My Weight Loss in 2015

I’ve been waiting to do this post for a year. I didn’t take many body photos along the way this year because I wanted to be able to see a difference. I can’t believe I’m going to share them publicly on the internet, but I am. I have been going on all year about losing weight and eating ice cream, and I want people to see that it really IS possible to lose weight and keep it off without restricting foods, going into a deep calorie deficit, and going insane. With just plain old moderation in eating and regular exercise.

To recap:

My mission for this year was to not drink alcohol and to take control of my health by eating better and exercising consistently. I decided I would lift weights and try to eat close to maintenance to try to do some body recomposition. First let me say that I could not have done any of what I did this year without giving up alcohol. I wouldn’t have had the energy or drive to continue working out long-term if I kept it in the mix. Second, I also made the decision to just work out per my schedule, no matter what. I did that, except for in May when I seemed to be sick and fatigued the entire month. I’m not sure what was happening there. But I just let my body rest and heal.

I started small, just lifting weights 3-4 times a week for about 30 minutes each time. I used Nia Shanks’ Lift Like a Girl routine for a while, just basic stuff but trying to lift a little heavier whenever I could. I also did most of her Train to be Awesome program. I started running again, 3 days a week, anywhere from 2-5 miles. I did this for a few months and then started to work in more running. Now I am running 6 days a week, about 27 miles a week, and still trying to lift heavy-ish 2-3 days a week.

As far as eating, I just ate what I wanted. I tried to be reasonable and aim for balanced meals. I also tried to be hungry for my meals, not starving, but hungry for a while. I never cut out sugar or wheat or anything else. No need! Not giving up anything I loved made it easy. That just leads to deprivation and guilt when you finally cave and eat all of the things that you aren’t ‘supposed’ to be eating. Anyway the food part was really that simple. I ate ice cream almost every day for many months. Oh, and I never counted calories.

Fast forward to today and I made so much progress in 2015! I ended up losing just under 26 pounds, 11.5% body fat (according to my scale which I know isn’t completely accurate), and 17.25 inches!! That averages out to be just 2.15 pounds and about 1.5 inches lost per month. That would have driven me crazy in the past to only lose 2 pounds every month, but I knew it was going to be the only way for me to finally make lasting change and my best hope to keep the weight off. So far it’s working. I could have really gone nuts and tried to lose more weight and do it faster, but I know that would have backfired. I didn’t try to eat too little because I knew I wouldn’t be able to sustain my efforts in working out. Working out was what was going to change how my body looked. Besides, if you are trying to re-comp, your muscles need fuel to grow!

I thought I’d give a monthly breakdown of my weigh-ins this year to give a better idea how I moderately lost weight. The first number is pounds, the second is body fat percentage.

January 1 – 152.2, 37.5%

February 20 – 148.2, 33.5%

March 1 – 147.6, 34.5%

May 1  – 142.6, 32%

May 29 – 142.2, 33%

July 5 – 139.6, 32%

August 2 – 138.4, 31%

August 30 – 136.4, 31%

September 27 – 134.8, 29%

November 1 – 131, 29%

November 30 – 126.8, 26.5%

January 1, 2016 – 126.4, 26%

I also took measurements monthly. That was where the progress was the most exciting for me!

January 17, 2015

  • Bicep – 12.25
  • Chest – 39
  • Waist – 31
  • Belly – 36.25
  • Hips – 40
  • Thigh – 24.75
  • Calf – 13.75

I lost anywhere from .5 to 1.75 inches each month.

January 1, 2016

  • Bicep – 11
  • Chest – 36
  • Waist – 28
  • Belly – 32.25
  • Hips – 36.75
  • Thigh – 22.5
  • Calf – 13.25

If my math is correct, I lost 17.25 inches this year!! My goal was to change my body recomposition and I’d say that was a huge success.

If I could give anyone some advice on how to lose weight I’d say this:

Find a way to move your body that you like, that you will do consistently long-term. If you can, lift weights to give you the most ‘bang for your buck’. What worked for me is lifting and running. Use activity to make you feel good! Just stick with it.

