I smell… a dramatic diet comeback!

Miscellaneous

Everyone starts off their new diet or new healthy life style change with enthusiasm. We stock our shelves and fridges with fresh produce and whole wheat bread with all the ambition in the world that we will continue on this path. We set our alarm clocks and get up early to hit the gym or fit in a run and we feel empowered and proud when we accomplish the workout.

The trouble is that after some time has passed, things tend to “come up”. Motivation starts to fade little by little. Gym fees and sessions start to look more like torture. Long weekends, holidays and birthdays complete with cake happen to us all. We suddenly find ourselves feeling guilty as we reach our hand into the near empty chip bag. How did this happen when we were so sure of our new diet?

Toxic AKA sugar infested punch.

Toxic AKA sugar infested punch.

This past weekend I threw a Halloween costume party. I love party planning. It’s something I enjoy and I’m good at it. I guess it must be the PR side of me and all the event planning I’ve been involved with!

The party was, of course, adorable and full of Pinterest inspired crafts and food, however, it was basically hog heaven. There was beer (LOTS of Redd’s Apple Ale), chocolate, candy corn, cupcakes, bread, dips, pasta, cookies, sloppy joes, Jello shots with whip cream and bacon and cream cheese dishes galore. It was a fantastic feast with good friends and very much enjoyable. I gave myself a free diet pass and enjoyed whatever I wanted…sometimes life is just too short to waste a good time counting and cutting calories! Plus what’s the fun in planning the party if I didn’t get to enjoy all the treats I made for it?!

One of two dessert tables.

One of two dessert tables.

My free-for-all feast was fun and a nice break while it lasted…that is until Sunday morning suddenly rolled around and I felt like complete and total garbage. I wasn’t hung over because I only had about five beers in the span of six hours. It was more of an entire overall body bloat and crappy mental state. There’s a reason I try so hard to eat a clean diet and exercise five to six days a week, because if I don’t, I know how terrible I will feel afterwards. I may sound like a typical girl and my boyfriend would roll his eyes at me, but I feel so fat and bloated after a few days of eating junk or even after a larger than life cheat “day”. I hate that feeling and it makes me crabby. I ate a little better on Sunday during the day, but not by much and I went to bed that night feeling generally crappy.

Monday morning rolled around and I dragged myself to the gym at 5:30 a.m. to fit in my workout before the office. (As you can guess, I didn’t workout all weekend as I was busy preparing for the party by decorating, cooking and baking. As you can also probably guess, I kicked my little butt at the gym with 40 minutes of HIIT that morning.)

Now I’m in the midst of a dramatic diet comeback from the past week and a half free-for-all. When I make the decision to get back to my regular clean eating habits, there are a couple of key things that make a huge difference for me that I always try to include.

Four tips to help you get back on your diet:

My gallon today -- as I was writing this post actually!

My gallon today — as I was writing this post actually!

  • Drink Water Like It’s Your Job. I try to drink over a gallon of water each day at work and then about three or four water bottles before, after or during my workout. All of this water helps to remove toxins from the body. You should normally be drinking a gallon a day, but it’s especially important when you’ve slacked for a few days and ate lots of sugar or grease. Keep a gallon right next to you wherever you go. Make it a priority to drink a gallon for a minimum of five straight days in a row.
  • Meal Replacement Shakes. Some people may not agree with me on this, but this is what I’m recommending because it works for me and my body. I have a meal replacement shake for lunch everyday at work for about a week and a half when I’m getting back into the swing of things. If I head to the gym late one night, I’ll have some tuna before the workout and then another meal replacement shake after and use it as a protein recovery shake. (It’s important to take note of how your body responds to different components of your fitness journey. Some people I know can’t just eat a meal replacement bar or shake because they mentally can’t do it and find themselves distractedly hungry an hour after. Do what works for you and listen to your body. Although a healthy lifestyle requires a great deal of dedication and self-discipline, if you find that you are hallucinating from hunger pains an hour after you had a meal replacement shake, then maybe it’s not the best route for you — and there’s nothing wrong with that.)
  • Start On A Monday And Don’t Miss A Day All Week. Being in the gym is motivating. Finishing a run with a strong sprint makes you feel like a bad ass. Find that inner “pump” every single day to help build back up your motivation and inspiration. You’re not going to find inspiration by sitting on the couch feeling sorry for yourself for falling off course. At the gym you’re surrounded by people with the same attitude that you once had. Watch them, learn from them and then inherit that attitude again.

