Friday, August 31, 2007

Being Active Naturally

Today I went swimming for the first time in years. Hating the way I look, I'm not the type of person to willingly don a bathing suit and be seen in public. But a friend who has no such image consciousness has been a good role model for me this week and so today I found myself in the pool, wearing the bathing suit that I got many weeks ago but had never worn.

I love water and felt great in the pool- it's outdoors, so in the 100+ degrees heat it was comfortably warm- a bit cooler than body temperature. I didn't swim too long, just enough to remember what it feels like, and to try swimming underwater, floating, and doing a lap or two. I'm out of shape so I got out of breath pretty quickly, and staying underwater was a challenge- I guess the more fat you carry, the easier it is to float rather than remain underwater. I used to swim along the bottom of the pool and hold my breath for a long time. The treat after swimming is laying in the warm air for an hour or so with a cooler of water and my iPod. Mmmmm - this is sounding better already!

I wanted so much to calculate how much swimming it takes to burn a certain number of calories, but my nutritionist rightly discouraged me from using exercise to burn off a meal, because it actually takes a long time to burn calories through exercise. When you think about it, we've been trained to see value in physical movement in terms of calories we burn. Seems like all the women's magazines have charts telling us how many calories we can burn from mowing the lawn, walking the dog, carrying groceries up the stairs, playing tennis, etc. I wish I hadn't learned to associate exercise with calorie-burning because now I do a kind of cost-benefit analysis when I embark on a physical activity.

When I weighed 170 lbs or so and was a size 8/10 I used to LOVE moving my body- sports, walking - even taking the bus- were all enjoyable because I was able to do them without the hindrance of being unfit or being "too big." Being active was not second nature, but FIRST nature. I would put on a nice summer dress on a sunny day and walk a mile or three to a shop I liked, or to a cafe that I might sit in for a couple of hours. I didn't think about how many calories I was burning because I was beyond that- I was living life. This is where I am headed again. I got sidetracked for a few years, but I'm back on track.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Nutritionist Day Again

I figured out a way to explain my way of eating to the nutritionist. I told her that at the end of the day, I want to have met my nutritional goals - particularly calories, fiber, saturated fat, carbs, protein, vitamins and water intake. The easiest way for me to meet most of these goals is to eat a largely raw, unprocessed diet. Because most of my food is raw, the less-healthy items don't destroy my day nutritionally. I told her that I don't want to deal with the Raw Police! She gets it, and can see that my daily intake is nutritionally sound- except on those days that I am low on calories or protein (still issues for me when I eat a high-raw diet).

One thing I really have to work on is making each meal nutritionally sound. I may meet my nutritional goals by the end of the day but I don't do it as healthfully as I could. If I get frazzled and don't set time aside to put a balanced meal together, I find myself eating anything that best fits my nutritional requirements thus far. Lacking protein and there are nuts available? I'll have two ounces of nuts, or a protein shake.My nutritionist hates that! She told me that each of my meals should be balanced rather than overly representative of any particular nutrient. I will have to work harder to create balanced meals and to spread those calories throughout the day.

Anyway, I managed to lose another 2 lbs, so now I'm down 22 since June 10th. My pants are definitely looser but not a soul has noticed that I look any slimmer. Oh well- it'll be that much more fun when someone does see a difference.

Monday, August 27, 2007

I Get Tired of Explaining

I saw a different nutritionist today because my regular one was out due to an emergency.  Had I known, I wouldn't have even gone, because it's such a pain trying to explain to people my strange food list. I'm on my way to raw so 1) not all my foods are raw 2) some of my nonraw foods are highly processed (but I haven't chosen them haphazardly) and 3) there are still foods I eat that really don't "belong" - these are the junk I eat when I give in to cravings or temptation.  I'm still dealing with food issues, so combine that with the first two things and people don't know what to make of my diet!   Sure enough, the new nutritionist asked me what I was doing, because although she'd heard I was eating raw, she couldn't tell that from my food lists.  I explained to her that I'd done 100% raw last year and that I am headed in that direction again, but easing into it this time so that I don't lose weight too quickly, and so I can avoid the low protein levels I experienced.  Yes, I eat the occasional weird item when I give in to temptation, but I don't want to punish myself over it. 

