Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Testing comments... Email me if you cannot leave a comment!

Okay, readers... Here's the thing:

Blogger is being very funny with its comments right now.

I was able to "fix" the issue for myself by enabling cookies from 3rd parties in my internet settings.  Now I can leave comments on all blogs again!  YAY!  :-)

However...  if you are having comment issues and are frustrated because you are unable to enter my 100 Followers Book Giveaway, please let me know by emailing me at newgilmore@gmail.com.

I will accept entries to the giveaway by email if you are having issues with commenting on blogger.  Because I'm cool like that.  ;-)

I hope that you are all having great days!

Intuitive Eating: Honor Your Hunger

Today I'm starting to focus on the second principle of Intuitive Eating: Honor Your Hunger.

2. Honor Your Hunger.  Keep your body biologically fed with adequate energy and carbohydrates. Otherwise you can trigger a primal drive to overeat. Once you reach the moment of excessive hunger, all intentions of moderate, conscious eating are fleeting and irrelevant. Learning to honor this first biological signal sets the stage for re-building trust with yourself and food.

Over the long 3-day weekend, I became such a master of "reject the diet mentality" that I probably gained a bit.  Oh, well!  This is IE, and I love it. 

I figured that since I told myself that I would move on to each new principle as I master the previous one, it was time to move on to the second principle: Honor Your Hunger!

This is tricky for most recovering dieters.  ;-)

I've been on a "food schedule" for years.  Most recently on WW, my food schedule looked something like this:

8:00am- eat big bowl of oatmeal
12:00pm- eat big bowl of whole grains mixed with beans, veggies, and evoo
3:00pm (optional)- eat snack, usually a bar or some fruit
5:30pm- eat another big bowl of whole grains mixed with beans, veggies, and evoo
between 8-10pm- eat a Power Foods snack/4th meal- sometimes leftovers from lunch or dinner, sometimes a bowl of shredded wheat

This was on a perfectly on plan day, mind you.  I wasn't always so "perfect".

I ate at those times, almost always whether or not I was truly hungry.  Yes, even after switching to the Simply Filling Technique, I would still eat at those times if not truly hungry, because that was the only way that I knew to eat and still lose weight.  On a schedule. 

With Honor Your Hunger, I now have to stop keeping a food schedule.  Which will prove to be very tricky on work days, which is Monday through Friday for me. 

So far today, here's how I've honored my hunger-

I packed a banana and my usual big bowl of oatmeal made with almond milk and applesauce.  I ate the banana as soon as I got to work (7:45).  About an hour later, I ate about half of the oatmeal.  I ate another couple of bites a few minutes ago, and right now I'm still feeling quite satisfied.  I think that I'm probably done until lunch time.  And I've only eaten half of my usual breakfast!  Craziness.

I will let you know how lunch, dinner, and snacks go!  I think that I am finding that I'm more of a grazer/snacker than I am a big meal eater, if I'm truly listening to my hunger signals.  And that's fine with me!  I like to eat.

P.S. Don't forget to ENTER THE BOOK GIVEAWAY!  The last entries will be accepted tomorrow (June 1st).  Drawing is June 2nd!  The odds are still pretty good for everyone with about 20 entries so far.  Yay!  I'm so excited to give stuff away.  :-)

Sunday, May 29, 2011


I promise to talk about this in more detail soon, but for now- here's a picture of me yesterday.  The significance of this picture:  It was taken right after I found out that I officially made it to my goal weight of 144 (actually surpassing it by a bit, weighing in at 143.8)

Now I must get back to celebrating and having a great holiday weekend with Stacey!  I hope that you are all doing fabulously.  My next entry will talk about how I got to goal and how I am feeling now.

Another reminder to ENTER THE BOOK GIVEAWAY!!!  Last entries accepted June 1.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Rejecting the Diet Mentality - Day 4

Another reminder to ENTER THE BOOK GIVEAWAY!!!  Only 10 people have entered so far, so everyone's chances are pretty good.  Especially those who have 6 entries, which is the max you can get.  I'm pretty excited about my blog's first giveaway, makes me feel like a "real" blogger.  ;-)  So go on over and enter the giveaway.  You won't only be entering for a chance to win an amazing book (all books in the giveaway have been critical to my weight loss journey), you'll also be making this blogger's day.  And who doesn't want to do that? 

Okay, time for some more thoughts on Intuitive Eating!

Once again: So far, so good!  I'm loving eating this way.  I'm still not a full-fledged Intuitive Eater quite yet (if there is such a thing!), as I'm only focusing on the first principle 100%, with some mild focus on the second one. 

The first principle is "Reject the Diet Mentality".  I've been 100% focused on doing just that.  One thing that I've noticed since starting this IE adventure:  I'm not eating a big dinner.  Instead, I'm eating several snacks between work and bedtime.  These snacks most likely add up to the same amount of calories/PointsPlus as my old dinners did (I'm trying really hard to not count!), but they keep me much more satisfied.  I think it's because I'm eating what I want, and not worrying about anything other than "Am I hungry?" and "Is this what I really want to eat?".  It's freedom.

Last night, for example, was not the healthiest.  But I ate to satisfaction and I ate what I wanted. 

Here's what I ate yesterday:

breakfast: oatmeal with applesauce, banana, and almond milk

lunch: oatmeal with black beans, tomatoes, evoo (oats twice in one day!  Only because I forgot to make brown rice or barley the night before!  Come to think of it... I didn't make any last night, either...) a couple of wasa crackers

snack #1: Lara Bar and craisins

snack #2: peanut butter and banana

snack #3: (at the movies with my little cousin!  Bridesmaids was funny but not worth $10 IMHO)- The following was snuck in and shared with my cuz- redvines and air-popped popcorn with added oil THAT I DIDN'T MEASURE!!!

