Feb 20, 2014

I'm four days into my anti-inflammatory diet. I definitely feel better than I did this time last week. I'm still not healed but I wouldn't expect to be in four short days. I have only eaten out twice. Once at my dad's restaurant, where I never worry about what I'm eating. And the other was an impromptu dinner with my parents at Yardhouse. I definitely prefer cooking and eating at home. It really helps when you're the one in control of what you're putting in your body. I have noticed my hunger levels have dropped a lot and I'm thinking it's the extra protein I'm consuming. 

For the last four days, this is what I ate:

Monday, February 17th
Breakfast: 2 protein pancakes, coffee with almond milk and coconut oil (don't knock it 'til you try it)
Lunch: Grilled steak, brown rice and 6 peice veggie roll made with brown rice from Sansai Japanese Grill (my dad's restaurant)
Snack: apple with chocolate peanut butter
Dinner: Baked chicken breast with homemade vegan pesto, baked polenta and peas
Dessert: Banana coconut chia pudding

Tuesday, February 18th
Breakfast: 2 protein pancakes and 2 chicken sausage links, coffee with almond milk and coconut oil
Snack: apple and 8 slices of salami
Lunch: Leftover chicken with pesto, peas, celery and natural peanut butter
Dinner: Cashew chicken with peas and less than 1/4 cup of brown rice
Dessert: Banana coconut chia pudding

Wednesday, February 19th
Breakfast: 2 protein pancakes, 2 chicken sausage links and green tea
Snack: blueberries and blackberries
Lunch: Leftover cashew chicken, celery, natural peanut butter, blueberries and blackberries
Snack: Apple
Dinner: Pesto bacon wrapped chicken breast, 8 slices of salami, celery and natural peanut butter

Thursday, February 20th
Breakfast: 2 protein pancakes, 2 chicken sausage links, blueberries, coffee with almond milk and coconut oil
Snack: apple and 8 slices of salami
Snack: LaraBar
Dinner: Turkey burger sliders (I only ate the turkey patty) and french fries (from Yardhouse)
Dessert: Coconut milk ice cream with non dairy chocolate chips

When I completely gave up dairy again a couple weeks ago I promised myself I would not eat Quest Bars anymore. Let me tell you, I LOVE Quest Bars, especially the chocolate chip cookie dough flavor. I would eat them instead of dessert at night. But they do contain milk so I wanted to see what would happen when I cut them out. I miss them tons! I also miss whey protein. My boyfriend has mint chocolate chip and 50/50 bar flavors. For now I will pretend my peanut chocolate fudge raw plant based protein is a delicious Reese's Peanut Butter Cup! 

I've gotten a request for a grocery list from a friend who is also trying to avoid gluten. I thought I'd include it here in case anyone else would be interested in seeing it. I'm pretty sure I could have gotten all my groceries (except my protein powder) from Sprouts but for some reason I love making several trips. 

@ Target:
3 lb. bag of Fuji Apples
Bob's Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Flour
Jif To Go Natural Peanut Butter

@ Sprouts:
LaraBars (Blueberry Muffin is my fave!)
Chicken Breast
Pork Chops
Applegate Natural Chicken & Maple Breakfast Sausage
Applegate Natural Uncured Sunday Bacon
Columbus Uncured Italian Dry Salami 
Sprouts Premium Coconut Milk
Almond Breeze Almond Milk
Earth Balance butter
Bulk Roasted Unsalted Cashews
Enjoy Life Semi Sweet Chocolate Mini Chips 
Shady Maple Farms Certified Organic Thick 'N' Rich Syrup
Van's Gluten Free Waffles (which I noticed contain soy when I got home so I won't be eating those any time soon)
So Delicious Coconut Milk Non Dairy Dessert
Justin's Chocolate Hazelnut Butter (because I'm obsessed with Nutella but I can't eat it)

@ Nutrishop:
Raw Fusion Raw Plant Based Protein Fusion 

ALMOST one week until my birthday, ya'll! Peace out! 

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Feb 17, 2014

I have so much to share with ya'll. Let's see, where do I begin? I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine's Day filled with lots of love! I had to work all day but my boyfriend was off and he surprised me at work with flowers and lunch! What a guy!!!