So she reads my food list to herself and makes a point of reading out loud only the brownie and pizza. GRRRR.  I don't go to a nutritionist to have my foods "checked"! I go primarily for education, and secondarily for weight tracking.  I politely exlained the stage I am at in this raw odyssey of mine, and told her that I am not striving for perfection, and that I will eat the occasional treat.  She recognized that I was not going to act sorry or feel chastised, and agreed with me that perfection is not a good goal.   She weighed me and said that despite those  two foods, I didn't gain. Well, the reason I didn't gain is because my other meals that day were raw (very low calorie and very low fat, too)! The pizza and brownie therefore didn't put me over the fat or calorie amounts that I aim for each day. 

I am learning that I have to teach the nutritionists how to help me as much as they need to teach me about nutrition.  They are used to playing cheerleader, lecturer and scolder, but I'm through with those approaches.  I'm even rethinking asking for support for my long history of "food issues."   I think all I really want is the nutritional education and weight tracking.  The cheerleading doesn't make me happy, and the "naughty girl" stuff just gets on my nerves. They still give me advice for cooked foods and try to get me to buy their vegetarian cookbook, but I just smile and say no, thank you- and they say, "oh, that's right! You eat raw." But I do have to say that overall, I like the service I am getting from the nutritionists and feel it is worth the price. Having knowledgeable people to keep tabs on my nutritional intake and give me feedback is all I'm really looking for. What I'm doing is new to them, but because of their vegetarian backgrounds they are supportive of a raw diet. And I've lost 20 lbs!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Back to Trader Joe's

Today I took my protein-enhanced grocery list to Trader Joe's to see what they carry. The only spirulina I found came in pill form. When I saw that the bottle gives the protein content for a 9-pill serving I said FORGET IT! I'm just not into pills. Vitamins are hard enough for me to remember, and I like vitamins right now! I thought I'd find some other form of spirulina there but I didn't.

I picked up some Greek style yogurt, whey powder, raw almonds, snow peas, berries, several packaged salads (yes, I'm lazy), spinach and mangoes. My processed/non-raw protein sources for the week will be yogurt, Eggbeaters, cottage cheese, tofu, garbanzo beans and whey powder. The rest of the protein will come from hemp, nuts, greens and the protein in the veggies I use in my salads.

Oh-I did decide to try a couple of protein drinks from the refrigerated section. I'll save those for when I find my protein to be lower than I'd like at the end of the day. I considered protein bars but they really are too processed for my taste right now. The other thing about the protein bars is that they look too much like candy, are sweet, and will probably trigger cravings for stuff I want to stay far away from. I don't think it's good for me to keep any on hand. They sure are convenient, though!

When I shop, I look closely at labels to see how much nutritional bang I'm getting for the buck. I don't worry about fat content too much if the fat is not saturated, but if a food is high-calorie, I prefer that it has a good amount of protein rather than a lot of fat. I will tend to avoid foods high in carbs if they aren't also high in fiber (veggies I'll eat regardless, though). I generally choose foods that are lower in sodium and sugar. As far as processed foods, my most basic "rule" is that the closer the food looks to its natural state, the more likely it is to make it into my diet. Again, exceptions are those foods that give me the boost of protein I'm looking for.

To Go 100% Raw or Not?

I am trying to construct a raw vegan diet of practical foods that will give me upwards of 80 gms of protein per day without requiring me to eat uncomfortable volumes of food. By practical I mean affordable, tasty, and easy to incorporate into a meal/smoothie or to eat as a snack. Today I went through some raw vegan websites to get a list of foods that are a complete protein (or close to it). The best I've found so far are:

Spirulina, raw
hemp seeds
flax seeds
yeast extract spread
pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
whey powder
raw spinach

The other issue I'll have to contend with is the volume of food I'll have to consume to get 1400 calories a day. One of the reasons I eat Eggbeaters and tofu is because those foods are higher protein, are filling, and give me needed calories without having to eat a huge amount. Foods like those in the list aren't quite as satisfying because although they will provide calories, I don't see them filling me up like a meal would. And I'd have to eat LOTS of spinach to get a significant amount of protein from it. This makes me think I'll be relying on protein shakes more, but that's no good because even if they are the only non-raw thing I consume, I'll probably have to consume them twice a day to get about 40 grams of protein. I could add raw cheeses from Whole Foods; they didn't seem to hurt me last year.