When I woke up this morning, I was really hungry.  I think it's because I didn't eat much last night.  But last night I wasn't hungry for anything else.  IE is definately interesting!

I'm kind of concerned about tomorrow... It's usually my weigh-in day, but I'm tempted to skip a couple of weigh-ins as I get used to IE.  No, I'll probably still weigh-in...  I'll let you know!

Another thing that concerns me about IE vs WW: On WW, every weekend I went through most of my WPA, with very little concern about hunger signals.  I was "allowed" to do that, you see.  I could eat an entire pizza and a whole bag of chips if I wanted to (and often did).  On IE, the point is that I can eat anything and not measure or count calories/PointsPlus, BUT... in exchange, I must only eat to satisfaction.

This will be pretty challenging for me!  Tomorrow, Stacey and I are FINALLY going to the new vegan restaraunt in town!  It's called "Imagine Vegan Cafe" and it sounds soooooooo goooooooood... I've been dreaming about going there since it opened in April, and stuffing myself silly and just counting it as "all WPAs gone now".  Now that I'm on IE, I will have to watch it.  I'm not going to be too concerned about it, since right now I'm focused on "rejecting the diet mentality" more than "honor your hunger".

Isn't that funny?  In one way, WW was more freeing than IE is.  But I truly believe that IE is the way that is better for me in the long run.  I have been meaning to get a grip on what I call "controlled binge-eating" that I allow myself over the weekends.  IE will help me learn to do that!

I'll keep on sharing my food on here just to let you all know how IE is working for me.  Thanks for all of your support, and as soon as Blogger is working correctly, I will start commenting on your blogs, too.  For some reason, Blogger is not allowing me to follow any new blogs or to comment on any blogs that I already follow.  Anyone else having this issue?

HAHA, I just realized that if you are having that issue, you won't be able to comment and let me know.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Rejecting the Diet Mentality-- Day 3

First of all, please don't forget to enter the 100 Follower Book Giveaway by June 1st!

Okay, on to how I'm doing with Intuitive Eating this week.

So far, so good!

I'm focusing on the first principle of IE: Reject the Diet Mentality.

For me, this means to stop worrying about PointsPlus.  Stop giving certain foods the label "good" (Power Foods) and other foods the label "bad" (junk foods) and there is another label for a former WW-er, and that is "okay, but not the best" (foods that aren't Power Foods but aren't quite junk foods, like avocados, nuts, nut butter, Lara Bars, etc.). 

It's so difficult to STOP thinking in terms of WW, when that's how I've been eating for years now.

I've also begin to gently focus on the second principle, which is "honor your hunger".  I won't be too worried about mastering that one quite yet though.  As soon as I've mastered (or gotten much better at) rejecting the diet mentality, I will move on to adding in "honor your hunger".

I originally had told myself that I would devote 1 week to each principle, and that I would be a professional Intuitive Eater in 12 weeks... but then I realized that was some good ol' Diet Mentality creeping in!

There is no rush to this process.  I will take my time, since this is the way that I wish to eat forever.

Just to give you an idea of how I'm eating... here's what I ate yesterday.  I tried to focus on my hunger signals and what my body wanted, but mostly I was working on rejecting the diet mentality.

breakfast- oatmeal made with almond milk, applesauce, and a banana

lunch- leftover cous-cous with black beans, tomatoes, and evoo; 2 pickle spears; wasa crackers with hummus and salsa

snack- Lara Bar and craisins

dinner- peanut butter with a banana

snack- steamed veggies

snack- saltine crackers

exercise: 40 minutes treadmill run/walk intervals

Not too "bad", right?  ;-)  As always with IE, I have no meal plan in place for today.  But I'm determined to learn to enjoy eating and enjoy food again.  Also, (and this is the biggest one), I have a long-term goal of making food just a part of my life, not what I base my life around.  I'm sick of thinking about food all of the time, and IE should really help me to get away from that.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

100 Followers!!!!! BOOK GIVEAWAY (your choice!)

Okay, I'm pretty stoked to have just reached 100 followers!

As promised, I am going to do a giveaway to 1 lucky reader.

I thought that I'd give the winner of this giveaway options.  I also decided to cut out the "middle man" and to order from Amazon or Borders.com and have whichever book you decide on shipped directly from there to you!

YOUR CHOICES for giveaway-

1) The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone
2) Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnuoin
3) PETA's Vegan College Cookbook
4) Intuitive Eating by Elyse Resch and Evelyn Tribole

Here's how you enter:

1) For one entry- Leave a comment on this entry.  Please include your email address in the comment.  Also let me know which book you want if you win! -THIS PART IS MANDATORY, since it's the only way that I can think of to keep track of the entries!  Leave that comment, folks.  ;-)
2) Link to this giveaway on your blog for 3 more entries!  Please let me know that you did this in your blog comment, too...
3) Follow this blog for 2 more entries!!  Whether or not you already follow, please let me know in your comment.

GOOD LUCK!  And thanks for following and reading my blog.  :-)

Entries will be closed in one week, on June 1st.  Winner will be announced June 2nd!!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Intuitive Eating - Rejecting the Diet Mentality (IE Day 1)

Around noon today I decided to JUST DO IT and start my Intuitive Eating program.  I've made another big decision, and that is to increase my goal weight to 144.

If I end up losing more weight as I switch from Weight Watchers (WW) to Intuitive Eating (IE), that is okay with me.  I just want to find my "happy weight", a weight that I can maintain easily and naturally.  I think that my body has just about found it for me, as I feel quite healthy and pretty at 144.2.