The day before Valentine's Day I was having really bad chest pain and I was coughing quite frequently. I've actually had a dry cough for a few weeks now but it wasn't painful until Thursday. I was diagnosed with asthma last year and when I eliminated dairy from my diet all of my symptoms went away. I thought I had cured myself. I will be honest, I definitely ate dairy over the holidays and going into January. Holiday 
pastries, whey protein powder, Quest bars, frozen yogurt, etc. When I felt this cough coming on a few weeks ago I cut out dairy again completely. I have no idea why I developed asthma in my twenties but I do know that I don't want to rely on medication and I don't want to have to use an inhaler twice a day.

I did some research and I found an amazing article at 
naturalnews.com. You can read it here if you're interested. What really got my attention was, "An anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle are critical for full recovery from these conditions." I have made the decision to go on an anti-inflammatory diet to see if my symptoms get any better. (I will definitely be having cake on my birthday though!)

I started today. Like I said earlier, I haven't had dairy in a few weeks, and today I eliminated gluten and soy. We'll see how this goes. I love food! But I love feeling healthy so much more. I will keep you all updated on how I'm feeling.

Now onto the fun part!!! My boyfriend and I went shooting yesterday with his best friend and his wife. We went to an indoor range and we really enjoyed ourselves. I was a little nervous at first. The environment was A LOT louder than I was expecting and the gun that my boyfriend rented for me was a lot heavier than I was expecting so overall, I had a lot of getting used to to do. After the first few rounds I was fine and I ended up shooting with four different guns. What were they called? Um...I don't know. The one I asked to rent looked the most western to me so I was drawn to it. 

It's always nice when Stephen and his best friend get together. I love seeing them interact with each other. And his wife is great and I really enjoy spending time with her. We had a late lunch afterwards and talked. It was a really nice afternoon.

Today, my boyfriend showed me how to make pesto! He has been making a vegan version for me since June and I always ask him how he makes it and he tells me, "Oh, a little of this and a little of that." He really doesn't have a recipe for it. He just adds ingredients until he likes the flavor. Today, I made the pesto under his guidance. And it turned out delicious if I do say so myself!

We had chicken breast with vegan pesto, peas and polenta fries (which my boyfriend made) for dinner. Yummy!

And for dessert I tried a new recipe from Pinterest: Banana coconut chia pudding. There were only four ingredients and it was so easy to make.

1 ripe banana
1/4 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons chia seeds
Dash of vanilla extract

I tripled my recipe tonight so that I could have some for the next couple of days.

Mix up the banana and the coconut milk in the food processor. Add vanilla extract and mix again. Pour into storage bowl and add chia seeds. Stir them in. This first photo is what it looked like right after it was prepared.

This is what it looked like after about an hour of storing it in the fridge. Coloring changed a bit. Must be from the bananas browning and the chia seeds expanding.

Enjoy!!! It's delicious!!!

Back to work tomorrow. All my food is prepped. No reason to fall off the wagon. 

If anyone reading this has shared my experiences with asthma, please email me at liftwritelove@yahoo.com. Especially if you have been able to eliminate your symptoms! I'd love to hear from you!

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Feb 9, 2014

Sundays are usually the only day I can sleep in. My body alarm clock always seems to wake me at 7. When my boyfriend hears me up and moving around he tells me to get back in bed and I end up sleeping until 9. But this morning I was excited to try a new recipe so I was not able to go back to sleep. Mama Laughlin posted her recipe for Protein Pancakes. I've been wanting to try some and she made it look so easy so I was eager to make them. 

