement. But, I did not love the pounds that I had put on sitting at a desk for 40 hours each week. About a month ago, I decided that I was tired of always trying to lose weight and being stuck at a plateau of about eight pounds lost in two years. I knew that I needed a push to get me on the right track. I joined a 16 Week Challenge at the local gym. They provided meal plans, boot camp workout classes, and monthly weigh-ins/body measurements.

The meal plans that were provided were low-carb and low-fat with no dairy and no processed food. No doubt, that would catapult me into weight loss, but I also wanted to do something that would be sustainable long-term. So, for me, I’ve found that low-carb high fat (LCHF as you’ll see if you do an internet search) with no added sugar and no white carbs like potatoes or pasta works well. To give me something to look forward to, I do have a couple of cheat meals each week. In about one month, I've lost nine pounds; I've lost seventeen pounds from my highest weight three years ago. Last week, I told a friend that if I had realized that I could eat like this and lose weight, I would have started it a long time ago. But, my time is now; so, here I go!

Join me on this spiritual and physical journey of This Life that I Lose. 

Blazing a Mountain Trail

When I was a child, my school took field trips to Stone Mountain. We younger children were only allowed to go to the pavilion at the halfway point; the older ones got to climb the whole thing. So, before today, I don't think I had climbed Stone Mountain all the way to the top. If I had, I had definitely forgotten just how steep it gets. It was an absolutely beautiful day for a hike - partly cloudy and around 80°. Once we climbed the 660' elevation gain in about one mile, the views were spectacular - you can see cityscapes of Atlanta and Buckhead as well as lush greenery and calm lakes.

After we climbed back down the mountain, I was ready for lunch! So, I picked up my hubby, and we headed to a local restaurant called Milo's. There, I used to get the chicken philly and fries because yum. That was what Calvin ordered today. But, in an attempt to stay on-plan today, I ordered their Chicken Salad Lettuce Wrap. It came with a large serving of homemade chicken salad and was served with grapes and crackers (and plenty of lettuce to make several wraps). It could not have been a better choice.

After we ordered and while we were waiting for our food to be served, I told Calvin what I thought we would have for dinner this coming week. I made sure it all sounded good to him. He is on board. So, here is our meal plan:

I'm hoping to make my chicken salad similar to what I had at Milo's today. It looked pretty simple - maybe just chicken, mayo, a little mustard, celery, salt, and pepper. If I succeed at copying them, I'll really enjoy those lunches next week.

For the roast beef, I'll cook it in the Crock Pot and season it with Season Salt and butter. I'll add the onion, carrots (and red potatoes for the hubster) to the Crock Pot to roast along with the beef.

For the penne lasagna bake, I'll use either Dreamfields or Barilla Protein Plus noodles. I'll brown ground beef with onions and peppers and season it with garlic salt. I'll use Newman's Own Marinara and add garlic powder, onion powder, and red pepper flakes to season it up a little. I stir about one cup of Italian-blend shredded cheese into the seasoned marinara. Then, I'll add the cooked meat, peppers, and onions and cooked pasta. I'll stir all of that together and pour it into a casserole dish. Then, I'll top it with another cup of Italian-blend shredded cheese and bake it until it's nice and bubbly.

Have you decided what's for dinner this coming week? I'd love to hear about your low (or lower) carb recipes.

Oh, by the way, I've been eating this low-carb way for about five weeks now. I feel like I'm starting to get the hang of it.