It’s a Carb, Carb, Carb, Carb World!

I have been on the calorie “watching” train again (WOO WOO!) and doing really, really well.  2 pounds down, I feel lighter, find my exercises much easier, clothes fitting better.  Amazing what 2 little pounds off your gut will do for ya when you are only a measly 5 feet tall!  In the grand scheme of the world, do those 2 pounds matter for anything?  Absolutely not!  It came off because I started watching my calories again, being a little bit more aware of what I put in my mouth, making better choices and not going overboard, which for my size, is SO incredibly easy to do and I am sure, something I will do again.

But, one interesting thing I noticed from my calories yesterday, I am still eating way too many carbs.  Why are carbs so bad?  In and of themselves, they aren’t – they give you the energy you need to move your body and work out but too many of them, more than your body needs and those bad little guys just turn into fat.   Protein is what turns fat into muscle as you work out and without those building blocks, no matter how much you work out, you won’t see the results you want.  More muscle means you burn more calories doing the same amount of exercise than with less muscle.  So for all of you cardio fiends out there, you MUST throw in some weight or Crossfit exercises, if you are looking to lower your body fat, unless you plan to become some kind of marathon runner and have your knees give out by the time you are 30 (or 40 or whatever the case may be – can you tell I HATE running??).

The ideal calorie breakdown is 40% carbs, 30% fat and 30% protein.  Good fats, people – not fried chicken and french fries but olive oil, nuts, avocados, even peanut butter, in moderation.  My boot camp training to shoot for 40%, 20%, 40%, which I think is pretty much impossible.  I have been working my ass off, just trying to get close to the 30% protein for a long time now and falling woefully short.  Yesterday was a prime example:

Carb 1

Carb 2

I apologize for how tiny the picture is so you will have to click on it to see the details.  Then, just use the back button on your browser to get back to this entry.  As you can see, my calorie breakdown yesterday was a whopping 51% carbs, 29% fat and only 20% protein.  Obviously I stayed away from the high fat foods but where did all those carbs come from?

First up, breakfast cereal.  I eat non-GMO, high fiber Kashi cereal 3 days a week, which has extra vitamins and protein added, as most cereals do but the carbs – 18 carbs in a measly little 1/2 a cup serving.  Ouch.  Hence why I changed to eating egg whites 2 out of the 5 work days a week.

Next, my daily fiber/protein bar for a mid morning snack – only 5 grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein but 16g of carbs in only 130 calories.  WAY too much!

And it goes on and on – Evol Street Tacos for lunch – only 220 calories but 36g of carbs compared to only 7 of protein.  My entire dinner was only 450 calories but contained 47g of carbs from 1 piece of bread and a container of yogurt (though the yogurt did have 15 grams of protein).

Long story short, I need to find more high protein, lower carb snacks and meals to balance out my calories a little better.  Every wonder where those little rolls come from around your waist, legs, arms or back?  Carbs.  I am definitely NOT advocating no carbs – sorry, South Beach and Atkins diet fans.  I think any diet that restrictive is not good for you in the long run and impossible to keep up.  Again, just closer to the 40/30/30 breakdown I mentioned above.  It is just SO hard though because carbs are hidden in even the healthiest of sounding food.  If you are going to eat carbs, they really should be more whole foods like fruits rather than cereal and protein bars.  I know this and have known this for a long time, just very tough to put into theory, for some reason.

So, there is my struggle, dear readers – as I am sure it is for you too.  As I start to find more higher protein/lower carbs easy snacks and meals I love, I will try and share with you, if case you would like to try and make some changes too.  I have already changed so much in my lifestyle, my eating habits, sometimes it feels like you are giving up too much and just not living, you know?  I think this last step has been the toughest for that very reason but one that will be well worth it, in the long run.  Let’s see how it goes!

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How Do These Step Challenges Work?

In my 1 year Fitbit anniversary entry, I mentioned something about Step Challenges and how motivating they can be to get you off your behind and move just a little bit more.  Well, believe it or not, I am involved (or soon to be) in THREE Fitbit Step Challenges right now:

Step 1

Fitbit offers 4 different step challenges to choose from – Goal Day, Weekend Warrior, Daily Showdown or Workweek Hustle.  So far, the most common ones I have been in are the Weekend and Workweek ones and as you can imagine, the goal is to get as many steps as possible, in that time frame and beat out of your other participating Fitbit friends.

I have never started a challenge myself but always been invited by one of my Fitbit friends.  Once you join, you can also invite some of your friends, even if they aren’t mutual between you and the person who started the challenge.  Like the current Weekend Warrior I’m in – I was invited then asked another of my Fitbit friends to join and now look how many people we have!