My goal is not to be raw for political or spiritual reasons, but simply for health, so I don't feel like a failure if I consume protein shakes. Getting protein is more important to me than anything else on this raw diet, because the other nutrients- except fibers- are simple to acquire. The reason I want all raw is because I don't have food cravings when I eat that way. I'm not sure which non-raw foods I'm eating now are triggering the cravings, so I may eliminate them all except oatmeal and see how that works out. I will probably take B12 pills, as vegan sites warn about the low-B2 levels of vegetarians and vegans.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

I Made it through the Workshop...

...with minimal dietary damage. Yesterday I blogged about the problems I experience with trying to maintain my raw diet when faced with marathon workshops, seminars, and catered events. This morning I ate a handful of almonds and half a banana before the event, drank water before lunch, and when the catered food arrived, chose the bean salad (edamame, kidney, and garbanzos), and half a turkey sandwich with lettuce and tomato on whole wheat (no cheese or condiments). The "worst" thing I did, though, was eat a delicious looking brownie! Ha ha! There was a woman who said she was a vegetarian. What did she eat? The fattening macaroni & mayo salad, the fattening potato salad AND the brownie! I guess I chose to err on the side of low fat (except for the brownie). Looking back, I could have taken the turkey out of the sandwich, but... naaaahh!!! I'm all right with what I ended up eating. However, I do appreciate the suggestions I've gotten for future events. Thank you Lauren for telling me about the LaraBars in particular- I might buy some for "emergencies." If anyone else has ideas, please send them in!

At today's weigh-in I found I am down two more pounds. Now I'm 20 lbs down since June 10th. That's another reason I didn't freak over the brownie. A treat once in a while is all right when I'm doing well (as long I don't get triggered into binging, that is). My BP was 120/82, down from 120/90 on Monday. I know that I am less stressed since Monday (a major stressor was resolved on Tuesday), and I have deliberately drunk more water since then, so these probably helped. I am increasingly leaning towards not eating fish anymore and getting my protein from raw fruits and vegetables, cooked legumes and grains, whey powder, and some dairy products: fat free or low fat yogurt, cottage cheese, and eggbeaters. (If I keep saying that enough, it'll happen!)

Well, that's it for today!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Desperately in Need of Raw Snack Ideas

The busier I get at my job and with my classes, the more often I will have to deal with eating outside of the house. It's such a challenge! My desire to stick to raw foods is so strong that at times I will risk severe stomach pain, headaches and lightheadedness because I stubbornly refuse to eat the non-raw foods available- I just drink water and go hungry. I have to figure out how to deal with this. Sometimes I am lucky and there is salad or a fruit tray available at the venue, but often there are just fattening entrees and foods I don't eat anymore. Catered events often have vegetarian options, but many of them are swimming in cheese or oils. If I liked carrots and celery I would carry those, but I can't stand them and they don't fill me up. Apples give me a stomach ache, and other fruits are too soft or too messy. Perhaps I should carry flax seed crackers and eat those during the lunch breaks we get during these marathon workshops, seminars and staff meetings. If anyone has better ideas, though, I would appreciate your sending them.

Monday, August 20, 2007

What a Day....

I've come to That Point in my raw diet. There appear to be several benchmarks (for want of a better word) that I reach in the early stages of my raw odyssey. One is a point where I've eaten the same thing over and over and start to get bored. There's also a point where I have little time or energy to put ingredients together and find myself eating some nasty combination of veggies in a makeshift salad. Today I was running late and threw together the most tasteless group of veggies you can think of (I won't recount them for you or you may feel as sick as I did). As I sat during a lunchtime seminar at my job, eating my nasty salad, I actually realized I was contemplating a trip to the bathroom to purge the contents of my stomach. It was that bad. Sigh...