I know that you all will support my decision to start IE now rather than wait.  I also know that you will support me if I later change my mind and go crawling back to WW.  You guys are just cool like that.  :-)

I am going to practice one step of IE at a time.  I'm going to start with the first principle of IE: Reject the Diet Mentality.

I'm going to quote the book quite often, just so you know.  Here are my favorite quotes from Chapter 5 of the book, which discusses in detail the first principle.

"Throw out the diet books and magazine articles that offer you the false hope of losing weight quickly, easily, and permanently.  Get angry at the lies that have led you to feel as if you were a failure every time a new diet stopped working and you gained back all of the weight.  If you allow even one small hope to linger that a new and better diet might be lurking around the corner, it will prevent you from being free to rediscover Intuitive Eating." (p 40)

"For many people, dieting has been a way to cope with life,  from filling up time, to exercising a semblance of control." (p 41)

"But when you say good-bye to the thrill and excitement of dieting, you'll also be letting go of the false hope and disappointments from dieting." (p. 41)

Some examples of psuedo dieting:

"Eating only 'safe' foods"
"Paying penance for eating 'bad' foods"
"Pacifying hunger by drinking coffee or diet soda"

The Dieter's Dilemma (p47)
 In case you can't read the print in this picture: Desire to be thin--->Dieting--->Cravings/Reduced self-control--->Loss of control/Overeating--->Regain of lost weight--->Desire to be thin

1. Recognize and acknowledge the damage that dieting causes.
      a. cause satiety cues to atrophy
      b. linked to eating disorders
2. Be aware of diet-mentality traits and thinking
     a. forget willpower- "While no doctor would expect a patient to "will" blood pressure to normal levels, physicians frequently expect their patients to "will" their weight loss by restricting their food."
     b. Forget being obedient.
     c. Forget about failure.
3. Get rid of the dieter's tools
     a. The scale!!! "Best bet - stop weighing yourself."


Hmmmm.... I don't know if I'm ready to completely give up the scale yet.  Everything else, however, I'm putting into effect immediately, and will be focusing on rejecting the diet mentality.  I will discuss the second principle next week.  Meanwhile, I'll let you know how my experience with IE is going.

THE PAPER part 3: Vitamins, Minerals, and Fat

note:  The pictures have nothing to do with part III of the paper.  They are to make this post a little less boring-looking.    

       It is important to carefully watch intake of certain vitamins, minerals, and nutrients when first beginning a plant-based vegan diet. It is easy to develop deficiencies in certain vitamins, minerals, and nutrients without following a plan, either devised by a nutritionist or carefully researched by the beginner vegan through reliable sources. The vitamins and nutrients that are definitely more challenging to obtain through a vegan diet as opposed to an omnivorous one are vitamin B12, Vitamin D, iron, calcium, zinc, and iodine (“Vitamins, Minerals”). Many vegans choose to supplement their diet with a vegan multivitamin to ensure that all of their dietary needs are met 100%, just like many non-vegans do. However, there are ways to get all of these vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients through a vegan diet without supplementation.

at a Grizzlies game!
      Good sources of vitamin B12 include: fortified cereals, soy products, and nutritional yeast. The requirement for vitamin B12 is 2.4 micrograms per day, which will need to be increased for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding (“Don’t Vegetarians”). It is extremely important for pregnant and breastfeeding vegans to ensure that their vitamin B12 needs are met, which is why most pregnant and breastfeeding vegans tend to take a B12 supplement, as well as eat a diet rich in this important vitamin. The rest of the population can get plenty of B12 each day by consuming one or two servings of the above-mentioned foods. Iron is something that those who eat a Standard American Diet (SAD) can easily obtain through eating red meat. Vegans also have plenty of iron options, including but not limited to the following: green leafy vegetables, kidney beans, lima beans, whole grains, avocados, almonds, and dried fruits (“Don’t Vegetarians”).

      Zinc is another vitamin which vegans will need to be careful about getting enough. “The following foods rich in zinc contain about 2-5mg of zinc per serving and are listed in the order of highest to lowest: wheat germ toasted (1/4 cup), swiss chard, lima beans, baked potato, oats, mustard greens, pumpkin seeds, soybeans, rice, kidney beans, ginger root, wild rice, peas, leeks, lentils, cashews, sunflower seeds, and lima beans” (Sundene). If not trying to get adequate amounts of it, iodine is another nutrient that can be tricky. To get adequate amounts of iodine as a vegan, one must eat plenty of vegetables and grains, and also must be sure to add iodized table salt to some foods (Sundene).

beans and rice!  A vegan classic.
      When considering a well-balanced diet, one must consider all nutrients, including fat. “Fat” has become a dirty word in the dieting world. However, certain fats are vital to human health. These healthy fats, called omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, are found in a wide variety of foods, and most of these fats are found in vegan foods. Nuts, seeds, and certain vegetables such as olives and avocado provide the body with healthy fats without the cholesterol and unhealthy fats of meat, fish, eggs, and dairy. Even lean animal foods, such as 97% lean ground beef, white meat chicken, egg whites, skim milk, and fish, still contain unhealthy fats and cholesterol (Knuttson). “Essential Fatty Acids nourish your skin, hair and nails, help to strengthen the immune system, and bring your body to its natural weight, along with a host of other wonderful benefits.” (Knuttson). Following a healthy vegan diet is actually one of the best ways to get the right amounts of the right fats. A healthy vegan diet includes many natural sources of healthy fats, like nuts, and virtually no unhealthy fats, like saturated and trans fats found in most meat and dairy products (Knuttson).