Step 2

Is the point to always win?  Nope.  I have only won ONE challenge out of the dozen or so I have participated in.  Some of these people can be ANIMALS but don’t let that discourage you – instead, let it be encourage to think, well, if they can get over 20,000 steps in a day, I certainly can push myself to 15,000?  What I can do to get more?  Go for a walk around the block, go on a bike ride, mow the lawn instead of letting hubby do it?  All things that get you moving more than maybe you would have before.

During the Challenge, Fitbit reports on your friends accomplishments and you can cheer them, as well as write a comment, talking a little smack or offering suggestions or encouragement along the way.

The downfall to Step Challenges – you cannot manually enter your steps so if you have a tendency to work out on any type of equipment like an elliptical, treadmill or even ride a bike, you have to be kind of tricky to get your steps to count on your Fitbit.  For me, I attach it to my shoe for the treadmill and that seems to do the trick.  For bike rides?  For some reason, and I don’t fully understand why, if I attach my Fitbit band to an old little cell phone purse I have and let it dangle from the handlebars of my bike as I ride, it counts it as steps and comes pretty darn close to the correct calorie burn for cycling!

So – do you have a Fitbit or were you thinking about getting one?  Well, here is a whole new way to make fitness fun and help motivate your friends at the same time!  Thanks so much to Ami, Jen, Nicole and all of my Step Challenge crew for always pushing me to do more.

I Got My First Stitch Fix Credit!

I am so excited – I have been telling everyone who will listen about Stitch Fix, to give them a try and finally got one friend to sign up for a shipment.  It went out earlier this week so I asked her to let me know what she thinks. . .and no response yet.  We don’t talk regularly so I’m not really thinking much of it but still curious how her first Fix went for her, after my experience.  Since I now have a $25 credit, I moved my next Fix up from July 18th to July 11th, so thank you so much, Kay!

Speaking of my experience, I am trying to improve my next Fix even more with this note to my stylist for my next shipment:

“Tops seem like the hardest thing to find for me so far but would really love some slimmer tops with necklaces to wear for nights out with friends. Also, love some casual summer shirts or tanks to wear with jeans or shorts. Finally, if possible, would love another colorful summer dress, especially a maxi, if a petite one is available. Thanks for checking my Pinterest page, I keep it updated!”

I have been pinning tops like a FOOL on my Pinterest page:

Here are a few of my favorite ones:

Next SF top 4

I saw this green shirt a few weeks ago and pinned because I already have a pair of red pants and nude heels that I think would look great for work.

Next SF top 3

This one is super casual but love the color and the detailed embroidery around the neck.  No necklace needed!

Next SF top 1

Just found these next 2 while I was browsing tonight Stitch Fix’s Petite Pinterest board – this one would show off my shamrock shoulder tattoo and I love the colorful pattern.  Think it would pair nice with some white jeans or pants.

Next SF top 2

And I can see a pale pink statement necklace and earrings with this pretty floral top.

Now, if I can only get them to send me more shirts like these instead of the giant, long sacks they have sent me in my last 2 Fixes.  Fingers crossed!

If you would like to give Stitch Fix a try for yourself, please use my referral link below to help me get (another!) $25 credit.  What is Stitch Fix?  You can learn more about the service here:

https://support.stitchfix.com/hc/en-us/articles/204222994-FAQ

Referral link:

https://www.stitchfix.com/referral/5229780

Thanks for reading!

Fitbit – One Year Later

Fitbit 1

I have anxiously been awaiting my one year anniversary using my Fitbit, which just happens to be today, to take stock of all I have accomplished over this past year.  Did it really make a difference in my life?  Did it help me lose weight?  Have I been more active, fit, healthy tracking every single movement that I made over a year?

Well, in 365 days, I have walked, ran, danced, Crossfit and biked 3,562,619 steps, which equals about 1,400 miles!!!  Interestingly, enough, my weight really hasn’t changed all that much – 109.7 at the beginning to 109.0 this morning.

Fitbit 3

Fitbit 4

Regardless of my size, I DO know I have worked out more this year than I ever had before – stepping up my workouts from 4 times a week to averaging closer to 5 to 6 days a week.  If I am home and have at least 30 minutes to spare, I do something.  No excuses anymore – I needed to get those steps!  I added a 30 minute walk during the lunch hour every Thursday, a 30 minute high incline walk on the treadmill at lunch every Friday and rather than sitting in front of the TV, I have a tendency now to grab some free weights and work on my arms and chest.