My boyfriend woke up an hour earlier then normal. I was able to spend some time with him before he went to work, which was very nice. He made us some Chocolate Cherry flavored coffee in the French Press. So yum!!! He ate his breakfast while I made my pancakes. He doesn't like much breakfast food so he eats two yogurts and a banana each morning.  
Once I mixed the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients this is what it looked like. The banana, egg whites and vanilla extract (in the bowl on the right) looked so nasty while I was stirring it up but that's where all the flavor was!
By the way, I used my soy protein powder from Whole Foods. I do use Whey protein powder on occasion but I really try to avoid dairy. I also doubled Mama's recipe so that I'd have breakfast prepared for the whole week. 
This is what the mix looked like once I combined all the ingredients. Mama mentioned adding a splash of almond milk but I had to add at least a cup. I think that may be because I doubled the batter. And I did stir the batter by hand, which is an excellent arm workout!  
 I was able to get eleven good sized pancakes out of the batch. 
 And I put nine of them away in a Pyrex for the rest of the week. Yay! Success! 
I added peanut butter on one of them and the other I ate plain. (They are good enough to eat plain!) I'm thinking about adding PB2 the next time I make them. I bet Peanut Butter Banana Protein Pancakes are even better than Banana Protein Pancakes!!! 
 I logged this recipe into MyFitnessPal and for one batch it came out to 592 calories, 8.6 grams of fat, 82.5 grams of carbs, 11.6 grams of fiber, 16.5 grams of sugar and 45.8 grams of protein. That comes out to 118 calories, 1.7 grams of fat, 16.5 grams of carbs 2.3 grams of fiber, 3.3 grams of sugar and 9.2 grams of protein per pancake. I also wanted to add that these are gluten free (for those of you with a gluten intolerance) and they could easily be made vegan if you wanted to use an egg substitute. 

A big thanks to Mama Laughlin for posting her simple yet delicious recipe! 
A little non-scale victory for ya'll. I was blow drying my hair yesterday afternoon and I noticed my baby bicep coming along. Proud mom right here! 
I went to the gym yesterday to do some cardio. I was DYING! Cardio is so boring to me now. Ugh. My boyfriend has never done cardio with me and I never understood why. Now that I've been lifting weights more I totally get it! I was only on the treadmill twenty-five minutes before I jumped off. I couldn't take it anymore. I moved to the rowing machine, which was better than the treadmill, but still not as fun as lifting. I can't wait to get to the gym tonight and LIFT with my love! 

Happy Sunday!!!

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Feb 4, 2014

I had been a slave to the scale for many years. It was an addiction. I would step on the scale every morning. If I had lost weight from the day before I would celebrate by over-indulging. If I had gained weight I would cut back my calories and carbs and basically punish myself. It was a vicious cycle and I am so glad I am passed that.

During my weight loss journey I tried a lot of things. I mentioned Nutrisystem and Jenny Craig. I am grateful for those programs because they did help me drop weight but I know now that dropping weight doesn't necessarily mean slimming down, losing inches or gaining muscle. My goals have slowly shifted and they now include lowering my body fat percentage and building my strength.

I would really like to think that the twenty-five pounds that I have gained back is all muscle. Wouldn't that be nice? I'm sure it isn't ALL muscle but I do think that a lot of it may be. I found some pictures of myself from July of 2011 and I know for a fact that I was within one or two pounds of what I weigh now. Look at the difference in my mid-section from then until now.

I do step on the scale, yes, but I no longer let it control my life and how I feel about myself. By the way, when my boyfriend saw the photo on the bottom left he said, "Your abs look pretty fantastic." Me? Abs?! Huh? I never thought I'd have abs! 

For those of you who struggle or have struggled with the scale like I did, please know that you are so much more than that number. In order to move forward and not focus on the your weight I would suggest focusing on non-scale victories. Take your measurements and document those every month. I bet you will lose inches even if you are not losing pounds. Reward yourself with a manicure if you get to the gym three or four times in a week. Celebrate a month of eating on track with a new outfit. All these things will help with your self-esteem and it will slowly get you to focus on your health, as opposed to your weight. Whatever you do, do not reward yourself with food. I did that for many years. Trust me, that can be a never-ending vicious cycle too. 

This is a life-long journey. I am learning as I go and I think the most valuable lesson I've learned this far is that weights are not just for the boys. You can't be afraid to step outside your comfort zone and you might surprise yourself! 

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Feb 2, 2014

My Story

I was eleven pounds, ten ounces when I was born. I was always taller and thicker than the other girls in my class. I always looked older than my age. I remember a particular event when I was thirteen. My family and I had gone to Las Vegas and we were all sitting by the pool. A guy approached me and starting hitting on me. He was probably in his late twenties, early thirties. And like I said, I was THIRTEEN! Let's just say my dad got rid of him.
Twelve years old.

Fourteen years old.

I was a competitive swimmer (who hated competing) from the time I was eight until I was seventeen. I played water polo as well. For about nine years I was in the pool two hours a day, five days a week. I was in great shape.
Sixteen years old.