So now I have a new quest: to go through my blog history and refresh my memory of the stuff I used to eat, then find a way to prepare salads and other meals using the tastier and easiest-to-prepare ingredients. I know that when I am bored and unsatisfied, I am more likely to stray from my raw diet in the early stages of transforming my eating. I think being in this alone adds to the difficulty. When I had a partner we both shared in the food ideas and meal preparations, shared the shopping duties, and reminded each other of why we are doing this. We also told each other how great we were looking, how loose our clothes were getting, how good we were being to our bodies, etc. I'm not good at telling myself this stuff, so going it alone is more difficult in ways I hadn't previously considered. Having a nutritionist is a big help. Now, if she would just move in and cut up my veggies for me!

Speaking of the nutritionist, I have lost more weight. I'm now down about 18 lbs since June 10th. At 20 lbs lost she'll take my measurements again. I have noticed my pants are a tad looser, but that thrill of knowing I am truly on my way hasn't hit me yet. I used to get overjoyed at losing weight. I'd have the next lower sized pants hanging in the closet and I would make bets on how long it would be before I'd fit into them. I don't have that joy anymore, perhaps because I've been there, done that. Or maybe I'm more focused on health then size - I do get joyful over improvements in my cholesterol and BP levels, after all! I would like to have that joy in other areas again, though. I remember how much I loved my achievements in the gym a few years ago, and how much fun it was to give away a new pile of "fat" clothes.

The stress of being a grad student probably interferes with that joy a little, too. Between the dissertation research, comprehensive exam studies, and growing work responsibilities, I am stressed out quite often- in fact, I am pretty good at being stressed! So good that my blood pressure was 120/90. The nutritionist said that stress (and not drinking enough water) are two things that can raise the lower number. Both of those are issues for me, so I am going to try meditation, and will try to do better with the water.

Don't know if it's my aging eyes, but the old white-on-black text was starting to get to me. Was it bugging you? As you can see, I am making changes to this blog's layout. These may continue over the next few days (or weeks, depending on how much doodoo I get into after the initial switch). I want to be up-to-date with Blogger's technologies, and this blog has been a little behind. What I'd most like to do is make comments visible at the bottom of each post, and make the colors a little easier on the eyes. What will actually happen may surprise us all!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Food as Medicine

I've had a few more self-discoveries these past couple of weeks regarding my raw diet and my lifestyle which have led me to make some adjustments.

1) I have seen that it is important for me to get as much protein during the early part of the day as possible so that I am not playing catch-up at the end of the day.

2) I need to greatly increase the amount of fiber I get each day. I thought all the fruit I was eating was doing the trick, but just because something is full of carbs doesn't mean it is high in fiber (yes, figs, I'm talking about you!).

3) I don't always reach my minimum of 60 grams of fiber by the end of the day. Whey protein is a great way for me to get to the 80 to 100 grams I really want, without the extra carbs. Smoothies are a convenient, tasty way to get the whey in.

4) I cannot wait until I can afford a VitaMix- I need a blender now! But no blender seems to stand up to the abuse I give it.

In light of the above issues, I've made some changes. First, I went out and bought an immersion blender- one of those handheld blenders that you stick into a container holding your ingredients. Set your speed and get to mixing! I'm hoping this thing will at least get my smoothie-making off the ground until I can afford the VitaMix.

Next, in an attempt to increase my fiber intake I will make an effort to reach 35 gms of fiber daily - my nutritionist's recommendation. If I can get at least a third of that in my breakfast, that will help a lot. I found that figs have a lot of fiber and so I bought some at Trader Joe's. Figs have a sweet taste and, to me, a flowery aroma. I wouldn't want to just pop them into my mouth because I don't particularly like their soft texture, but they are perfect for smoothies.

This morning I felt like some nutritional alchemist, putting together whole foods in order to create the medicine I needed this morning. My quest was to create a less-sweet, fruit smoothie high in fiber and protein, but not exceedingly high in carbs. I consulted -it's still my all-time favorite place for nutritional education. Based on the foods in the house I made a smoothie that I thought would fit the bill, but thanks to the three figs it was so high in carbs it was ridiculous. Guess I forgot to check that part in NutritionData! Despite the amount of sugars in the fruits, it wasn't overly sweet-tasting, and had 10 grams of fiber.

