Sunday, March 30, 2014

Managing triggers (non-food) that lead to emotional eating- while in weight maintenance

Introduction to a 7 part series: Managing triggers (non-food) that lead to emotional eating (for me), while in weight maintenance.

( A special thank you to Alen Standish and Amy Johnson's podcast about Lizard Brain that inspired my blog series. Link to the podcast.)
You’d think that by being in weight maintenance for so long (2 years) , that the old urge to soothe with food would be manageable. I spent 40 years eating emotionally. So, the old non-food triggers followed me into weight maintenance.

 For me, food choices (no sugar, no grains... aka #NSNG) make a huge difference. If I abstain from my trigger foods, then most of the time, I am fine. If I put "life into living", then it has to be with a food that has <5 grams of processed sugar. Think 85% chocolate, a small piece.

Abstaining is my baseline, but occasionally old memories, reactions, triggers that are non-food cross my line.  I catch myself wanting to go back to old habits and behaviors.

When I cross the line and I can recognize it,  I consider myself “at risk”. At risk for emotional eating or choosing off template foods. I know that pattern well. If I can't recognize it, and I cross the line,  I lapse. It happens once and awhile. I don't beat myself up, but I do take quick action because lapses are 1 step away from a full relapse.

Both weight maintenance and my overall health (migraines, sleep quality)  and less mental stress are directly related to how well I manage the trigger, before it happens. For me the pain is mostly  emotional, but the pain can be physical. Migraines, joint pain, or cystic acne (wheat, sugar, nuts, dairy).  

Okay, that's it.  Intro is done. Stay tuned for my 7 non-food triggers,and how I deal with them, in the next few posts. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

An honor and privilege to find your food template in weight maintenance

I woke up this morning full of it   full of gratitude.  It’s been such an honor and a privilege to experiment with my food template in weight maintenance. It's down right REQUIRED, I've decided.

Two or more paths!
There is  NO one way to do this,  except the one that works for yourself. Right here, right now! No one food, no one template. Each month more of weight maintenance really brings me to this place. Even in my own 2 years in weight maintenance, my food template has changed drastically.  Going from a packaged food diet for weight loss (it worked for me) , to a low-inflammatory whole foods  diet in weight maintenance (it worked, for me). Fine tuning the food template over two years.(Yep, yep.... working on it!) 

There are as many paths as there are people.

The further I go, the more I realize that food is both fuel and medicine for me. Getting the food template in line has provided me with a better life over all.  Better relationships because I’m not numbing out with food emotionally. Better health, because I can maintain my weight and not yo-yo. More energy for living life’s up’s and downs. No migraine headaches!  (Yeah!) A lot less physical and mental pain. High nutrient food gives me a lot of clarity, too.
3 years of weight data

Life happens. Emotional eating (age 6-46), auto-immune thyroid disease (1997), Pregnancy (2000),menopause (2013). Life and health changes up physically. I’m just glad I got my mind set  in the experimental mode early in this attempt at both weight loss and weight maintenance.

Just high-fiving myself this morning that I had the strength and the courage to plow through
    Conventional wisdom around food advice based on bad science.
     Big food- besides the grocery stores , newspapers , magazines,and TV, big foods has found it’s way in fund raisers, schools, doctors offices,brand bloggers paid by big food, the health care industry, hospitals, weight loss programs partnered with big food.
      My own mind telling me outdated information.

I often ask my daughter when something positive or negative occurs: “What do you attribute that outcome?”  So, what do I attribute my positive out come of long term weight maintenance this time around?

What’s working
  1.  Having an open mind set to my food template and health outcomes ( told no one but my doctor who said "If it's working for you, do it")
  2.  Taking time to experiment with my food template and health outcomes
  3.   The courage to be different from the mainstream
What didn’t’ work in past attempts
  1. Using one weight loss program and the same weight maintenance program (different processes = different tools! different template!)
  2. Believing what I was seeing from Big food, packaged health claims. Not so much for me. Moderate junk/processed food
  3. The unwillingness of my own mind to switch fast when things weren’t working.
So, what do you attribute to your positives and negatives?  Food template wins? Any high-fiving  yourself on positive outcomes? Discuss!  It can be a tough road with all the mis-information out there. Here's to the courage and wisdom to experiment. It can take a lot of strength to overcome. 

