Thursday, August 29, 2013

Clean It Up

I can't believe over a whole month has passed since I've blogged.  I suppose I've been really enjoying my summer.  :)

I swore off Facebook for the summer and have barely missed it.  It's been nice, being Facebook-free. 

My August resolution was to kick off my next cookbook - The Scott Family Table - and I have successfully done that, thanks to the help of my sister acting as photographer.  I have decided that for this cookbook, I don't want as many "process" pictures.  I really just want finished-product pictures, and candids.  I wasn't hardly in my last cookbook; I want to be there more this time.  I've got another few "cooking weekends" lined up in the coming months, which I'm pretty excited about.

With that said, August has been a hectic month.  Happy hours, barbecues, and all kinds of fun stuff.  Not much relaxing.

Weight Watchers is going well.  I'm wrapping up this session in the next two weeks.  I've lost a grand total of 7 pounds so far.  I don't really find this discouraging, because with all the working out I've been doing, I've really been gaining a lot of muscle.  My arms and shoulders are more toned than they've ever been; but my problem area remains, as always, between my belly button and my knees.

When the next session of WW starts, I'm going to change my workout routines.  I'm adding in some jogging on the weekends (I tried it last weekend and my knees came out unscathed).  I'm adding more reps to my weight lifting.  I'm adding some cardio on days where I normally don't do cardio.  And I'm switching up my ab exercises.  I'm also going to add in a rest day - probably Sunday - because I think I'm allowed to have one.  I will still try to be active to some degree, but maybe not in a I GOTTA GO WORK OUT kind of way.

September is right around the corner.  What is my resolution?  It might be impossible for me to achieve.  But I'm willing to give it a try.  I've been inspired by this gorgeous gal I follow on Instagram (follow her - @notsteph).  She's got 3 kids, eats clean, and looks amazing.  She's also very tiny, and while I will never be tiny, I figure perhaps I can employ some of her methods and find some more success of my own.  I recently asked her what her biggest tip was for managing the midsection, be it diet or exercise.  Her response:

"Belly fat is all diet.  When I eat too many "cheat meals" my arms, legs & butt still look fit but my belly is the first to show what I've really been eating.  You can do all the core workouts in teh world, but if your diet is bad then you won't see the results you want."

There it is in black and white.  The truth I've been trying to deny for so long.  (And she's not the first person I've heard it from, I think just now, finally, I'm in the frame of mind where it's clicking.  You have to be mentally ready for this sort of thing.)  You know, I just want to be able to eat what I want and just exercise and lose weight.  Well this just isn't possible.  That was the first thing Weight Watchers taught me.  Also, I learned something very valuable this month. 

Back at the beginning of August I had felt that I had worked so hard to get to where I was at, that I deserved a cheat day.  Not a cheat meal, a cheat day.  True Fatty style.  So I planned this whole elaborate day around food - eggs Benedict for breakfast; a Wawa hoagie for lunch; a chocolate milkshake; candy; a cheesesteak and french fries for dinner; soda; the whole nine yards.  (Just reading that list right now makes my stomach turn.)  And you know, I really almost felt kind of shameful on my cheat day.  Like here I was, this self-proclaimed Fatty, planning out all the ridiculous foods I was going to eat that day.  Here I was, sitting at home by my blow-up pool, salivating over going to Wawa for lunch and getting a hoagie.  Is there anything more True Fatty than that?  I mean really.  There were so many points in the process where I could have called it quits - instead, I went inside, got my keys, got in my car, drove to Wawa, ordered the hoagie, paid for it, came home, and could only devour half of it.  I didn't even really enjoy it.  If I'm going to "cheat", I better love every fucking bite.  (Now - my cheesesteak, for dinner - I loved every fucking bite of that, so much so that I wish I'd skipped the hoagie so I could have eaten the whole cheesesteak.)

So what did that teach me?  It taught me two main things:
  1. That a cheat day is waaaaaaay over-necessary.
  2. That a cheat meal is probably more do-able, enjoyable, and likely to keep me on track.
Aside from those two things though, I think it might have also taught me something else.  You know that saying, "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels"?  Well I never bought into it - until now.  When I stepped on that scale 5 days after my cheat day, I felt full of shame, regret, and I was irritated with myself.  I didn't WANT to step on that scale and find out that the number had gone up (which it did).  That made me feel worse than missing all my favorite foods.  It made me feel like a True Fatty.  So I think I learned that really - nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.  I'm not skinny, by any stretch of the imagination, and I probably never will truly be "skinny" (I am too curvy and too muscular).  But I honestly think that losing weight and exercising feels so much better than eating like shit.  I feel better about myself; I feel proud.  When I step on that scale and the number goes down, the joy I get from that far outweighs the joy I get from a Wawa hoagie.

So, back to my original question.  What's my September resolution?  To eat as clean as possible.  I am going to try my darndest.  I've been slipping in many departments lately - soda, candy, chocolate - because the scale keeps going down, so I keep thinking that I'm doing fine so it's okay to inject myself with fake sugar, of course, duh.  But I think now, 9 months into my year of resolutions, I am ready to attempt it.  I think I talked about it earlier this year but figured it was too extreme - well now I think I am really ready.

I've done a fair amount of research this morning.  I have lists in my phone.  I am looking at my favorite recipes and figuring out how to make them "clean".  And it's back to nature's bounty I go - on September 2nd.  I know I know, but look, I'm going on vacation with my fam-a-wee this weekend, it's our only vacation this summer, and I'm not gonna go crazy or anything, but, just, ugh, gimme one last weekend.  I still have to step on the scale NEXT Thursday so that's keeping me in check.  I mean have you been to an East Coast beach?  Eating clean is practically out of the question.

I've got some recipes I'm interested in trying.  I'm so happy to see that potatoes are on the clean eating list :) :) :) seeing as though they cost points on the WW plan.  But, whatever.  I'm going to try and do both.  But now I plead for your help - please please please - if you've got recipes, or a favorite site you like to go to to get recipes for clean eating, please share them here.  I need everything: breakfast, lunch, dinner, sides, etc.  Treats would be nice too.  But not necessary.  Anything you've got for breakfast that's grab-and-go or wrap-and-go that I can eat on the way is super helpful.  For the past few months I've been eating a homemade egg-and-cheese sandwich that holds me over till lunch (1 egg + 1 egg white, 1 slice 2% milk cheese, on whole-grain "1/3 daily value fiber!" English muffin) and I'm getting kind of bored of it.  Ok, really bored of it.  Okokok, so bored that I ate Lucky Charms and Cocoa Puffs a few too many times in the last couple of weeks.

My recipe restrictions: I don't like many veggies (lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, broccoli, bell peppers, spinach - that's about it), I don't eat any fish (I know, sacre bleu), and I'm not a huuuuge fan of yogurt, though I can deal with it in smoothies and stuff.  Anything I can make that "hides" veggies = bonus.

So anyway, there you have it. 

Along with all that, I'll also be back to my crazy spreadsheets for September to track my progress.  I'm making them now.  I swear.

Wish me luck.  xo

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