      Healthy fats are found in both vegan and non-vegan diets, as all non-vegans are obviously permitted to eat however many natural healthy vegan fats that they want alongside their animal fats. Even a completely non-biased article written by the staff at the Mayo Clinic gives inadvertently vegan tips to eat fat in a healthier way, including, “Sauté with olive oil instead of butter.” and “Add slices of avocado, rather than cheese, to your sandwich” (Mayo 2).

after a workout on The Wave!

...to be continued: Conclusion and Works Cited page

Monday, May 23, 2011

Goal Weight Identity Crisis? Also, thinking about IE again...

About my Goal Weight Identity Crisis

Once again, I'm wondering if I should increase my goal weight.

I got into my goal clothes this weekend, and the goal jeans are just...too...tight...!!!

I'm wondering if losing 9.2 more pounds will be enough to fit into them.

Furthermore, I'm wondering if it's even healthy for me to be trying to get into the jeans that fit me when I was at my lowest weight ever (135 - my current goal weight) that I only got into by starving myself with disordered eating when I was 19 years old.

Perhaps it's time to give these "goal jeans" away and to start focusing on loving my healthy body? Adjust my goal weight to 142-145 and begin to maintain within the next month or two?? Or even begin to maintain now?!

I know that this is a personal decision that I have to make for myself, but I thought that I would throw this out there to you guys anyway. I don't know if I'm looking for advice, encouragement, empathy, or just looking to be heard. Just wanted to share.

Because I'm starting to think that I could pretty easily maintain 75 pounds lost, but 85 pounds lost may be tough for me.

And I'm really starting to wonder if I should donate those size 10s and 11s that fit anorexic Leah. Stop worrying about if I will ever fit into them again. Size 12s, 13s, and 14s all fit (depending on the store/brand/cut) and look fantastic on me. Why do I care if I fit into the 10s and 11s?

Sigh... what a "problem" to have, right? Wondering whether or not I should stop losing weight, because I'm healthy and happy as I am.
About  my Intuitive Eating thoughts
So.............  I'm considering doing another experiment with Intuitive Eating!  Yes, I know that just a few posts ago I said that I was going to let go of my IE dream, but I think that I spoke too soon.
I'll let you know what I decide, but I think that since I'm questioning my goal weight, IE may be the best way to go.
Supposedly, if I listen to my body's hunger signals 100% and follow the criterea of IE, my body will settle at the weight that it's supposed to be at.  I'm starting to think that my body likes being at 144-145, but I may surprise myself and lose a little more with IE.  Or, the opposite could happen and I end up gaining a bit.  Surprisingly, I'm actually OK with gaining a bit as long as I don't get back into the 150's. 
Anyway, I'm going to re-read my Intuitive Eating book and report back what I decide.
No matter what I decide with my eating, I am going to keep on updating with monthly measurements posts for a while, and keep on toning up with exercise.  Also, I will continue eating mostly Power Foods and always try to listen to my hunger signals.  And keep up with the number one rule: Everything in moderation!!!

Friday, May 20, 2011

May Measurements

Here is my second set of measurements.  The first measurements post can be found here.  It was on April 11, and I said that I would do monthly measurements updates... oops!  But better late than never!

I could not find my little red shorts, but I found another tiny pair of shorts for the comparison photo.  I must say that I don't see much of a difference, but here they are, side by side, April 11 me vs. May 21 me.

My new meaurements (+/- in inches)

neck - 12.5 (0)
upper arm - 11 (0)
forearm- 8.5 (-.5)
bust (widest part)- 37 (0)
waist (smallest part) - 30 (0)
waist (largest part, belly button) - 36 (-1)
hips (largest part, butt) - 42.5 (0)
thigh (largest part)- 22 (-1)
calf (largest part) -15 (0)

total difference: -2.5 inches!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is exciting to me, since INCHES lost is what I'm going for.  Inches lost will get me into my goal jeans, even if pounds lost haven't.  I'm so excited that my hard work has paid off.

If you aren't already taking measurements regularly, I highly recommend it.  It has been highly motivating.  I will try to go 4 or 5 weeks and then measure again.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

THE PAPER part 2: Vegan Protein and Calcium

edited to add: This post looked really boring, so I jazzed it up with a random picture between every paragraph!  You're welcome.   

                         There are many components to the human diet, and many nutritional requirements, including vitamins, minerals, fats, and others. The part of the vegan diet that is often assumed to be deficient is protein. Omnivores often assume that the only way to get protein is through meat, dairy, and eggs. This couldn’t be further from the truth; protein is found in many sources, including plant-based foods such as vegetables. Eating protein found in vegetables is a healthy way to consume protein because the vegetables also provide fiber and water, two more dietary essentials. What plant foods do contain is nearly as important as what they don’t contain: saturated and trans fats. This is a more superior way to eat protein than eating meat and dairy, which contain little to no fiber and water, but do contain saturated and trans fats (Rubin 66). Good examples of vegetable protein sources are beans, soy, soy products, and green leafy vegetables. Some people tend to shy away from beans and bean products because of bad experiences with problems with gas. If prepared properly and eaten in moderation, the gaseous effects of beans can be controlled. Beans contain protein as well as beneficial fiber, which is good for digestion (Silverstone 58). The meat doesn’t have any fiber and is not good for digestion. This is why eating large quantities of meat and dairy can cause constipation (Silverstone 17).

