21 Day Challenge!

All over Facebook is a 21 Day Challenge.  I have done this 21 Day Challenge for the most part now since Sept 8, 2011.  Here is the challenge:

21 Day Challenge!!!
NO CHIPS
NO SODA
NO DIET SODA
NO CHOCOLATE
NO CANDY
NO WHITE BREAD
NO COOKIES OR BISCUITS
NO FAST FOOD
NO CAKES/PASTRIES/MUFFINS

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How I have done this challenge, but my way!

–I have done fast food, but I make choices that involve salad and not-so-fast-foodish.

— I only have chocolate in protein bars or low-carb items.  Best low-carb chocolate bars in my opinion, Power Crunch (Trader Joes, Smart and Final and Vitacost.com) and Nature Valley Protein Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate bars (Target and Costco).  And this one is delish!  http://www.vitacost.com/bionutritional-research-group-choklat-crunch-protein-crisp-bars

–I never have had regular soda, but I admit to diet soda and even though it is bad for ending cravings, I still have a couple a day.  You still have to drink water.

— I never do candy or anything made with wheat products, unless they are special low-carb ones that I have purchased through Lindora.com or some low carb outlet, and even then, that is rare.  I usually have low-carb frozen yogurt or fruit with whipped cream or low-fat Greek Yogurt.

–I never have potatoes, rice or beans.  Just too full of carbs and starches and puts me on a sugar rollercoaster.

SugarRollerCoaster

The good part of this challenge is to get you to get over craving sugar or things that turn to sugar. It is basically, a sugar detox.  But, if you eat sugars and cheat, then you are NOT detoxing.

The bad part of this challenge is that it offers no assistance in dealing with those torturous cravings.  Even on a medically supervised weight loss program, like the one I did (Lindora), they offered me appetite suppressants.  But, after one day of that and feeling jittery, I researched and found my own way to get over it.  There are plenty of books that explain it, like Dr. Mark Hyman, whose book and information is on the blog before this (August 23. 2013).  However, how to get over cravings in a nutshell:

1.) Balance blood sugar.

When blood sugar is low, you’ll eat anything. To better balance blood sugar, eat a small meal or snack that includes healthy protein, like seeds or nuts (measured out because they are high in carbs) , low-fat Greek Yogurt, two tablespoons of almond or peanut butter, or eat any meat, a protein bar or drink (check on the ones that are lowest in carbs) and cheese, every 3 to 4 hours.

2.) Eliminate liquid calories and artificial sweeteners.

Sodas are full of chemicals and high fructose corn syrup. Processed fruit juices are awash in sugar. Try sticking with water and green tea. Green tea contains plant chemicals that are good for your health. And, last but not least, don’t succumb to the diet-drink trap. The artificial sweeteners in diet drinks fool the body into thinking it is ingesting sugar, which creates the same insulin spike as regular sugar.  I have to admit, I use artificial sweetener in my coffee and soda and I still lost weight, but this can spike cravings….just sayin’.  Reason why I also take fiber to feel full.

3.) Eat a high-quality protein at breakfast.

Ideally, you’re eating quality protein at every meal, but, if you need to prioritize one meal, choose breakfast. Studies show that waking up to a healthy protein, such as eggs, nuts, seeds, nut butters or a protein shake help people lose weight, reduce cravings and burn calories.

4.  Increase fiber.  Helps you feel full and keeps you from overeating.

5.  NO wine or beer.  If you MUST have a drink, stick with a vodka mixed drink and keep it to a minimum.  Wine and beer have sugar and alcohol takes so much energy in your body to be processed, then your body doesn’t have the energy to also burn fat, so you won’t lose much weight if you drink.  Remember that.

wagon1

And as in any addiction, if you fall off the wagon, then get back on!  Never give up.

Feeling full!

