Monday, March 2, 2015

In Like a Lion

Well, here we are in March already, can you believe it?! I'm not sure if I can relate to the old "lion/lamb" adage since we don't have true winters here in Florida, but the weather has been pretty wild here this season! We almost set record lows a couple of times, and hit 29 degrees here in Ormond Beach last month. That is pretty darned cold for us Floridians! I can feel the coming of Spring, though, and am looking forward to sunny, warm days with long beach walks. I'm tired of grey skies and unpredictable temperatures, and am really sick to death of winter foods! Since I've been getting my produce from Front Porch Pickings, I am eating more seasonally than ever before which is definitely a good thing, but I'm bored of squash, cauliflower, and kale. I'm ready for some variety, Mother Nature!

Last week I stuck pretty close to my eating plan. Tons of veggies, a few fruits, potatoes and minimal processed food.

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Lentil Taco "Meat" over Baked Potato
Brussels Sprouts, ready for roasting photo 20150228_074512_zpsla9ikzuy.jpg
Brussels Sprouts, ready for roasting

I tracked most days on Sparkpeople, and went for a few walks. TMI alert: I had my period, so was feeling like crap for several days, still managed to stay mostly on program and didn't eat one bite of chocolate. Ladies, you know how hard this is, right?! I drank wine and coffee, but a little less than usual. No bread. No flour. Reduced Salt. I listened to Chef AJ's lectures and watched the DVD's. I was as compliant as I am willing to be. For example, even when Chip and I went out for date night (to celebrate our anniversary!), I avoided the happy hour snacks. No chips, nuts or bread. I didn't even go out for dinner, just ate at home. We went to a movie, and I said no to the popcorn! Instead I enjoyed the steamed edamame appetizer with a little bit of sea salt. (I love our local theater!). This was HUGE for me! To me, a movie just isn't the same without popcorn! But I did it, and I survived.

In a nutshell, here's how the week went:

The Pros:
  •  Even with the bloating and period symptoms, I dropped 2.5 pounds. Of course I am thrilled by this!
  •  I wasn't hungry and had very few cravings. I felt in control. I felt energetic and motivated, except for the two days when cramps had me sitting on the couch binge watching my favorite tv shows 
  •  My rings felt looser so I must not have been retaining as much water. 
The Cons:
  • With apologies to the Chef, I didn't care for the food on the Ultimate Weight Loss menu plan. Not only were they sort've bland, but many of them use mustard as a base. I'm not a fan of condiments overall (I know, I'm weird) and think mustard belongs on (vegan) hot dogs and pretzels. Period. 
  • The recipes made waaaaaay too much! I could've fed all of my family and still had leftovers. Seriously, each recipe made approximately 12 huge portions. I say approximately because Chef AJ does not list portion sizes which brings me to my next complaint.. 
  •  The portion sizes aren't listed, making it a challenge to figure out the nutritional content. Chef AJ intentionally leaves this out because she wants you to eat mindfully, stopping when you're full and not worry about calories. Well, that simply doesn't work for me. If it did, I wouldn't be overweight in the first place! Without portion sizes I feel out of control, and I don't want to work so hard to figure it out myself.
  •  I missed seasoning. Not necessarily pure salt, but the salty mixes I've grown to love, the ones that make my veggies and potatoes more palatable. I did order the Benson's no-salt seasoning and am waiting for it to arrive, perhaps that will help the situation. I don't have an issue with blood pressure and am only cutting back on salt because it's suggested by the experts. If I can't find a suitable replacement, I'll go back to lightly sprinkling/seasoning. 
  • As much as I love vegetables, it's tough to eat a pound of them for breakfast. I tried spinach and nearly gagged. Then I tried kale which is great but not at that volume/amount. This morning I decided one of these mixes, but when I discussed it on the UWL site, I was reminded of the salt content. Dammit! 

So, this week's plan will be much of the same, but I'll go back to the tried & true low-fat, whole food recipes such as those on Susan's website. I'll find some vegetable mixes without salt, if possible, but if not I will just deal with it. I think filling up on vegetables is more important than avoiding sodium, at least for me. I'll continue to follow the challenge and follow at my own pace, the way that is right for myself, and see what happens.

Here's what I'm planning to make:

Hope your month is off to a great start!

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