    Chillin' in the Sauna.

    Chillin’ in the Sauna.

  • Sauna It Up. I absolutely love the sauna at my gym. I love being hot and a deep sweat is a great way to flush toxins out of your system. The sauna is also super relaxing and a great place to go after a tough workout to reflect on how hard you just worked. Listen to music, close your eyes and try to stay in for about 40 minutes while taking short water breaks every 10 minutes.

Apart from eating lots of fruits and veggies, preparing your meals in advance and getting lots of sleep, these are my top tips for getting back into the swing of a clean eating healthy life style.

Here are a few very other quick tips that you can incorporate when you feel like you’re getting back into a good place:

  • Drink your coffee black or only add one Truvia packet.
  • Drink green tea instead of coffee or sip on it during the day. (Green tea can aide in weight loss.)
  • Don’t eat after 7 p.m. (Again, this tip goes with the whole “listen to your body” speech that I gave earlier. It you’re on the verge of passing out, but its 8:15 p.m. then screw the rule and eat something! Never starve yourself.)
  • To help with not eating after 7 p.m., brush your teeth and floss immediately after your dinner or last meal of the day, then put on mint flavored chap stick like Burt’s Bees. I find this helps with temptation.
  • Stay out of the kitchen! Every time I find myself starting to slip it’s usually because I’m staring blankly into the fridge and fighting a mental battle with myself. “It’s cold out, I can have all that left over pasta” or “I already worked out today, I can have some of that ice cream in the freezer… I’ll only have a couple scoops…” NO. Get what you need to get, eat it and then walk away.

What are some other tips that you guys have for getting back into the swing of your diet? Have you found or heard of something that worked for your body or someone you know?

Chasing the Dog Days of Summer.

Miscellaneous

What a fabulous weekend! I have had four glorious days off work — including tomorrow, too! Woo-hooooo. I have been quite the little outdoorsy girl on my mini vacay. I have been obsessed with squeezing the last remaining summer out of the next couple weeks, so I took my little break very seriously.

This past week I was on the cabbage soup cleanse, except not so much cabbage soup, however. I nixed the soup after day three, (it’s so terrible) and was still able to lose seven pounds — also while cutting the cleanse shorts two days! I have a goal weight in mind and to motivate myself, I bought a very expensive (but very pretty) Michael Kors bag. My reward and deal to myself is that I get the bag when I reach my goal weight. Stay tuned for that because this old girl still has six more pounds to shed. Until then, the pretty little bag stays hidden in the boyfriend’s closet at his place. (Cue the sad music.)

On Saturday, the rents and I made an adventure out of driving to Huntington Beach in Bay Village. The beach is award winning, clean, beautiful and offers a stunning view of downtown Cleveland in the distance. We stopped in Downtown Willoughby for dinner afterwards (hence, cutting my week-long cleanse off.) I opted for a burger and a beer, which was not to go unnoticeably awesome after eating straight fruits and veggies all week.

Dad and I just being clowns like usual.

Dad and I just being clowns like usual.

On Sunday, I was determined to go for a long bike ride to switch up my work out. After failing to get a companion to join me in the light rain that day, I set out on my own. I ended up being super happy about not having anyone with me because I decided to ride 27 miles and didn’t have anyone else to worry about. I cranked up my iPod and enjoyed myself. Note to self: Do that more often.

About half way through my ride I stopped for a photo opt.

About half way through my ride I  stopped for a photo opt.

Sunday also called for a BBQ at the boyfriend’s house, which was a great time filled with Dance Revolution Two and a lot of trampoline bouncing. I felt like a little kid and loved every minute of it.

Today, Labor Day, I joined a group of 15 people on a canoeing trip. Half the group opted for a 7 mile kayak ride while the other a 10 mile canoe ride. Feeling like my normal superwoman self, I chose the 10 mile canoe.

And wow, did I underestimate that! Canoeing 10 miles is HARD. We looked up online how many calories each of us burned (my group had 9) and the calculator said I burned around 2,500 calories. I believe it too because my shoulders, back and arms are killing me! Great workout though, but really tough, especially with the hot sun beating down on you.

Some of the fearless canoers

Some of the fearless canoers.