Both paths lead to the same place

Hmmm. Hope this post wasn't too, Woo-Woo. Back to usual posts tomorrow! Sometimes brain dumping is good....

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Birthday's,my new normal in weight maintenance

I had a recent birthday. On my lunch walk, all the "woodland" animals came out to visit me. Very cool! I felt like Snow White. For about 30 minutes. Then it was back to work. And, I don't have team of 7 who will do the house work for me, either!
 Anyhoo, on my weekend walk. It became very clear what I wanted to do for my birthday. A grass-fed burger, protein style at Pure Burger
 Some berries, cinnamon, and chocolate- all things I would normally have in my evening meal, but at a coffee shop. A decaf Americano and visiting with my daughter. Fun! Rich. Low stress. On food template. Yep! Just like that. The new normal feels... normal. Works!

No triggers, no struggling. No worries about what I should eat. No explaining it to others. Just making a plan that seems right and carrying it out as best as possible.
So lucky to have grass-fed burgers

Feels good to be getting older and feeling better than I did in my 20's and 30's.

What's working
1. Sticking to my low-inflammatory food template. Birthday's, holiday's.
1.5 Eating rich foods, that don't trigger overeating.
2. Making a plan and working the plan, sticking to it.
3. Fine tuning the plan, as needed.
4. Letting others know MY birthday plan

What did not work in the past
1. Eating cake (wheat) and frosting (sugar).
1.5 Over eating on cake and sugar for many days post birthday.
2. Not planning for my long term goals, short term goals, even on my birthday.
3. Not adjusting the plan to what I'm currently working on- I let habit make me believe I HAD to have cake on my birthday. Not so, for me!
4. Letting other people tell me what I was going to do on my birthday. Yep! I allowed that. Crappiest Least fun birthday's ever!
Berries, 85% chocolate, decaf Americano
 Honored and blessed to be here another year!

Great flavor combos- so rich!

I see you, Blue Heron!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Walking challenge- March- April 2014

Pelican line up near Swami's Beach
Palm trees and hot air balloon (center of photo), near Swami's beach

I saw on Facebook that Skinny Hollie was doing a 100 mile walking challenge. I've been inspired by Hollie's transformation photos. I love it that she's getting outside, walking, hiking. Good stuff. Great transformation.

I'm a huge walking fan for weight maintenance. I typically walk 9-10,000 steps a day. Walking is my primary exercise, with 2-3 strength training days added to my week.

Depending on my job assignment, day, life, slippery slope thinking, I can start to fall back to lower numbers 7-8000 or fewer steps.

      Anyhoo, I'll be tracking my steps and converting them to miles using this website  I think I calculated that I'll walk 200+ miles in 6 weeks, so I'll use 200 miles as a goal.   The challenge runs from March 17-April 28th, 2014.

What's working now
1. Walking 9-10,000 + steps per day, most days
2. Eating a 4th small meal if I hit over 10, 000 steps before 3pm.
3. Eating protein, fat, carbs from non-starchy veggies for fuel. This keeps me lean and energetic. (chicken, guacamole, bell pepper)
4. Taking my camera.
5. Using the walk time to de-stress and exercise
6. Using a simple digital pedometer to measure steps.

What didn't work in the past: 
1. Not wearing a pedometer and discovering I was only walking 4-5,000 steps a day.
2. Eating snacks all day long, no matter what my activity level was.
3. Eating high carb processed snacks when I did walk - think Cliff bars, 100 calorie packs. This kept me storing fat and sleepy during the day and evening. Focus on calorie burn and not calorie quality. This did not work for me.
4. Not taking my camera.
5.Walking indoors on a treadmill or elliptical.
6. Thinking I needed complex digital gadgets to measure my movement. Fun, but not required. I would have used the calorie "burn" number to eat processed foods, anyway. The fat burning technique was beyond me at that stage. Live and learn!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Egg elimination for 3 weeks, looking for less acne & inflammation

Chicken & Veggie soup, avocados
 I decided to eliminate eggs for about 3 weeks. I currently eat a low inflammatory, Paleo-ish template that includes eggs for long term weight maintenance and overall good health.