Stacey and me at Game 6

                           While it is true that there is more protein in meat than in beans and other vegetables, it is also true that humans don’t need nearly as much protein in their diets as has been promoted by the meat and dairy industries. The average adult only needs 0.36 grams of protein for every pound that they weigh (Mangels). This comes up to just 52.2 grams for a 145 pound woman, which is easily obtained from vegetable sources. Because meat is considered a “complete” protein, there is a myth that vegans (and vegetarians) must combine foods in seemingly complex ways in order to create a “complete” protein without meat. This myth comes from outdated nutrition information. It has now been proven that consuming a variety of plant-based proteins throughout any given day is an excellent way to get plenty of complete protein, and there is no need to combine certain foods together (Silverstone 59). There are many vegan foods that contain protein, including most vegetables, and that means that one can easily get in the recommended amount of protein without consuming any animal products, and without much effort.

My broken Gazelle right before I took it to the curb

                                 Another popular concern about vegan nutrition is whether or not it is possible to get an adequate amount of calcium without consuming any dairy. Calcium is very important for the human body. “Obtaining sufficient amounts of absorbable dietary calcium to optimize bone density and to protect against bone reabsorption [sic] is a protective measure to lower the risk of osteoporosis” (Weaver and Plawecki 1238S). There are many different sources of dietary calcium, and not all of them are dairy based. The calcium found in leafy vegetables and in soy is more easily absorbed by the bones than calcium from dairy (“Vegetarian Diets” 1). The reason for this is some proteins found in animal products have a high concentration of sulfur amino acids, “which can increase calcium loss in urine as urine becomes more acidic with excretion of sulfate and renal tubular re-absorption of calcium is decreased” (Weaver and Plawecki 1238S). In other words, more protein can lead to less calcium absorption. Vegetarians and vegans in general tend to eat less protein than meat and dairy consumers, simply because there is more protein in meat than there is in beans.

Little Debbie's and Vienna sausage = typical snack for Stacey
Can you tell he is neither vegan nor a Weight Watcher?  ;-)  Love him.

                         Calcium is not too difficult to get from natural, plant-based sources. Good plant sources of calcium include: tofu (that is calcium-set), roots and legumes/beans, green vegetables (especially leafy greens), and calcium fortified drinks (such as juices and soy milk). This “easy” approach to being a vegan who gets enough dietary calcium only applies to men and women who are past their stages of growth. For pregnant women, and for children, it is more challenging to get adequate calcium intakes without supplementation. However, there are plenty of good supplements out there to choose from, and there is no reason to believe that women cannot have healthy vegan pregnancies or that children cannot be healthy vegans. With proper nutrition, a vegan diet can provide adequate calcium intake at all stages of life (Weaver and Plawecki).

...to be continued! Up next: Vitamins, Minerals, and Fat

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Intro to my "vegan nutrition" final paper

     Many people believe that the only way to get good nutrition is by eating the Standard American Diet (SAD), which includes meat, dairy, and eggs. However, there is another option: a vegan diet. A vegan diet is a vegetarian diet that excludes all animal products, including dairy and eggs. As the vegan population has increased in recent years, so has the debate on the validity of veganism as a dietary choice. Besides more and more people becoming aware of this issue, it really hasn’t changed. If you are a vegan, or if you know someone who is, then it probably seems as if this is a very old and very well-known controversy. The truth is that most people are unaware of this controversy because they have not been exposed to veganism as a legitimate dietary option. Everyone who tries to eat in a healthy manner has a stake in this issue. Anyone in the health industry, particularly those in professions which advise the public how to eat, such as dieticians, has high stakes in this. The most directly affected in this controversy are the vegans themselves. Is it possible to get adequate nutrition from a vegan diet?
     Some argue that veganism cannot provide adequate nutrition for all age groups, or for both men and women. They focus on the nutrients that may be lacking in a vegan diet, such as protein, iron, vitamin B12, calcium, and essential fatty acids (omega 3 and 6) (Richards, 12-17). All of these are easily obtained through eating meat, animal products, dairy, and fish. Children need more protein, cholesterol, and calories than adults. All of these things are definitely easier to get by eating animal products than on a plant-based diet. Men may need more protein and iron to maintain their muscles and physiques. Women need more iron and calcium, and those are arguably easier to obtain with animal products such as meat and dairy. There is also the argument that it is natural to eat meat. “Hunter-gatherer societies are believed to represent the original form of human culture and their reliance on meat as an essential source of nutrition shows that meat-eating is natural for humans and always has been” (Issitt and Carson-Dewitt 1).

     On the other hand, some argue that a plant-based diet can provide good nutrition for all age groups and both sexes (Rubin 61). Babies can be breast-fed, for example, which is a great alternative to cow’s milk. If breast feeding is impossible, then there are plenty of soy milk formulas available. Children can get many nutrients, including plenty of protein and healthy fats, from a vegan diet with beans, legumes, nuts, oils, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Men can get plenty of protein from plants in the form of beans and leafy greens. Women can get calcium from plant-based sources, and there is even some evidence that suggests the calcium derived from plants is more readily absorbed by the bones than the calcium found in dairy (A. Hood 1)

     A vegan diet is a controversial thing in the field of health. There is speculation that it may not be a healthy way to eat, especially for young children. Several studies have been conducted that neither completely prove nor disprove that a vegan diet could provide adequate nutrition throughout one’s life. First and foremost, the largest issue that people tend to think of when facing the question of veganism is protein, and the assumption that plant-based protein is inferior to animal protein. There is also the issue of calcium, iron, vitamin B12, and others and whether or not these could be fulfilled on a vegan diet. It has been proven that a vegan diet, if followed correctly, can be very healthy (S. Hood 66).