My recipe was: 1/2 small papaya, 1/2 medium banana, 4 large strawberries (another good source of fiber), 4 oz. of carrot juice, 1 scoop of whey protein (23 gms of protein), and 3 figs. NutritionData judged my smoothie as good for optimum health, and better for weight loss than for weight gain (thank goodness). I would make this again, but I would try to lower the amount of sugars in it and find another way to raise the fiber content. I could, for example, add grind one ounce of flax seeds and eliminate the banana and figs. This would give me even more fiber than the original recipe, and also more protein. It would raise the fat content (and calories) but since only 2 grams would be saturated fat, it wouldn't be a big deal.

I like the way my raw diet is helping me to see raw and whole foods as both fuel and medicine. I experienced this transformation in my thinking last year during my first go-around with the raw life. I even find myself judging McDonald's or Krispy Kremes more on their nutritional offerings than on how many minutes of pleasure I'll get from them (though that doesn't mean I won't fall prey to temptation). The more deeply I delve into a mindset of raw eating, the less junk and unhealthy foods I'll be eating over time.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Off to the Gym I Go

I was inspired to return to the gym when I saw at the end of the day that I'd eaten too few calories, not nearly enough protein, too many carbs, and hardly any fats. I thought, what do I have in the house that I can eat to make up this deficit? I ate a salmon patty with feta cheese and broccoli, and even added olive oil but was still low in the same areas. I thought about making an eggbeater's omelette but it was getting late and I didn't want to go to bed after eating. At first I thought I should work out and then eat- like somehow that would make up for eating so late! Then I though, why not? I've been looking for some motivation to get back to the gym, so I went to the gym and bought a protein shake, which I drank before the workout. Maybe I should have drank it afterwards, but I don't know these things and am not sure I really care. In the end, I got my protein and calories in, plus a 45-minute workout at a 19 minutes per mile pace, with some variation of the incline from 0% to 5%. I noticed that despite my weeks off, I haven't lost a step in my workout abilities, and I now recover more quickly during the cooldown, achieving a slower heart rate more quickly than I used to. I'll sleep well tonight!

Calories 1,397
Carbs 154
Fat 21
Protein 101

Monday, August 13, 2007

Blogger Changes that Simplify Raw Odyssey Searches

I noticed that now we can tag our blog entries! This is great, because now if I write about the tired topic of "hair loss," talk about how I have/don't have cravings, or how I am "starting over" again, I can tag my post with those words or phrases. You can then click on a tag that appears at the bottom of a post and see how many times I have "fallen off the wagon" or what post it was that I first noticed my hair falling out. Or maybe those things are more important to me than to any of you- haha! But still, it is interesting to see where I am today compared to a year and a half ago. If I tag all of the posts that have my blood pressure, for example, I can go back through history and see how my diet has affected my BP simply by clicking "blood pressure."

So I am currently going through 300 posts and adding tags. For those of you who subscribe to this blog via a newsfeed, I apologize if you suddenly appear to have a hundred new posts (I'm just guessing this could happen). I won't get this all done in one week I don't think, but I put a dent in it today. I'm already fascinated by how many times I have the same insights. Will I ever learn? :-)

And the Beat Goes On...

I saw the nutritionist today and found I am down another couple of pounds. That is 16 lbs since July 10th. I asked her if she thought I might be losing too quickly- visions of hair loss still dance in my head, you know. She said that as long as what I lose is adipose tissue (fat) and not lean tissue (muscle), I can safely lose up to 3 lbs a week. I asked her specifically about my hair and she said that I should make sure to get no fewer than 60 grams of protein daily, and should consider a range of 60 to 80 grams per day. Naturally I will be going for the 80!

Next, she took my blood pressure: 110/72- even better than last week. So now I'm no longer worried about the blood pressure. What a relief! I'll have her measure it for a couple more weeks just to be sure, but I do feel that it is back to what is normal for me. Now I just need to get myself back to the gym. I think I deserve a celebratory pair of new sneakers!

Since I have been eating fewer processed foods, I've noticed other changes besides the weight loss and lower blood pressure. Every week I notice I am less and less sleepy during the day. I used to nod off at work, even during meetings. I would drink coffee in a fruitless attempt to stay awake. Now I don't even think about drinking coffee unless I feel cold (and at those times I now tell myself, maybe I should start bringing tea). I believe my alertness is partly because I am sleeping much better at night, even when I don't get into bed until midnight. I do try to get to bed by 10 pm (as suggested by my nutritionist) but I tend to read or watch TV until I'm really sleepy and don't fall asleep until closer to midnight, so the earlier bedtime doesn't fully explain the extreme change in my alertness. (Another factor could be that my allergy medicine is helping me sleep better so I'm not congested at night.)