Eat what you like, but try to focus on getting regular, balanced meals. Try not to eat too much.

Don’t use exercise to punish yourself for eating. Don’t burn off calories for eating too much. If you ate too much, just use it as a learning experience and move on.

Don’t label food as good or bad. Food is just food, fuel for our bodies whether it is cookies or salad. Don’t attach morality to food, it has no moral value, just nutritional. Save yourself the guilt trip!! Just try to eat in a way that makes you feel good.

Don’t deprive yourself of things that you love. If you love chocolate or ice cream (ME!), eat it, just in appropriate amounts.

So that’s that! I feel like I made huge strides and changed a lot in 2015. I reached my goals of consistent exercise and weight loss. I never really set a specific number goal and don’t think I will. I’m just happy to have lost the weight and inches and my new goal will be to keep them gone.

And here’s something I never thought I’d do, but I (mostly) feel comfortable enough now to do it. Post before and now pictures. This was from June 2014, I pretty much looked the same in early 2015.

150 pounds

June 2014 around 150 pounds

26 pounds lost

January 2016, 126 pounds

I’m still carrying some fat, but not that much. And as you can see it is almost all in my belly, butt, and thighs. My body isn’t perfect but I love my body now! I actually have some muscle definition! If I never lose any more weight I’ll be fine with that, because my body can do cool stuff, like run and lift heavy things. I know I’m strong and that feeling is priceless. I imagine though that I will be able to lose 10 more pounds or so, if I keep lifting and running, which I intend to do.

So there you go. My year of change and weight loss. I hope that I will maintain it and not regain it. It wasn’t necessarily hard work but it took a long time and I don’t want it back!

Kinda had another binge-y day and spinning

I know I said I thought I was cookie-d out, but apparently I wasn’t:/

Yesterday started out good, I got up and had coffee and went for my 8 mile run. The run was great! It was snowing the entire time, and by the end I was almost soaked LOL Luckily it wasn’t too cold. I ran at a good clip too, 9:00 pace for the whole thing! That must have been too much, because I was wiped when I got home. I had some leftover pizza and a couple of cookies, and then took an hour nap. After that I had some candy that I didn’t really want to be having, and later on around dinner I ended up having multiple cookies, chocolate, ice cream, plus dinner. It was just too much, and I don’t even really know why I ate all of that. I still feel crappy this morning.

My solution will be to give away the stuff that I don’t really like. I don’t know why I kept it all in the first place. I would like to stop buying that stuff too, because most of the time it isn’t worth mindlessly eating a bunch anyway. I know I’m not going to keep overeating treats and gain a bunch of weight. But it doesn’t make me feel good, physically or mentally. So I’d like to stop doing that. And if there isn’t a bunch of that stuff hanging around, I won’t actually eat it LOL

In other stuff, I actually spun some fiber yesterday!

IMG_0031It has been sitting on the bobbin for who knows how long. I don’t have any sort of expectations for how it will turn out, but it will be nice if I get it done. I did some more tonight too. Hopefully if I work on it a little every day it will be done before I know it!

Food Budget Week 4

We went way over again! We spent $278.26. Here’s what we bought:

PRODUCE:

  • Organic avocados $2.00
  • Organic bananas $2.51
  • Blackberries $4.00
  • Red cabbage $4.22 – paid way too much for this lol
  • Carrots $6.05
  • Celery $3.29 – Costco
  • Cucumber $1.18
  • Garlic $1.38
  • Ginger $.65
  • Kiwano melon $5.99 – we didn’t even end up eating this before it went bad, stupid
  • Big bag of romaine $4.58
  • Onions $2.45
  • Bell peppers $5.49
  • Potatoes $2.19
  • Power greens $4.49
  • Snap peas $6.29 – Costco
  • Yams $10.99 – Costco

OTHER:

  • Butter
  • Sliced cheese $8.79
  • Ham shanks $19.51 – 4 big ones
  • Coffee $31.98 – lol we bought 2 big bags at Costco
  • Cottage Cheese $2.79
  • Heavy cream $4.99
  • Ice cream $15.47 – stocking up I guess!
  • 1/2 gallon milk $3.19
  • Yogurt $6.49 – Costco
  • Chicken breasts $7.27
  • Bacon $14.69 – Costco
  • Eggs $3.99
  • Frozen salmon $29.79
  • Brown rice syrup $6.39
  • Coconut $5.04
  • Ground ginger $5.79
  • Honey $20.98 – K bought one at Costco and I thought it was not for the house, so I bought another!
  • Tabasco $3.99
  • Tortillas $5.19

really want to do better. I keep forgetting that a new week starts on Sunday so we just go shopping on Saturday. I guess it doesn’t matter, we just need to do better with only getting what we need and having a plan. I didn’t really have a plan this week, and I still don’t. We will just try to use up what we have before we go shopping again.

So the total that we spent this month is a whopping $966.45. Per week that is $241.61. I think that is way too much and we can do a lot better! I am really going to be a stickler and we aren’t buying anything that isn’t on the shopping list, and I am going to plan out meals and stick to it.

Food Budget Week 3

We went way overboard this week, spending $343.08! This is including a missing receipt that someone held on to too long, so now it gets added into this week.  Annoying. We were also buying stuff for my birthday, and I guess I just disregarded the budget – obviously!

Here’s what we bought:

PRODUCE

  • Organic bananas $1.90
  • Bell peppers $14.76
  • Broccoli $3.32
  • Brussels sprouts $8.58
  • Organic carrots $2.12
  • Cauliflower $3.49
  • Celery $3.29
  • Cilantro $.99
  • Cucumbers $1.18
  • Garlic $1.38
  • Grapefruit $4.00 – on sale for 4/$1!
  • Organic green beans $3.99
  • Green onions $1.98
  • Habaneros $.78
  • Chives $1.50
  • Organic romaine $1.99
  • Mushrooms $2.35
  • Onions $.97
  • Parsley $.79
  • Yams $1.17

OTHER

  • Butter $15.98
  • Cheddar cheese $9.79
  • Heavy cream $4.29
  • 2 half gallons milk $4.00
  • Mozzarella $5.99
  • String cheese $10.89
  • Fage yogurt $6.49
  • Pancetta $8.45 – ended up tossing these both, I left one from Caputo’s downstairs instead of going in the fridge lol The other smelled too funky. Oh well.
  • Pastrami $16.99
  • Pepperoni $9.58
  • Baby back ribs $8.73
  • Picante sausages $8.15
  • Wild boar salami $13.63
  • Baking powder $2.65
  • Various flours, a lot of them $26.65
  • Coconut extract $5.49
  • Organic shredded coconut $3.99
  • Spices $14.64 – this included crystallized ginger, expensive but yummy!
  • Cornmeal $2.99
  • Coconut cream $11.97 – this was for my birthday cake, we bought extra
  • Dried figs $2.56
  • Guacamole (Costco) $10.99
  • Orange juice $1.34
  • Masa harina $1.99
  • Olive oil from Caputo’s $19.99
  • Organic oats $7.66
  • Pasta from Caputo’s $27.36
  • Polenta from Caputo’s $5.75
  • Roasted red peppers $4.99
  • Sweetened condensed milk $3.58
  • Crushed tomatoes $4.99

Whew! Going to have to really try and do better to make up for that, and it will take at least a month. My goal for this coming week is to be under $125. We already spent close to that for the week, so there is not really any wiggle room. We’ll just have to make it work with what we have!