     There are many different viewpoints to consider about vegan eating. There are healthy and unhealthy omnivores who feel as if veganism is a terrible way to eat; they think that all vegans are destined to end up with vitamin deficiencies and severe malnutrition. There are some vegans who feel as if their diet is superior to an omnivorous diet. Finally, there are the moderates, who are more inclined to hold a “to each their own” philosophy when it comes to whether or not one consumes animal products, and who feel as if both omnivorous and vegan diets could be healthy or unhealthy, depending on how they are approached. There are studies that support each of these viewpoints, but the most solid evidence supports the moderates’ views. A vegan diet can provide adequate nutrition just as well as a diet that includes meat and dairy.

...to be continued

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

My thoughts on the whole Ginnifer Goodwin thing...

Ginnifer Goodwin - former vegan

In case you're not as obsessed with celebrity vegans as I am and haven't heard:  Ginnifer Goodwin is no longer vegan.  About two years ago, she "came out" as a vegan and did several interviews on the subject.

She inspired me in so many ways!  First, I loved her for being a great actress in two of my guilty pleasures, "Big Love" and "He's Just Not That Into You". 

When I found out that she was vegan, I was floored!  Also, she wasn't just vegan, she was a vegan Weight Watcher!  YAY!  Finally a celebrity that I could relate to. 

Also, I based my haircut on her short hair.  Mostly because we both have heart-shaped faces and I was convinced that if Ginnifer could pull it off, so could I!

Anyway, I love Ginnifer Goodwin.

Does her recent "confession" of giving up on veganism take away from that love?

I'm not gonna lie...  I am disappointed.  But not disappointed in Ginnifer. 

I'm disappointed that the media is reporting on it in the first place!  And the articles all say that the reason she dropped veganism is "health reasons". 

She didn't elaborate.  And she shouldn't have to; diets are very personal things (unless you have a diet blog!).

My concern is that people will read these articles and assume that because veganism wasn't healthy for Ginnifer it's not healthy for anyone.  Dragging veganism as a healthy dietary choice through the mud... again.

And I hate that!

So my feelings on Ginnifer Goodwin no longer being a vegan: Whatever.  I don't care.  Ginnifer is now only a role model for me with her hair, and that's okay. :-)

My feelings on the publicity of her quote "for health reasons": It sucks.  Veganism CAN be very healthy!

I wrote my research paper about how veganism can be just as adequate in nutrition as a non-vegan one. Is anyone interested in reading my paper? I can do a series of posts sharing it, if you like.

Sharing my Journal, Day 7

Okay, this will be the last installment of this for awhile!  I will share my journal again in the future for a couple of reasons:  1) If I feel I'm getting off-track with Weight Watchers and need the extra accountability that comes with sharing my journal, or 2) by request of my readers.  If you guys are ever curious about what I'm eating or how much I'm exercising, just ask, and I'll share my journal again for a few days! 

Here's yesterday's food and exercise journal.

Food and Exercise Journal, May 16
time- food (PointsPlus)

8:00am- oatmeal (P), soy milk (P), banana (P)

12:30pm- (random leftovers all mixed together!)cous-cous (P), kidney beans (P), refried beans (P), green beans (P), evoo (P), tomatoes (P)

5:00pm- canned NSA mixed fruit (P)

8:30pm- 1 hour walk/run intervals on treadmill (+7)

9:30pm- brown rice (P), black beans (P), tomatoes (P), evoo (P)

10:30pm- 2 sandwich thins (P), refried beans (P), wasa crackers (2)

PointsPlus Summary:
WP used: 0/49 (0 remain)
AP earned: 7
AP used: 2/50 (26 remain)

GHG Summary:
Fruits/Veggies- CHECK!
Healthy Oils- CHECK!
Lean Protein- CHECK!
Whole Grains- CHECK!
Activity- CHECK!
Sugar/Alcohol- CHECK!
Vitamins- NOPE!
Liquids- CHECK!

Lessons Learned:
I was STARVING by 9:30 last night.  I hadn't eaten a proper meal in 9 hours.  I was busy right after work, and then I figured that I should exercise before eating, otherwise I wouldn't exercise... and while that was a good thought, my workout just wasn't that great because I had little energy, and I ended up eating an extra 300 or so calories (bread, crackers, beans) that I probably wouldn't have had I just eaten dinner instead of exercising.  Lesson learned, for sure.

Today's Plan:
breakfast: oatmeal, banana, soy milk
lunch: boca burgers, steamed veggies, evoo
dinner: brown rice, black beans, tomatoes, evoo
snacks: shredded wheat w/ soy milk, fruit, veggies
exercise: The Firm Weight Loss System DVD

P.S. Please keep my parents' dog Dot in your thoughts and/or prayers!  She is undergoing treatment for heartworms.  Yes, she was on preventive medicine, so I guess that stuff isn't foolproof.  Make sure to get your dogs tested for heartworms regularly, even if they are on medication to prevent it.  Poor Dottie.  The doctors say that because of her regular checkups, it was caught very early and we have every reason to believe that she'll be okay.

Dot, my little sister

Monday, May 16, 2011

Sharing my Journal, Day 6

Okay, another weekend day of journaling to share with you...  I had completely planned to have Sunday be less PointsPlus-y than Saturday, and in that I succeeded.  But I still used way more than I had planned to use...  *sigh*  I'm going into the work-week with no WP left (not unusual) and with 28 AP remaining.  That is totally do-able.  I'm looking forward to a couple of Power Foods Only days, starting today hopefully.

Food and Exercise Journal, May 15
food (PointsPlus)

morning: shredded wheat (P), soy milk (P), wasa crackers (4)

afternoon: popcorn (P), evoo (P), extra oil (2), oreos (4), Luna bar (5)

evening: cous-cous (P), kidney beans (P), tomatoes (P), oreos (8)

exercise: 60 minutes bike (+7)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sharing My Journal, Day 5

My Saturday eating is almost always inferior to the rest of the week.  This week was no exception, and I almost hate sharing this on here, but I'm sharing my journal for a reason: to keep myself accountable.  Also, I want to show people that you don't have to suffer to lose weight!  Yesterday was a pretty typical Saturday for me.  I don't have exact times for what I ate, so I'll just do "morning, afternoon, evening".