I also have more energy. If it's over 100 degrees I usually don't like walking across a parking lot, but these days it doesn't bother me so much - I guess I don't feel anymore like I'm going to wilt. My mood has also lifted. Although I still have my worries, I recover from them more quickly, and I generally enjoy life more. In fact, eating at the raw restaurant by myself last weekend was a whim that simply came to me- I usually consider eating alone in a restaurant to be depressing, so it's been years since I've done it unless I was there to use the wifi to study. That's another sign that the "old me" is coming back.

If you know of Victoria Boutenko, who writes about her family's experiences with changing to a raw diet, you'll recall that she says the health benefits they experienced were immediate. That always sounded fantastical to me, but I'm experiencing the same immediate changes. It is truly remarkable what eating raw can do!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Good Health News!

The past week has gone pretty well. I've been seeing the nutritionist and recording my foods. I did have a Krispy Kreme doughnut for the first time - right from the factory. WOW- but they've got lots of saturated fat and sugar, and are obviously not something I'll be eating much of in the future. I am not ordering myself to stay away completely from all foods, but I think that over time I will naturally refuse these types of things. I won't feel a craving or desire for these foods and won't feel that I am depriving myself. Currently there are days when I have to force myself to stay away from the unhealthy stuff, but these days occur less often with time.

Thank you, Chubbiegirl, for the juice and fizzy water idea. That is great! I used to drink juice and diet Vernor's or diet 7-Up, but I can drink it with Pellegrino or Perrier or some other sparkling water. Why didn't I think of that? This will help me when I have a taste for diet pop or Pepsi.

During my last visit to the nutritionist she measured my blood pressure at 110/80. What a difference from the 154/89 I had a short time ago during that scary health episode. I've also lost 14 lbs since July 10th. Even better, she went over my bloodwork results and said that the only thing that can explain my good HDL and triglyceride are my genetics. Lord knows I certainly haven't been eating healthfully or exercising regularly enough to have good HDL or triglycerides. I've always felt that I am very lucky to not have diabetes or diet-related heart problems. My cholesterol is high, but she says that she has seen cholesterol go from the high 200's to the high 100's in just a few short weeks from a change in diet. She wants me to get my bloodwork done again 6 weeks after the previous one was done to see how my diet has improved my cholesterol.

This morning I had the sudden idea to have lunch at the local raw food restaurant. I had about 1/3 of a cantaloupe for breakfast and then around noon went there for my lunch. I had the enchiladas. Boy, were they good! Amazingly, I was not hungry the rest of the day. No cravings, no hunger pangs, no thinking about when I was going to get my next meal. I went out to the outlet mall with a friend who ate a large pretzel, an ice cream cone, and also got candy samples, but I really had no desire for those things myself. We almost had dinner at a sushi place but the price drove us away. I would have eaten some sushi if she were hungry but if I'd been at the mall alone I wouldn't have even gone in. Today reminded me of how it felt to be raw last year, going hours without thinking about food and eating healthfully with little of the effort it is taking me right now. I can't wait for those days again!

When I finally did get hungry tonight, I had an eggbeaters omelette with vegetables. I have no idea how many calories, fat grams, proteins or carbs I had at the restaurant, but I have pledged to get enough protein, so the eggs filled that bill. At the restaurant I bought flaxseed crackers. One ounce has 8 grams of protein- not bad!

So today was a good day - I had no cravings for junk foods, drank enough water (my back started hurting, which served as a reminder!) got a taste of how great an all-raw day is, and got a lot of exercise and vitamin D walking around the mall for a few hours in the sunshine.