Fitbit has given me a sense of accomplishment, of being able to see my hard work show up in numbers on a screen every day.  For a Type A, numbers geek like me, I adore all of that information, right at my fingertips.  I have enjoyed the Step Challenges with my Fitbit friends and hit one of my highest step weekends, just this past weekend (28,943 in just 2 days, thank you very much!) and while I have only won one, it was AMAZING to see just how hard these people work, how much they move and come in so much higher than I do!!  I can go for another short walk, right?

Is the Fitbit perfect?  Absolutely not.  The Flex, which I currently have doesn’t track your heart rate and that is really the true measure of how hard you are working, how many calories you are burning.  So, at some point, I may upgrade to one of the new models that include a heart rate monitor.  Tracking your food is always such a drag – especially for a foodie like me who can go to an event and try a bite of 10 different strange and unusual things – “How do I enter a quail egg truffle crustini in this thing??”   I find myself getting burnt out on tracking every single thing I eat and take breaks from it for weeks or months at a time.  I am currently on the calorie counting bandwagon, hoping to get back down to my goal weight, with a few little tweaks.  I am more conscious of the carbs/fat/protein breakdown of the food I eat and have worked hard the past 6 months to increase the protein and decrease the carbs.  I subtracted 2 bowls of cereal a week for egg white scrambles, more lean meat and fish and less rice and pasta, even trying to add protein shakes once or twice a week, though they are still not my favs.

I have had a few little setbacks with a very minor knee injury in boot camp class and a massive blister on the heel of one foot (damn you, discount shoes at Zappos outlet) and missed a few weeks of hard workouts but overall, I have kept at it every single week of this year, in some form or fashion.  Interestingly enough, I haven’t been sick for more than a day or two, no colds, flus, sinus infections, etc to sideline my workouts.  Is it because I try and live so healthy or just luck of the draw?  I may never know but I do know, I am going to keep using my Fitbit and looking for new ways to challenge myself in the next year.  I will be turning 42 this year and as I look through pictures of old high school friends on Facebook, I am AMAZED but how fantastic most of us look.  Truly.  Is 42 really the new 32?  I have no idea but I plan on doing everything I can to take care of myself, live a long, healthy life and keep sharing my tips, struggles and motivations with all of you in the hopes my journey may help you, in some small way.

If I can do it, YOU can do it!!

Fitbit 2

“I Ate Too Much.”

We all say it.  How many times have you sat down at a table, especially one filled with your favorite foods, only to push yourself away afterwards and say these very words?  Well, I found myself in that very same situation last night at our monthly foodie dinner and it got me thinking about the extra weight I have been “enjoying” for the past 4 months.  When you watch your food so carefully for SO long, trying to make healthy choices, eating reasonable portion sizes, it is so easy to say – I have been good, I deserve to splurge a little.  But, unfortunately for many, myself included – a little soon because often which becomes way too much.

Below is a little sampling of the dishes I enjoyed last night and at the time, it certainly didn’t seem like that much food, especially when I started out the meal so hungry but at the end, as I looked around at my dining companions and did some quick calculations in my head, I quickly realized I went way overboard:

Tuna

Beer cheese

Pastrami

And this doesn’t even include the fried pickles shared by someone else, a cocktail and a glass of wine.  OUCH.

So, while I said the focus of my blog was going now going to focus more on fashion, I think I need to rein it back in and go back to where I started – Struggles of a Healthy Foodie because the struggle continues.

I have a new focus today – be much more aware of the quantity I am eating and the types of food I choose.  No more fried foods, no more heavy carb dishes and more lighter salad, fishes and chicken dishes for me.  No more chips, crackers and carby snacks, more fruits, veggies and nuts.  I know what to do after all these years but it is so easy to get off course.  My aunt and I tend to do this at the same time too and therefore, have the same complaints and frustrations at the same time when it comes to our weight and our bodies.  It helps to have someone close to you with the same struggles and who cares as much as you do to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  So, hopefully, together, we can get back on track and encourage each other to stick with it.

I am more physically active than ever so I know any issues I have are all food related.  I have noticed a lot of my Facebook friends are working hard on their fitness and health goals right now too and I need to take some cues, tips and motivation from them as well.  I need to get back to cooking more of our meals and one Facebook friend has been posting some amazing recipes on her weight loss journey. Rest assured, Sara, I will be giving some of these a try so keep sharing!  I love our online community so we can learn from each other and celebrate our successes together.  In the coming months, I will share my struggles with you in the hopes it will help encourage you too!

Make it FUN, Not Stressful!