Goal: Be egg free for 3 weeks

Reason: To see if eggs, egg whites, or egg yolks might be causing a little bit of acne. Nothing like the cystic acne that wheat, processed sugar, and dairy caused. I would call it mild acne.

What motivated me: A chat with the PaleoCare nurse about "dose response". I had noted the more egg yolks, the more I might be having acne. Katy cautioned me about dose response.... Yeah. That makes good sense to me.

Health background: I'm post Auto-Immune thyroid since 1997. I've NOT done an Auto-Immune Protocol but I had good results with a Whole30 in Jan 2013. My last hs-CRP was 0.4, so if eggs are inflammatory, it's mostly showing up as acne at this point.

Ground turkey ginger bowl
 Time frame : March 3- March 24, 2014
What I'm eating for breakfast:  PFC = Protein, Fat, Carbs-from veggies ( many thanks to Dietitian Cassie for this concept). This keeps me balanced out with little hunger between breakfast and lunch.
Most frequent choices listed first:

 Protein: (pick one) Ground turkey, organic chicken in bone broth, grass fed ground beef, lamb in stew
Fat: (pick one) Avocados, coconut oil- veggie sauteing, olive oil, natural fat in the protein
Veggies: Celery, onion, tomatoes, shredded cabbage, broccoli slaw, raw kale salad, bell peppers
 Spices: Sea Salt- pink and Mediterranean, Garlic Sea salt, ginger, balsamic vinegar (on kale salad & tomatoes), cinnamon in my coffee  

Photo bombing cat

Process changes: 
1. Mind and habit changes (more on this soon)
2. More batch cooking
3. Spending a little more money on protein (eggs are cheap)
4.  More left overs in the morning.
5. Replacing my broken, smaller crock pot with a bigger crock pot for bigger batches of food.

Results so far: Yeah, acne is better. May or may not be related to eggs.I'll check back at the end of March 2014 with more info.

What's working now:
1. Elimination diets or single foods to lower inflammation, including acne
2. Taking time and commitment to experiment
3. Keeping open to new use of spices

What didn't work in the past:
1. Believing that food and acne are not related ( for me, they are!)
2. Eating so much inflammatory food I couldn't sort it out.
3. Eating so much processed foods I couldn't use spices to bring out natural flavors in foods.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Italian Bison Bowl (Paleo) Batch Cooking

 I rely on batch cooking Paleo meals that taste great and I can take from the stove, to the freezer, to the microwave, with the dishes winding up in the dishwasher at the end of the day.

 My health and Weight Maintenance have never been so awesome due to batch cooking! Here's one of my favorite recipes.

 Italian Bison Bowl (Paleo)  Batch Cooking
Ingredients: (see the end of the post for the brands I used)
  • 1 to 2 pounds of ground bison, browned (or grass-fed beef)
  • One package of kale, kale sweet salad mix, or cabbage (remove the dressing and toppings)
  • 1 to 2 sliced white onions
  • 1 jar or can of marinara sauce (stick to Paleo ingredients, where possible)
  • Garlic Sea Salt to taste
  • Italian spices
  • Coconut oil
Several freezer to microwave to dishwasher dishes with lids.
The mug featured here is CorningWare and I purchased it at Walmart or Target
2 large pans for sauteeing.
The Bison will be in pan number 1
The Kale will be in pan number 2
The Onions will be in pan number 1 (with the tallow from the bison!)