Food and Exercise Journal, May 14
food (PointsPlus)

Morning: shredded wheat (P), soy milk (P), refried beans (P), salsa (P), wasa crackers (5), Lara bar (6)

Afternoon: Amy's pizza (22), veggies (P), banana (P), peanut butter (4)

Evening: popcorn (P), evoo (P), boca burgers (P), baked french fries (6), redvines (5)

Exercise: Day of Rest!

PointsPlus Summary:
48/49 WPA used!
0 AP earned.

GHG Summary:
fruits/vegetables: CHECK!
healthy oils: CHECK!
lean protein: CHECK!
whole grains: CHECK!
activity: NOPE!
sugar/alcohol: half check! 
vitamins: NOPE! (still need to buy a new vitamin...)
liquids: Only if diet soda counts, which I normally don't...  but since WW says it counts, technically I got this one, so CHECK!

Lessons Learned:
I should probably make exercise a priority on higher calorie days instead of taking the day off... but, oh well.  It felt good to take day off from exercise.  Back to it today!  :-)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Progress Pictures: 155 vs 145

On January 23, 2011, I posted progress pictures for a new low weight: 154.4.  Today, I weighed in at 145, which was my next goal weight for new progress pictures!  So, without further adieu, I present to you the next (and almost last) set of progress pictures.

On the left, I weighed in at 154.4 (155 for rounding's sake!) and on the right is what I look like today at 145.0.

My hair is different, and the angles may be a bit different, but this is as close to perfect as I could edit/crop them to on picnik.com.  :-)

I think that the biggest changes of the last ten pounds are in my butt (smaller and perkier!) and in my neck and shoulders (thinner and more toned).  If I could go back in time, I would do all progress pictures in bike shorts, because my thighs are a place that I've lost the most inches, and they aren't even shown in these pictures.  Oh, well.  Retrospect and all!  :-)

I'm thrilled with all of my progress and so proud of myself for losing 75 pounds.

Thank you, all of my blog readers.  This blog has been a huge help in keeping my accountable.  Just knowing that people are reading about my weight loss journey has been SO INSPIRING for me to keep on keeping on. 

There will be one more set of progress pictures like this, and that will be when I get to my goal weight of 135!

Sharing My Journal, Day 4

Food and Exercise Journal, May 13
time- food (PointsPlus)

6:30am- The Firm Wave DVD (+7)

8:00am- oatmeal (P), almond milk (LP), banana (P)

12:30pm- cous-cous (P), kidney beans (P), green beans (P), evoo (P), tomatoes (P), NSA applesauce (P)

6:00pm- Lara Bar (6)

7:30pm- Veggie Sub from Lenny's Sub with a baggie of baked chips (12? Not really sure...)

Lenny's downtown Memphis = best service EVER.
Well folks, this morning I woke up and weighed in... and was down another pound!!! This brings my total weight loss up to 75 pounds!!!  Meaning: Time for an updated progress picture.  Stay tuned for another set of pictures of me in a pink sports bra and size 20 jeans (holding them up).  After this set, there is only one set left:  GOAL WEIGHT.  :-)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Sharing My Journal, Day 3

First of all, I am not happy with Blogger right now!  It was shut down for a while and it has removed my last post... supposedly it will be back soon.  So if it looks to you as if I skipped a day of sharing my journal, I did not.  Blogger is just being weird!

Food and Exercise Journal, May 12
time- food (PointsPlus)

8:00am- oatmeal (P), almond milk (LPF), peach (P)

12:30pm- 2 boca burgers (P), steamed broccoli (P), 1 tsp EVOO (P)

5:30pm- brown rice (P), black beans (P), baked veggies (P), 1 tsp EVOO (P)

7:00pm- banana (P), 2 tbs peanut butter (6)

7:30pm- small salad with green leaf lettuce (P), tomato (P), and vinegar (0)

8:30pm- strawberries (P)

9:30- 40 minutes on the bike (+6)

Points Summary:

AP earned: 6
AP used: 6/43
GHG Summary:

Fruits/Veggies- CHECK!
Healthy Oils- CHECK!
Lean Protein- CHECK!
Whole Grains- CHECK!
Activity- CHECK!
Sugar/Alcohol- CHECK!
Vitamins- NOPE... (note: I need to buy more vitamins!  Not because I'm out, but because I really want one that is targeted for vegans, with extra B12, iron, calcium, etc.)
Liquids- CHECK!

Lessons Learned:
Hmmmm, that's an awful lot of evening snacking. It makes me wonder whether or not I was actually hungry for all of that, or if I was eating just because I could and because it was there. Even though I made mostly healthy decisions (everything was Power Foods, with the exception of the peanut butter), I think that I overate a bit.

Today I will try to watch my evening hunger a little closer. I have plans all evening long, so it should be easier to avoid any boredom eating!