Well, Stitch Fix #2 is done and over with – I will be sending back the 3 tops and keeping the dress and jeans, as I decided in my first post.  I am a pretty decisive person – not prone to being wishy washy, questioning myself or uncertainly.  I know what I like, I know what I do and don’t want to do, I know what looks good on me and what doesn’t but for some reason yesterday, I felt compelled to rethink my choices for my Fix.  Why?  Well, as I lay awake thinking about it last night (yeah, I took it THAT far), I realized that #1 – it is fun to get others opinions and even MORE fun when they are flattering ones, so thank you for that, dear readers.  And #2, Stitch Fix has this service set up so you are always at an advantage to buy everything in your shipment.  25% off ALL OF IT.  That takes a big chunk out of the cost but I bet quite a few people end up talking themselves into 1 or 2 things they are lukewarm about, just to get that discount and for me – that defeats the whole purpose of why I am doing this!  I have a closet full of discount clothes I am lukewarm to begin with so why would I add more?

So, I am very confident I made the right decisions and happily hung up my gorgeous dress and comfy jeans in the closet this morning.  My plan had been to remove as many items from my closet that I kept from Stitch Fix but not sure I am ready to let anything go just yet.  I think another issue with Stitch Fix, if you look in their FAQ, they do not send you OUTFITS, only pieces to put together outfits and I struggle with that.  Yes, they send you the cards to suggest how to style each piece but that still means you may need to go out and buy something else – shoes, jewelry, a purse, to make it all work.  If you can be patient, you can request jewelry, shoes or even a shirt to match some pants in your next Fix but if you are like me, I can’t really afford to do this more than once a month.  Luckily for this month’s purchases, I have a pair of white kitten heels that should work with the dress nicely but not really any jeweler (what do you pair with a such a busy pattern??) and the jeans will pretty much match anything – T-shirts, pretty tanks, even lightweight sweaters so I think I’m good there too.  It will be a slow process, slower than I thought, especially if I only get a couple of items per shipment I like.  So, I am not sure this will totally be able to replace going out and shopping for items I really need or weeding out all of the clothes I don’t really like from my closet.  It’s a process.

My next shipment is set for July 18th so I have the next couple of weeks to think about my priority items to request and pin some new items on my Pinterest board as I have time.  My stylist said she checked out my board and sent me a shirt similar to one I pinned but to be honest, going back and looking now, I struggle to see which one she is referring too.  Still, the colors and styles are improving and I can only hope my July Fix will be even better!  I will keep posting blog entries about health, fitness and pieces I find I like in the meantime so I won’t be going away!

If you would like to try Stitch Fix for yourself, please use my referral link below and I will get a $25 credit after your first shipment.  Thanks so much for reading!

https://www.stitchfix.com/referral/5229780

Stitch Fix #2 – Take Two: What Do YOU Think?

Thanks to all of your feedback, I decided to give the 2 tops I had planned to return another look.  I checked out the styling cards that came with them, put together an outfit (or at least as close as I could with what I had on hand) and took a few more pictures.  I tried to highlight my concerns on each, so you could see for yourself then again, let me know if you still feel they are keepers or if you agree they should be shipped back.

First up, the pretty, flowery tank.  I tried this on and it is pretty close to what the styling card recommended with flat flip flops and jean capris.  I tried it on for my hubby and is first comment is that no, it did not make me look fat or pregnant at all BUT since it was so short in length and style, it looked like a baby doll style top, which he really doesn’t care for.  He said he looked nice on me, just that it wasn’t the kind of thing I would normally wear.

SF2 #1

Here you can see how wide it is, when I pull it out.  If a gust of wind comes up, this thing is going right up over my head!  It is lined so you really shouldn’t have to wear anything under it.

SF2 #2

From this side angle, I think you see more of the baby doll effect he was talking about.

SF2 #3

Finally, just a front view of the whole outfit.  The flowers are a bright, almost neon orange so tough to match with anything so I decided to go with the blue color and pair with turquoise sandals and a bracelet.

Next up, the red tank.  Everyone commented it is pink and it actually is a light red color.  I also neglected to mention it is pretty much totally see through so you have to wear a tank under it.  I don’t have any shade of red or pink so decided to create a red and black dressier outfit with this one.

SF2 #4

Again, you can see how big the top is when I pull the fabric out to the side.

SF2 #5

This one also has kind of a baby doll effect when you look at it to the side but the straps aren’t quite as short as the first top, so it isn’t as noticeable.

SF2 #6

Finally, a little bit closer front view so you can see the true color against the necklace, the detailing of the seams and how it hangs.

I still am not buying that either are very flattering but I look forward to your thoughts.  Thanks so much for reading!