Note to Christine: I am at if you happen to have a myspace page and want to contact me there. If not, feel free to send me your email address (I won't publish it) if you want to talk. I'm glad to know you are out there!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

New Way of Thinking, New Way of Shopping

As I get back into the mindset of using food as fuel and sustenance and not simply enjoyment, I find that my grocery shopping habits are changing. Rather than creating a shopping list of canned goods, produce, meats, etc, creating one with categories titled proteins, fats, and carbs works better sometimes. I think of my meals in this way as well; today, for example, I looked at what I lacked in nutrients and what I had too much of by the end of the day and ate a dinner that filled in the categories appropriately. Choosing foods based on nutritional needs rather than "what I have a taste for" is happening gradually, but naturally. I don't try for an exact balance daily, however. I think a balanced week is more sane for me.

Now that I drink water regularly, I can really tell when I'm becoming dehydrated. My head starts to hurt a little and other little symptoms crop up that I probably used to diagnose as signs of hunger or tiredness. I now keep water with a slice of lemon at my desk all day at work, and refill it throughout the day. I buy bottled water so I can easily grab some H20 when I'm going to be out of the house for awhile in the evening or on weekends. I can't say I get 8 glasses a day yet, but I'm getting there! I haven't had pop in a while, although at times I want some just to get a break from plain water. Perrier and Pellegrino with lemon or lime helps a bit.

Currently I notice that I want my old foods mainly when I'm bored. If I keep a variety of flavors in the house and keep myself occupied, though, my mind doesn't wander to eating. When I was thoroughly into eating raw last year I wouldn't think of food much at all for hours at a time. I'm certainly not at that stage yet this time around, but I'm looking forward to it.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Two Inches Per Pound

I saw my nutritionist again today. The weight is falling off me right now. I've lost 11 lbs since I started seeing her last month. My BP is down from 140/92 to 110 over 91. She said that the bottom number often takes longer to go down than does the top number (although the bottom number will rise rapidly). So although the top number is good, the bottom number needs some work! I will continue to watch the sodium, drink water throughout the day, and eat fruit. These things are all helpful in balancing mineral levels and helping the heart to work less hard.

Other things I will continue to focus on to improve my BP is getting enough sleep and getting back to the gym. I'm terrible at both! I've gotten out of the gym habit, but was doing 45 minutes 5 days a week before seeing the nutritionist. Now I'll aim for 30 minutes of cardio, 5 days a week as my goal for the year. This is probably more reasonable. I also need to work on lowering my anxiety level. I tend to stress over things, like my dissertation research and studying for my comprehensive exams, as well as the normal stuff we all worry about such as relationships and work issues. But I can take those anxieties to an extreme. I'm going to try meditating.

As part of each twice-a-week visit with the nutritionist I am weighed and have my BP checked. I am also measured from time to time. She says that every pound of fat lost is approximately 2 inches in size decrease throughout the body. In measuring me we came up with over 24 inches in size difference between today and when I started with her! The greatest loss was in my upper chest. She says that if you lose much more than the 2 inches per pound, the extra is likely water loss. If you lose much less than 2 inches per pound, you are often losing muscle, and that is a warning sign (this is with no weight-lifting or exercise).

These numbers are all averages of course and cannot be taken literally. Still, they are nice to keep in mind. I usually don't measure myself, but actually seeing the difference in size -on paper, at least - made me feel good today. I'll feel even better when my clothes start falling off of me!

My mostly-raw diet is going all right. I still have problems deciding what to eat, because I want quick and easy meals and simply have to get used to the fact that eating raw takes more time and makes a bigger mess. These aren't to be viewed as negatives but simply facts that I need to work into my routine. I also tend to eat the same foods all the time, so I am constantly refreshing my memory as to additional foods to eat. When I get frustrated about food choices, I also get overwhelmed and end up under-eating. Yesterday was one of those days; I ended up drinking a Naked Fruit Protein Smoothie (500 calories) to make up for skipping dinnertime because I couldn't decide what to eat. My nutritionist suggested a lower-calorie smoothie from Trader Joe's, which I will try. I tend to hate smoothies that come in a can, (Naked Juice is in a plastic bottle in the refrigerator section) but it will be my emergency beverage for those days when I've run out of food, haven't set aside enough time to prepare a meal, or can't make up my mind.

My main goals for 2007 are to have 50 lbs off before the holidays, to get my BP back to 120/80 maximum, and to get active again. I don't think I'll actually lose 50 lbs before November, but it's something to aim for.



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