My senior year of high school I told my mom I wasn't going to continue swimming because at that time I was in Concert Choir, Chamber Choir and I was the President of Concert Choir. I ended up gaining a lot of weight that year.
Eighteen years old.

My mom and I joined Jenny Craig together my first semester of college. I think I ended up losing about twenty pounds. I then moved away to Nashville, Tennessee. By myself. Two thousand miles away from my family and friends. I loved it, by the way! Those were some of the best years of my life. But I was very unhealthy. I ate all the wrong foods. I didn't exercise on a regular basis. I just didn't have the knowledge that I needed.

I moved home for good in August of 2010. I was the heaviest I have ever been. I never want to see that number again. Not even when I'm pregnant. I remember I had lower back pain and I was tired all the time. I started a new job (still my current employer) and I had to buy work pants. I bought a size eighteen. It hit me that I really needed to make a change. I had had enough.
Twenty-three years old. Size eighteen pants.

I ordered Nutrisystem. And it worked! I lost twenty pounds and I was feeling better already! On December 30, 2010 I went to a Miranda Lambert concert and I ended up meeting a guy who would become my trainer, co-songwriter and friend. We immediately clicked and I really trusted him. He was a trainer so I asked him to help me. He helped me lose another twenty pounds and I really learned a lot from him. I'm pretty sure the first time I ever lifted weights was with him.  

I ended up going to Jenny Craig after that. I was on my way to losing another twenty pounds. At this point I had become so completely obsessed with nutrition. I watched everything that I put into my mouth. I ended up going vegan because I was terrified of what I had been reading. I don't remember being hungry at this point but I think I had really cut back on my calorie intake. I had also started running at this point. This was huge for me! I never thought I could run. But for some reason I wanted to challenge myself.

The morning of my twenty-fifth birthday I stepped on the scale. I had lost seventy-two pounds and I was extremely happy and so proud of myself. 
Twenty-five years old. Size ten. (I did not eat that Rice Krispy Treat, by the way.)

Twenty five years old. First 5K.

Nearly two years later I have gained back twenty-five of the seventy-two pounds that I lost. Obviously, it's something I've been struggling with for nearly two years now. I do know that I am a lot healthier than I was in 2010 and I am so happy with my progress this far. But I'm not done.

I found a chart that my trainer started filling out for me in January 2011. Here are my measurements then.

January 14, 2011- 
Neck: 14 inches
Shoulders: 48 inches
Chest: 46 inches
Upper Arm: 14.5 inches
Lower Arm: 11.5 inches
Waist: 38.5 inches
Hips: 48.5 inches
Thigh: 26 inches
Calf: 18 inches

I added my measurements to the chart in February of 2012. When I had lost 72 pounds. 

February 25, 2012
Neck: 13 inches (down 2 inches)
Shoulders: 41 inches (down 7 inches)
Chest: 36.5 inches (down 9.5 inches)
Upper Arm: 11 inches (down 3.5 inches)
Lower Arm: 9 inches (down 2.5 inches)
Waist: 30.5 inches (down 8 inches)
Hips: 42 inches (down 6.5 inches) 
Thigh: 21 inches (down 5 inches)
Calf: 15.5 inches (down 2.5 inches) 

Total loss of 46.5 inches.

I took my measurements this morning. Twenty-five pounds heavier than I was the last time I recorded my measurements.

February 2, 2014
Neck: 14 inches (up 1 inch)
Shoulder: 46 inches (up 5 inches)
Chest: 39.5 inches (up 5 inches)
Upper Arm: 12 inches (up 1 inch)
Lower Arm: 9 inches (same)
Waist: 31.5 inches (up 1 inch)
Hips: 44 inches (up 2 inches)
Thigh: 23 inches (up 2 inches)
Calf: 17 inches (up 1.5 inches) 

Total gain of 18.5 inches.

I definitely would like to lose those inches and that is what I'm going to focus on now. The number on the scale doesn't matter to me anymore. I'm more concerned about being healthy and strong. 

I currently wear a size twelve and my goal is to fit into my favorite red jeans (that I am wearing in the Rice Krispies photo above) on my 27th birthday. I have less than four weeks to drop a size but I think it's a good goal to have.

Twenty-six years old. Size twelve.

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