  1. Brown the bison in the first  pan. Add Italian Seasoning and/or garlic sea salt, if desired. Remove the bison and keep the tallow in the pan.
  2. In a second pan, pour the sweet kale salad (remove the dressing and topping packets) into the pan with a spoon of coconut oil.
  3. Stir the kale mixture in the pan over medium heat to  sauté. . Add a spoon full of coconut oil to coat the kale mixture. The kale mixture will start to shrink as it cooks. 
  4. Spoon and pack the kale mixture into your dishware. I fill mine half full or so.
  5. While the bison is cooking in pan number 1, slice up the onions.
  6. Spoon the ground bison over the kale mixture in your dishware. Leave the tallow in pan number 1.
  7. Saute the onions in the left over tallow in pan number 1
  8. Spoon the onions over the bison bowl. 
  9. I pour  out about a half a cup of marinara over the top of the bowl.
  10. Refrigerate or Freeze
  11. Re-heat before eating, I add the Garlic Sea Salt at the end of the cooking.
  12. If frozen, then stir, there will be some liquid in the bottom if frozen, but no worries! Tastes great!
  13. Refrigerate any left over, extra sauteed kale mixture. 
No nutritional values, your ingredients will vary.
Ready to freeze

Best marinara sauce EVER!

Hunted and gathered at Costo

Sweet Kale Salad
Slice up those onions
Post sauteing

sauteing the onions in bison tallow

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Indoor temperature and weight loss- weight maintenance

Interesting blog post over at Dr. Berkeley's website about indoor temperatures and weight loss.

 My unique weather conditions:
1. I only have a heater and no air conditioner at my house.
2. I live close to the coast in San Diego County
3. Sometimes I travel to Arizona in the summer and sleep in really warm conditions. (June 2013)
4. I'm post auto-immune thyroid. I can easily get chilled to the bone and take a full 24 hours to warm up.

2013 to 2014 Karen's weight maintenance data

 My own personal experience: The warmer the indoor temperature sleeping conditions at night, the less I weigh.  Who knows, I may never dip down to the lower weights in the summer now that I'm more fat adapted.  Time and some data will tell.

  • I only have about 1 years worth of data being totally fat adapted in weight maintenance
  • I need about 2 more years of data to fully test my theory
  • I could be so, so wrong about this. 
  • I smile because I love testing out my own theories
  • I totally geek out over data, it's the scientist in me. 
  • I could be so wrong, doesn't really matter, I'm having a ton of fun.
  • I have no idea how being post auto-immune thyroid effects all this. 
  • I have no idea how being post menopausal effects all of this. 
I'll check back on this topic in a year. Discuss below!

Looking North in San Diego County- Snow! 2008

Friday, March 7, 2014

My Health Benefits in Long Term Weight Maintenance- No Grains No Gains March 2014

Our Mission Statement : A group a of Primal/Paleo/Grain free women who blog about their experiences/life/benefits without grains. It’s a great way for others (who may be wanting to lose weight, reverse an acute/chronic health trend, and/or transition from commercial weight loss programs) to read about real life women who are living the life and succeeding!
March 2014- Health Benefits in Long Term Weight Maintenance, from the No Grains, No Gains group.

My health has done a complete turn around. Even more than weight loss, when I went grain free (and processed sugar free,) I got my health back! All I wanted was a stable weight. I got a lot more.

NOTE: Pay close attention to how long it took. Being grain free and realizing the benefits (except joint pain) is not an overnight or even a 30 day process. It's not one stop shopping for health. It's a constant work in progress.
Feb 2012 and Feb 2014 Longest time at a normal weight!

Here's a list of the benefits I've seen:

1. Stable weight post a 68+ pound weight loss. Weight loss maintained for 2+ years.
    Time that it took to feel comfortable in weight maintenance: 1.5 years or so.
    The take away: Life is easier for me from a movement, pain, and self-esteem point of view.
    The BONUS: same pants fit year in, year out. Yeah!

 I now eat about 95% Paleo. I'm a short, smallish boned person, so in my case, BMI is okay for a starting place for health for me, for now. I have more muscle strength now in 2014 than I did the other years.

2010 my BMI = 34.0
2011 my BMI = 25.9
2012 my BMI = 22.7
2013 my BMI = 21.9
2014 my BMI = 22.4

2.  Better blood work (hs-CRP,  Lipids, HA1c, )
     Time that it took: 1 year on Paleo for my hs-CRP to drop <1.0
                                    2 years tinkering with my food template to have lower inflammation
     The Take Away: Food effects my blood work the most (removing gluten, dairy, and nuts)
      Bonus:  I get discounts on my insurance for my BMI and waist ratio. $40 a month!