The boyfriend and I let the canoe coast while we ate fruit salad. We coasted into these lily pads, which our guide kindly let us know was probably infested with leeches.

The boyfriend and I let the canoe coast while we ate fruit salad. We coasted into these lily pads, which our guide kindly let us know was probably infested with leeches.

Of course I also had to get up early and run this morning before the canoeing adventure. So on the ride home I convinced everyone how many calories we had all burned and tempted everyone into stopping for pizza and beer. The calories were well spent.

Tomorrow I start back on my healthy eating though. After walking to get ice cream with my mom after we got home from canoeing, I stopped up at the grocery store and bought fruits and veggies with a heavy heart. Except I am kinda excited to try and get to my goal weight this week because I want my Michael Kors bag so, so, so bad! It was a good cheat couple of days, but back to the grind tomorrow. I’m getting up early to run seven miles up on the all-purpose trail and then stopping up to see my grandma, since I am of course the favorite grandchild…

Now I am sitting here in my pajamas drinking wine after a great couple of days. We are feeling the aftermath of hurricane Isaac tonight up here in Northeast, Ohio. I know I’ll sleep well tonight even with the storm.

Hope your weekend and Labor Day was as well spent as mine — on both time spent doing fun things with friends and family and calories spent on great food!

Keep running!

Cabbage Soup: Death by a Cleanse, but Worth It.

Miscellaneous

It took God seven days to create the world. There are seven continents on this earth. There are seven wonders of the world. Seven deadly sins. Seven colors of the rainbow.

And in seven days I lost 10 pounds.

There's no way this girl is THIS happy about eating those veggies.

There's no way this girl is THIS happy about eating those veggies.

My roommate and I got the idea about two weeks ago while we were discussing gaining weight over the holidays. I was in the middle of eating a giant, pretty healthy salad — except I had put about a 82 cups of delicious thousand island dressing on it. We were talking about wanting to lose 5 to 10 pounds, enough to get back on track. I had been on about the fourth week of eating healthy and going running every other day, making little changes to try and get back to my normal size, but I was struggling.  My roommate mentioned something about hearing of a cabbage soup diet. We began research immediately.

Basically, the cabbage soup diet, or as my roommate and I called it the “cabbage soup cleanse” is a seven-day cleanse of eating certain, specific foods. We called it a cleanse because the word diet is just annoying and stupid. Diet is a word used by fat or old people who can’t eat anything good for ridiculously long periods of time. This was only seven days — no diet in my book.

The official “Cabbage Soup Diet” can be found here.

Each day of the cleanse you are aloud a certain food or foods, and you can eat as much of it as you want, but it must be on your list. You also make a giant pot of cabbage soup for the week and you can literately have the soup anytime you want (along with the certain foods you’re allowed.)

Here’s the recipe for the soup. (Which might sound at least a little appealing, but let me tell you — it’s not.)

I will never look at cabbage the same again.

I will never look at cabbage the same again.

  • 6 large green onions
  • 2 green peppers
  • 1 or 2 cans of tomatoes (diced or whole)
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 container (10 oz. or so) mushrooms
  • 1 bunch of celery
  • half a head of cabbage
  • 1 package spice only soup mix (Lipton is a good choice)
  • 1 or 2 cubes of bouillon
  • 1 48oz can Low Sodium V8 juice
  • Season to taste with pepper, parsley, curry, garlic powder, etc. (Little to NO SALT.)

And so Jan. 23 through Jan. 29 my roommate and I suffered through this.

Here’s a run-down of what the cleanse is really like from real human perceptive and from a girl who loves food.

(Remember in all of these, absolutely NO dressing/dips/sugar/salt is aloud. It is 100 percent natural and no preservatives, but drink all the water you can handle you little fish.)

Day 1: Soup and Fruit. (No bananas though.)
This day was semi-easy. The first half of the day went by pretty smooth and I filled up on fruits often. The smell of the soup however is terrible and unfortunately the taste isn’t much better. It’s so bland it’s almost unbearable. No amount of spice will make it better, but if you honestly force yourself to eat it while drinking an insane amount of water with it, you feel pretty full.

Oranges were my weapon of choice during this week, it's basically all I ate -- when I was allowed.

Oranges were my weapon of choice during this week, it's basically all I ate -- when I was allowed.