I read a post by a woman in a room where there is a weight loss challenge.  In the challenge, there are no chips.  That is because potatoes are so high in carbs.  In fact, I don’t even do potatoes anymore for two reasons:

1.  High in carbs.

2.  Terrible on the glycemic index for the sugar rollercoaster, which causes addiction.

This lady ate at Wendy’s.  The fast food places do not have the best choices for food.  Definitely not organic or hormone-free, but not many diet-friendly choices.  However, she had the BLT salad there and I was surprised to see that it only had between 10 and 13g of carbs.  That is really good.  If you want to lose weight, keeping your carbs between 50 and 100g is the way to go.  So, 10g for a meal is awesome.  But, the lady might be addicted to sugar, because she felt the need to get a baked potato too.  Many people think of baked potatoes as healthy.  I know that I did.  However, root vegetables are HIGH in starch, meaning sugar.  So, the carb count on a medium baked potato is 37 grams.  A lot for one half of a meal.  Also, terrible for trying to get over cravings.  She said she got the potato to feel full!

GasGaugeFull

I get the whole, “wanting to feel full” thing.  That is what kept me addicted to bad foods.   Dr. Mark Hyman talks about how to get through the addiction and withdrawal in his book, “The Blood Sugar Solution. ”

“When you eat simple carbohydrates, whether as sugar or as starch, they pass almost instantaneously from the gut into the bloodstream. Within seconds, blood sugar levels start to rise. To counter the increase in sugar, the body releases insulin. Insulin is the key that unlocks the cells and allows sugar to enter. As sugar enters the cells, the amount of sugar in the blood declines and the body restores homeostasis.  An abundance of simple sugars in the diet goads the body into releasing more and more insulin. Eventually, the cellular locks get worn down from overuse. Like a key that’s lost its teeth, insulin loses its ability to easily open the cellular door. The cells become numb to the effects of insulin. As a result, the body pumps out more and more of the hormone to keep its blood sugar levels in check. Eventually, this cycle leads to a dangerous condition called insulin resistance. Insulin resistance—at the root of diabesity—causes you to gain belly fat, raises your blood pressure, messes up your cholesterol, makes you infertile, kills your sex drive, makes you depressed, tired, and demented, and even causes cancer.”

3 Ways to Reprogram your Brain

Luckily there are ways to rewire the primitive parts of your brain by making good food choices.

1.) Balance blood sugar.

Blood sugar highs and lows drive primitive food cravings. If you get famished between meals, that’s a sign that your blood sugar is crashing. When blood sugar is low, you’ll eat anything. To better balance blood sugar, eat a small meal or snack that includes healthy protein, like seeds or nuts (measured out because they are high in carbs) , low-fat Greek Yogurt, two tablespoons of almond or peanut butter, or eat any meat, a protein bar or drink (check on the ones that are lowest in carbs) and cheese, every 3 to 4 hours.

2.) Eliminate liquid calories and artificial sweeteners.

Early humans didn’t reach for soda or fruit juices when they got thirsty.  Sodas are full of chemicals and high fructose corn syrup. Processed fruit juices are awash in sugar. Try sticking with water and green tea. Green tea contains plant chemicals that are good for your health. And, last but not least, don’t succumb to the diet-drink trap. The artificial sweeteners in diet drinks fool the body into thinking it is ingesting sugar, which creates the same insulin spike as regular sugar.  I have to admit, I use artificial sweetener in my coffee and soda and I still lost weight, but this can spike cravings….just sayin’.  Reason why I also take fiber to feel full.

3.) Eat a high-quality protein at breakfast.

Ideally, you’re eating quality protein at every meal, but, if you need to prioritize one meal, choose breakfast. Studies show that waking up to a healthy protein, such as eggs, nuts, seeds, nut butters or a protein shake help people lose weight, reduce cravings and burn calories.  This is actually very true and important!  I also found that the low carb version of pancake mix from Lindora.com or Netrition.com, and sugar-free maple syrup helps with that need to sometimes have something a little more substantial without killing my diet.  Using alternatives and learning new tricks to eating and enjoying food is what you need to do to lose weight.  This is why I started this blog.  This blog is to put out there for others all of the work I have done to discover how to lose weight and keep it off!