Click here to see my last 4 years of blood work. 4 years of blood work
 2012 = mostly Paleoish,
2013 =  Very Paleoish

 3. Better Sleep:  I sleep 7 to 7.5 hours a night
    Time that it took: 1 to 1.5 years.
     The take away: keeping my carbs around 50-90 grams/day and walking outside daily.
     Bonus: I have more energy and I feel I have more brain clarity.

The sleep benefit is just amazing. After my Whole30 in Jan 2013 I knew I slept better, like a baby. Then when I did a low carb challenge in May 2013 and I repeated my sleep success, I knew that I wanted to put time into sleeping so the rest of my day could be better.

 4. Smoother transition through menopause: 
    Time that it took: 4 years  to transition
    The take away: Eating nutrient dense food seems to minimize hot flashes
    Bonus:  I feel much more comfortable, most of the day, when I'm eating well. If get an unintentional gluten exposure, I have major hot flashes and feel terrible.

What can I say? Who knew that I'd go through menopause the first 1-2 years of weight maintenance?

5. Migraine Headaches are gone!
  Time that it took: 3 years, with a steady decrease over time
  The take away: Food (s) combined with the better sleep help.
  Bonus: More time vacation and having fun compared to being sidelined in a dark room

Going low inflammatory by the grain elimination, removing the sugar spikes, then getting diary out and finally removing nuts from my diet seemed to end my headaches. Of course, having the hormonal effects of menopause may have also helped in stopping my headaches, too.

I used to buy the large bottles of 500 Ibuprofen at the large box stores, and use about 200 tablets. I now buy the small 24 tablet bottles. I might use 2-4 tablets before the bottle expires and I toss the rest.

6. Fewer emotional urges to eat 
    Time that it took: 40 years, with additional support
    The take away: Real, whole foods that are grain free and processed sugar free fill me up and helped to decrease the urges so that I could deal with them.
    Bonus: Life is easier when I can put time in to living and not cycling with food

 Grain free living is not 100%, but it helped get me started to dealing with something that I could not turn off from age 5-6. 

7. Fewer colds and no sinus infections
    Time it took: 1.5 years  (eliminating dairy helped)
     The take away: Getting dairy out helped my sinuses heal
      Bonus: I recover faster and get more vacation days.
I still get sick, but for shorter duration and less often. Maybe 1 cold every 1.5 years. Maybe. And fewer days being sick.

8. Joint pain gone
    Time it took: 10 days gluten free
     The take away: grain, for me, is inflammatory
     Bonus: Feeling and moving like I'm 27 and not 47.

The overall take awayBeing grain free has improved my health more than just weight maintenance

What didn't work in the past:
1. Yo-yo dieting. Counting points and fueling with 100 calorie packs turned out to be a diet fad for me. (If it works for you, great!). For me, grain free was the first major step in getting well again. I used to blame myself that Kellog's Special K cereal, snack bars and other food products did not help me lose weight. Now I understand that grain is used to fatten up animals, I no longer blame myself for buying into commercial hype. I see clearly now the commercial messaging as a fad, for me. No bowl of cereal is going to end obesity! Crazy talk in my opinion. Walk away from that. :)

2. Not addressing the root cause of the inflammation  sooner (hs-CRP ) . Glad I lived to tell on this one.

3. Not considering the sleep/ diet connection.

4. Not considering the hormonal signaling (store fat!) with the high carb foods. Not considering that my body needs the right fat, without the grain inflammation to live, menopause or not.

5. Not doing an elimination diet for my migraines. I thought I had done a decent job, not so.

6. Not connecting the dots on grain filled foods and emotional eating.

7. Just giving up and saying "Well I get sinus infections" and accepting it.

8. Thinking that having joint pain in my early 40's was "Just part of aging"

The overall take away: The benefits can happen soon with grain free living, but plan on taking a few years   the rest of your life optimizing your health.

Be sure to add these blogs to your reading lists. Great learning from great ladies!

Gwen S
Jeannette C
Leigh C
Lynda S