Food budget Week 2

I know I said last week was week 2, it just seemed weird since the first one was only counting 3 days, so this is week 2. Again. There will be no more week 2s! We spent $90.78. We were trying to keep it down to redeem the fact that we went way over last week. It didn’t quite work, but we tried! And we did do okay. What we bought:

PRODUCE

  • Organic bananas $2.15
  • Bell peppers $3.38
  • Cucumbers $1.00
  • Garlic $1.28
  • Ginger $1.30
  • Green onions $.79
  • Thyme $2.99
  • Organic kale $1.50
  • Organic romaine $1.79
  • Limes $1.00
  • Onion $5.4
  • 5# bag russet potatoes $1.18
  • Radishes $.99
  • Tomatoes $2.64

OTHER

  • 2 1/2 dozen eggs $3.99
  • Baking soda $.99
  • Cinnamon sticks (Costco) $6.39
  • Sugar (Costco) $9.99
  • Chow mein noodles $1.69
  • Molasses $3.69
  • Pecans (Costco) $12.99
  • Fresh apple juice 1/2 gallon $7.99
  • Tortillas $4.89
  • Peanut butter $3.79
  • Cotija cheese $389
  • Sour cream $3.19
  • Guacamole $4.67

We made some really yummy things this week too!  We tried the Lemon Glazed Turkey Meatballs and  they were awesome!

I also did the crispy beef, which was just ok though, I put too much lime in the marinade.  We also tried the Colombian roast chicken legs which we all liked, but would cook a bit differently if we did it again. I ended up marinating them all day and then cooking at 400 for about an hour, that was too long! They were still tasty. Last night we had some Mahi Mahi tacos that were pretty great too.

Truthfully, we are needing to go to the store! But I want to wait until tomorrow so we don’t add anymore to this week’s spending. Here’s what I’m kind of planning for next week:

Posole-ish soup with potatoes

BBQ chicken or pork to use up some bbq sauce I bought

Beefy macaroni and cheese

Black bean and sweet potato tacos

Probably more mahi mahi and some cheesy broccoli quinoa

An onion and broccoli or kale quiche

And for my birthday I am going to make this Spaghetti Bolognese!

 

Food Budget Week 1

The budget is $125, and we definitely went over this week. We spent $177.09! We bought quite a few convenience foods and other random things that we didn’t need. Have to stop doing that.

This week we also made kind of an inventory list of things we have in the freezer and pantry. Hoping that will help to keep necessary purchases down and get stuff used up.

Here is what we bought:

PRODUCE

  • 2 honey crisp apples $2.58 – expensive but last time I had one was in Seattle and I couldn’t resist
  • Organic bulk carrots $.75
  • 2 cloves garlic $1.38
  • Parsley, chives, and dill $7.36 – bought these to make homemade ranch dressing
  • Organic baby kale for salads $2.50
  • Organic romaine hearts $2.49
  • Onions $3.08
  • 4 pounds navel oranges $2.99
  • Organic salad mix $2.50

OTHER

  • Cocoa powder $2.99
  • Buttermilk $4.49
  • Heavy cream $4.29
  • 1/2 gallon milk $3.19
  • Fage yogurts $10 – they were 10/$10
  • 1 1/2 dozen eggs $3.39
  • Turkey lunchmeat $6.59
  • Chia seeds $9.99 – this was one of those random did-not-need items😆
  • 2 bottles sweet and korean chile sauces $5.78
  • 4 cans coconut milk $8.00
  • Boxed coconut milk (for smoothies and such) $10.99
  • Honey $10.99
  • Mayo $4.39
  • Mustard $3.79
  • Costco organic olive oil $14.99
  • 4 bags organic popcorn $9.96
  • Jasmine rice $3.19
  • TJ’s verde salsa/sauce $199
  • Tamari $3.99
  • Case of tomato paste $6.69
  • Caveman bars $17.99 – another unnecessary buy
  • Pumpkin flax granola $7.79

I’ve made a meal plan this week based off of what we already have, and I’m determined to stick to it, or at least stay very close to it. We didn’t use much of the produce we bought so we shouldn’t even have to get much of that. What I have jotted down for the meal plan:

Lemon glazed turkey meatballs

Crispy beef/vaca frita

Fish tacos with mahi mahi

Colombian roast chicken

Pizza

I’m going to try to just buy what we need for these recipes, and it shouldn’t be much. Got to save a little to make up for overspending so much this week!