Day 2: Soup and Vegetables.
This day was the hardest in my opinion. Try your best to not give up here, because this is the day you’re going to want to the most. But I bring good news that if you make it through this day — you are in semi good shape. It gets super hard to eat salad with no dressing and just straight lettuce. I felt like I was eating leaves.

Day 3: Soup, Fruits and Vegetables.
This day is the day that will get in your head. It’s all about keeping yourself mentally stable at this point. Try not to be too stressed about anything else and go to bed early. If you wake up and see Thursday morning and you are still going strong then you should be really proud of yourself. Remember to try and fill up on water, and again I recommend chugging water between bites of the soup and you will start to feel full.

Day 4: Soup, Bananas and Skim Milk.
This is the easiest day in my opinion. I would eat two bananas and a glass of milk every few hours and it kept me pretty full and doing okay. This day is supposed to reduce your cravings for sweets and I think it helped for me.

Day 5: Beef, Soup, Tomatoes.
This was the day I was looking forward to the most because you could have protein for the first time in four days. You can substitute baked fish or baked, skinless chicken for meat on this day, so I had three, boiled chicken breast this day. Remember though, no seasoning or marinade. I literately had chicken at 7 a.m. this day. Oh, and ate an entire carton of cherry tomatoes.

Day 6: Beef, Soup and Vegetables.
Again you could substitute chicken or fish (but you also weren’t supposed to have fish again if you had it the first day or visa versa.) I had three pieces of salmon this day and I would say it was pretty good, even without seasoning. This day is still hard but if you keep telling yourself one more day it helps a little, but just a little. It basically still sucks.

Day 7: Brown Rice, Soup and Vegetables.
Congrats, you get carbs for the first time in six days and you think you’re gonna go crazy, but the rice is so bland you don’t even want it. Although it does help fill you up a little more, but it’s still pretty bad. If you manage to eat one or two pieces of vegetables by this day you consider it a victory. You’re pretty cranky today so take some nyquil and try and sleep the day off, you’re almost done.

So this morning, I woke up to my glorious alarm clock at 5:30. (Yes, I said glorious because I got to eat real food today, why wouldn’t I want to get up for that?)

I went to the gym and did a quick 2.62 mile run on 5.5. Seriously pathetic, but give me a break, I had about 50 calories the entire week, and I was WEAK.

I weighted myself before my run and I was down nine pounds. After my run BINGO! I was down 10 pounds, and I was a happy girl driving back home in 14 degree weather at 6:55 a.m. Yippie.

So was it worth it? Call me crazy, but yes. It sucked mentally and at one point (like on Saturday night when I was a complete bore) I couldn’t even tell if I was starving, hungry or not hungry at all. I also HIGHLY underestimated how hard it would be to work in a grocery store on the sixth and seventh day of the cleanse — remind me to call-off those days next time I do this cleanse.

I craved this seriously every minute of everyday. Fat kid problems?

So here’s MY cabbage soup diet/cleanse tips that seemed to help me:

  • Take it a day at a time. DO NOT think about how you are going to get through tomorrow or a certain day or all seven days. Make it a goal to make it through the day you’re on and pat yourself on the back as you lay down each night. It’s all about keeping yourself sane.
  • Aim to eat your soup once a day. If you can fit it in twice good for you, but at least aim for once and give yourself PLENTY of time to eat. It would take me 30 minutes to eat one bowl it was so bad.
  • Act like a little kid usually does when forcing down vegetables — even if it means plugging your nose when you eat it. I would take a giant spoonful, try and chew it without tasting it then swallow it with water. All the water plus the soup itself actually made me feel pretty full.
  • Aim to be productive and get your work done right after you eat because it’s the only time of the day you’re not cranky and hungry.
  • My advice is to not work out the week of the diet/cleanse because there’s nothing I want more after a work out than recovery food like eggs and coffee. Plus you’re consuming so few calories that you seriously don’t have any to burn, so it’s just going to make you feel sick and terrible.

If you want to be successful with this diet/cleanse then be successful. That’s my most important piece of advice. If you half-ass it then you won’t lose weight, but if you follow it to a T you will lose about 10 pounds.

I surprised myself with how much will-power I had and I feel great about finishing it out until the end.

Sometimes all it takes is to feel a push from behind and to turn around and realize it’s you pushing yourself.