Ultimately, you may not control your genes, but you do control what and how you eat.  Since taking control and changing my diet, my brain no longer caves into the cravings and urgings that seduce the reptilian brain. The most powerful tool you have to transform your health is your brain and your fork!

Discipline is Better Than Potatoes

Discipline quotes:

“Discipline weighs ounces, regret weighs tons.”  ~Author Unknown

“Everyone must choose one of two pains: The pain of discipline or the pain of regret.”  ~Jim Rohn

“Self-respect is the root of discipline:  The sense of dignity grows with the ability to say no to oneself. “ ~Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Insecurity of Freedom: Essays on Human Existence, 1967

One of the hardest parts about dieting is getting over past eating styles, styles which got you into the shape you are in right now.  You have to come to realize that you ate crap, didn’t exercise enough and learned BAD habits.  It might have been no fault of your own, but it happened.  You are a grown person, so you have to deal with it.

You have to learn to eat a different way, but like with anything, if you learn how to do it in a way that you don’t find boring, you find things that you like to eat that are better for you and you do it all long enough, it is a lifestyle change and not a diet.

Do you want to be skinny?  Do you want to stop feeling bad that you say you want to do it or you will start tomorrow and never do it?  Then just start.

Go shopping and find all of the necessary ingredients.  Read my past blogs and find out what you can do to make it happen.  Ex:  6 proteins a day (I write all about lists of them), only 50-100 g of carbs per day, 4 small servings of veggies, 2 small servings of fruits (each has different carbs, research…berries and citrus are the lowest), and two small salads a day.  Eat every 3-4 hours and don’t let yourself get too hungry or thirsty.  Drink your non-sugar beverages.  Look at labels.  Count carbs.

Stop procrastinating.  How much do you want to do it?  Do it and stop whining.  It is not hard.  I will answer any questions that you might have, but start it.   Realize that you have the discipline to say “no.”  When I go out to eat and I order my protein meal (meat and salad, eggs and bacon, etc.), I ask for grilled veggies or tomatoes instead of potatoes and I ask for fruit instead of toast or bread.  It is habit now.  I always turn free bread away before they put it on my table.  You have to learn to do it or to just have one.  Don’t let them bring the never-ending bowls of carbs to your table.  JUST SAY NO!

I spent years wondering why I was overweight.  I was overweight because I ate  those bread baskets, and ate the fries, hash browns or the chips that came with a meal.  I don’t allow those in my life anymore.  There is a Russian lady who makes my salads and I told her that I noticed that everyone that came in who was overweight ate a healthy sandwich or salad and had a bag of chips with their meal.  She said, “American’s love potato chips.”  That is true, and there is also a correlation with the potato lovers and that our society is so obese right now.  You want a fry?  Have one or two.  You can’t be thin and eat a serving of potato chips, hash browns, baked potatoes or fries.  I don’t do potatoes, rice and my wheat is limited (no bread or cereal–although, once in a while, I have Western Bagel’s Perfect 10 bagel at 10g net carbs and a low-carb burrito tortilla at about 7 g net carbs–ONCE in AWHILE.).

At first, this all seemed like a sacrifice, but it was actually not so bad after a few weeks.  Now, I feel very disciplined and good that I watched about 40 pounds fall off of me and I will be damned to put them back on.  So, I still follow all of those rules.  My husband backs me and when anyone tries to sabotage me with trying to get me to order something against my rules, I tell them quite frankly, “No, I don’t do sugar or wheat.”  I am proud of it and it makes me feel even better about my self-esteem.  Losing weight and being able to say no are very empowering.  If no one else likes it, too bad.  This is my health, my life and my body.

Now, it is your turn to feel this way!  JUST SAY NO.  You won’t die with low carbs and no potatoes in your life.

nopotatoes

REPLACEMENTS OF POTATOES:

There are tons of cauliflower recipes out there where you can make faux pizza crusts, faux mashed potatoes, etc and they taste great–instead of potatoes.  You can make baked Kale chips instead of eating potato chips.

So learn NEW ways to make things, enjoy them and they will become part of your new skinny lifestyle.  Or you will start to look like a potato.

potatohead