 

 

2015 Food Budget

I’ve decided I want to do better with the food spending again, so I’m going to do the budget thing again. Just for ease of operations I will be updating on Saturdays, when mostly people aren’t reading blogs anyway…

For now I’m just doing these first 3 days of the month.  So we’ve spent $77.24 on:

PRODUCE

  • Savoy cabbage $2.98
  • Swiss chard $2.00
  • Cucumber $1.18
  • Grapefruit $1.17
  • Mushrooms $1.48
  • Yellow onions $1.67
  • Green bell peppers $1.16
  • Russet potatoes $1.49
  • Turnips $1.86
  • Yams $4.07

OTHER

  • Cream cheese (3 packages) $5.00
  • 2 large chicken breasts $11.51
  • 1 1/2 dozen eggs $3.39
  • Applegate ham lunchmeat $5.29
  • Applegate turkey lunchmeat $5.29
  • Applegate pepperoni $4.79
  • Pistachios $15.59
  • Ciabatta rolls $2.60
  • Guacamole $4.72

I haven’t done any meal planning but I should have! I will before we go to the store next time for the weekly shopping. I’m also going to try harder to stick to sales fliers when I can. We still have lots of food downstairs in our food storage, and CSA meat in the freezer too. We tried for under $150 per week last time I kept track and we averaged $144 per week, so I guess I’d like to get closer to $125 per week if we could!  We’ll see.

 

8 miles and my new favorite oats

I ran 8 miles this morning.  I didn’t really plan it out, just went where I wanted to go and in the end it was 8 miles in 1:21:51.  Not too shabby!  I felt like I was going at a pretty good pace, not too hard to keep it up until around the last mile.  That’s when I started getting tired and my started to hurt.  It was chilly, 40 degrees, but I made it through without any rain as it is supposed to do today.  I hardly saw anyone else on the route I picked until I got on the parkway for the second half, and even then there was a only a handful of people out walking and a couple of other runners.  I like it when there aren’t many cars or people and I can just zone out and listen to my music.

After I got back and did some strength moves and stretching I made my favorite oats as of late.  I guess they are called custard oats because you stir in an egg toward the end of cooking.  I thought it would be weird the first time I heard about them but decided to try it anyway.  Here’s how I have been doing mine:

  • 1/2 cups dry oats
  • 1 cup So Delicious coconut milk
  • 1 T hemp hearts (just because I have them)
  • 1/3 cup canned apple slices (I’ve also used pumpkin puree, you could use whatever you want really or nothing at all)
  • 1 egg, beaten

I put the first three ingredients in a pan and bring it to a boil on medium, then on low to simmer for 10 minutes.  Then I whisk in the egg as slowly as possible off the heat so I don’t make scrambled eggs in my oats.  Back on medium low heat for 3-4 minutes and then they are good to go!  I usually add peanut butter and some kind of sweetener, today I did raspberry pancake syrup.  I really like the fluffier texture and the egg adds a little more protein and doesn’t taste like egg at all.  I have been having these almost every day this week!  They keep me full until lunchtime and they are tasty:)

20141130_101522

 

I know it looks like they are drowning in syrup but it isn’t really that much.

It’s the last day of the month so I need to update on my goals tomorrow!

 

On Meal Planning

I may have come over to the dark side😆

I could never wrap my head around meal planning before.  And maybe I still haven’t…  I have always just winged it at meal time.  Protein, veg, starch, all made easy, plain, and usually boring but effective!  A little while ago I saw a link on my Facebook feed for a meal planning website that was giving a 30 day free trial – it is called Plan to Eat.  Now I’m not sure this is the best meal planning website, but I figured I’d try it out for a month and if it helps, great.  If not, I’ll just quit doing it.  So far I am liking it, a lot!!  It does all of the thinking for me!  All I have to do is pick recipes.

You basically import recipes from websites, add them to your planner, and it generates a shopping list for you.  You can add stores so it will just send the items to the store lists you usually buy from – like I know I will buy cheese and eggs at Costco so it just sends those items to that store list.  Really, I like it the most just for that reason!!  I like to try new recipes, but scouring through them and trying to write out a list just annoys me, so I don’t do it.  This does it for me, and I can easily delete items that I know I have on hand already.  You are also supposed to be able to use the list on your smartphone, but so far I haven’t been able to log in on my phone.  I just printed the list out last week.  You can also plan for however long you want – a few days, a week, a month, whatever!  I am going week by week, and only planning dinners for now.

This week we’ve tried a bunch of new stuff, some really great and some that didn’t quite work out so well due to user error😉  But so far I am enjoying it.  I planned out another week last night and I tried to focus on using stuff we have on hand already.  Once I had it all done and unchecked items I didn’t need, I hardly had anything on the list that I need to buy!  I will have to add some staples and stuff for other meals, mostly produce, but I’m excited to see just how much we end up getting, and I hope it is less than the $150 we want to spend for the week.  I am going to do my best to only go shopping one day a week, unless we really need something that we run out of or forget to pick up at the store

Here’s what I’m planning for the upcoming week!

Chicken Alfredo

Beef tacos

Butternut squash and coconut soup

Baked sweet potatoes with caramlized onions – we will have some baked salmon with this

Crock pot beans with a ham shank

White bean and chicken chili

Baked farro risotto and green beans with hazelnuts and thyme

I am also going to make some Lunchbox Oatmeal Bars and these molasses cookies, just to use up some almond flour and carob molasses that I have.

 

Food Budget wrap up for the year

I won’t go into the details of what we bought, just want to catch up and finish out the yearly budget.  We did a lot of eating out.  We also bought a lot of stuff for Christmas dinner and to make goodies to give to my family and friends.  I guess it probably all evened out.

  •  Week 1 $84.46
  • Week 2 $157.60
  • Week 3 $163.30
  • Weeks 4 & 5 $25.58
  • Week 6  $166.90
  • Week 7 $146.80
  • Week 8 $202.40
  • Week 9 $208.57
  • Week 10 $280.10
  • Week 11 $195.90
  • Week 12 $150.20
  • Week 13 $188.59
  • Weeks 14-17 $140.25 per week, total of $420.75
  • Weeks 18-21 $127.50 per week, total of $510
  • Weeks 22-24 $90.28 per week, total of $270.84
  • Week 25 $168.40
  • Week 26 $175.60
  • Week 27 $89
  • Week 28 $89
  • Week 29 $272
  • Week 30 $216
  • Week 31 $43
  • Week 32 $80.30
  • Week 33 $172.26
  • Week 34 $269.50
  • Week 35 $101.30
  • Week 36 $366.80
  • Week 37 $150
  • Week 38 $110
  • Week 39 $200.80
  • Week 40 $268.32
  • Week 41 $94.54
  • Week 42 $141.70
  • Week 43 $9.28
  • Week 44 $147.66
  • Week 45 $132.2
  • Week 46 $261.1
  • Week 47 $28.40
  • Week 48 $205.60
  • Week 49 $119.10
  • Week 50 $162.30
  • Week 51 $103.40
  • Week 52 $155.20

So if I was spending $125 per week, that would be $6,500 for the year.

Our 52 week total ended up being $7504.75 (unless I added wrong!), which comes out to be $144.32 per week.  This is actually pretty great!!  That includes food for parties, and food that we put up, and all of my overbuying on sales😆

I don’t know that I’ll keep doing these.  It was fun to see where we are at and to be able to keep under the $150 weekly mark.  If I keep doing it, I’ll try to add more of how we are actually using the stuff up. I do want to try and keep less food overall in the house.  We have shelves downstairs that are overflowing with food.  All shelf stable stuff of course.  Just things that were on sale, and a lot of it makes sense but it doesn’t if we don’t use it regularly!  I’m going to try and be better about that this year.  Anyway.

That’s a wrap!