Today's Plan
Breakfast: oatmeal with banana and soy milk
Lunch: cous-cous with black beans, tomatoes, and EVOO
Dinner: 2 boca burgers with 2 big hamburger buns at BBQ fest (I am forced to bring my own "meat" so that I will not starve while Stacey pigs out on pig)
Snacks: leftovers from lunch, veggies and fruits
Exercise: The Firm Wave DVD

Tomorrow is my weigh-in!  I feel pretty good about it.  I have done very well this week!!!  I actually will have 20+ activity points left if I stick to my plan for today.  The last several weeks I've been in the red.  So here's the test to see if my body likes less food or more food!  :-)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Sharing My Journal, Day 2

Food and Exercise Journal, May 11

time- food (PointsPlus)

6:20am- The Firm Weight Loss Solutions DVD (+7)

8:00am- oatmeal (P), banana (P), soy milk (P)

12:15pm- whole grain cous-cous (P), kidney beans (P), tomatoes (P), evoo (P), wasa flatbread crackers (3)

5:00pm- Curves circuit training (+2)

5:45pm- brown rice (P), garbanzo beans (P), baked veggies (P), evoo (P)

6:30pm- 2 bananas (P), chocolate peanut butter (6)

9:00pm- shredded wheat (P), soy milk (P)

Points Summary:
WPA used: 0/0
AP earned: 9
AP used: 9/41

GHG Summary:
Fruits/Veggies- CHECK!
Healthy Oils- CHECK!
Lean Protein- CHECK!
Whole Grains- CHECK!
Activity- CHECK!
Sugar/Alcohol- CHECK!
Vitamins- NOPE...
Liquids- CHECK!

Lessons Learned:
I ate three bananas in one day... probably not the best idea.  However, bananas are a power food, and I was actually hungry each time I ate a banana.  Still, it's best to eat more of a variety of fruits and vegetables, and bananas are not low in calories, even if they are zero PointsPlus, so it's something that I should probably not do every day.  Also, I was not hungry at 9, but just wanted to eat.  So I had a small bowl of shredded wheat with some soy milk.  Power Foods?  Yes.  But it's not good to eat just for the sake of eating.  I was satisfied before that snack, and didn't need it.

Tomorrow's Plan:
breakfast- oatmeal with soy milk and peaches
lunch- boca burgers, green beans, salad, evoo
dinner- brown rice, black beans, steamed veggies, evoo
snacks (only if hungry!)- Green Monster smoothie, fruit, veggies, Lara Bar
exercise- cardio for 6 AP (probably on the bike)

Sharing My Journal, Day 1

It's been a long time since I've shared my journal with you guys!  And since I've been slacking on the "Tasty Tuesday" threads, I figure that I'll make it up to you by sharing my food and exercise journal with you for a few days.  There will be pictures sometimes, but not for yesterday's unfortunately. 

There will be a few changes since my last shared journal, since my routine and my plan have changed.  For example, since I'm no longer counting PointsPlus for everything, as I am on the Simply Filling Technique of Weight Watchers, I will only list the PointsPlus values for foods that are not on the Power Foods list.  For Power Foods, I will put a "P".  :-)    I also have started to pre-track all APs in for the week in advance, so though it will look as if I've already earned 41 APs, most of those have yet to actually be earned.

Hope you enjoy my journal!

Food and Exercise Journal, May 10

time- food (PointsPlus)

8:00am- oatmeal (P), craisins (3), almonds (3)

12:15pm- whole grain cous-cous (P), kidney beans (P), tomatoes (P), evoo (P), pickles (0), NSA applesauce (P)

5:00pm- brown rice (P), garbanzo beans (P), steamed broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower (P), evoo (P)

6:45pm- Subway salad: all veggies except olives with vinegerette (1 for dressing)

9:30pm- 40 minutes on recumbent bike (+6)

10:15pm- shredded wheat (P), soy milk (P)

Points Summary:
WPA used: 4/4 (all WPA are now gone for the week)
AP earned: 6
AP used: 3/41 (41 APs are pre-tracked for my planned exercise for the week)

GHG Summary:
Fruits/Veggies- CHECK!
Healthy Oils- CHECK!
Lean Protein- CHECK!
Whole Grains- CHECK!
Activity- CHECK!
Sugar/Alcohol- CHECK!
Vitamins- NOPE...
Liquids- CHECK!

Lessons Learned:
I forgot breakfast at home.  I had a big bowl of oatmeal made with a sliced banana, and left it on the counter!  Usually I eat my oats at work.  Luckily, a co-worker had a packet of oatmeal to spare, and I had some samples from Curves (100 calorie packs of craisins and almonds, yum!) that I added to it.  It ended up being a pretty filling breakfast, even though I had to eat some PointsPlus that I had not planned to use.  Lesson: don't forget my breakfast, but it's okay to improvise in a pinch.

Today's Plan:
breakfast- oatmeal with soy milk and banana
lunch- leftovers from yesterday's lunch
dinner- leftovers from yesterday's dinner
snacks- bowl of shredded wheat, big salad, fruit
activity- Curves (+2), The Firm DVD (+7)

P.S. Curves is only a possibility right now, and The Firm was completed this morning!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Why am I jealous of the fad dieters?

Lately, I have found myself jealous of people who are on a diet.  By "diet", I mean a fad diet.  By "fad diet", I mean a diet that asks its participants to believe that there are good foods and bad foods, and that you should NEVER eat the bad foods.  Or a diet that at first you have to eliminate the "bad" foods, only to start slowly adding them back in once you've lost all of the weight.

Diets that I'm jealous of:
The Dukan Diet (I actually almost bought this one!)
The 17 Day Diet
Fat Smash Diet

I'm most jealous of people who are on the Dukan Diet.  It sounds like such a crazy fad diet!  It's simular to The South Beach Diet in that it has 4 phases.  It's simular to Atkins in that it asks the dieter to completely eliminate carbs, even if only for a short while.  It's simular to Weight Watchers only in its last phase, which is "everything in moderation" plus one Atkins-y day a week.

If you want to read about it more, just Google or Bing.  There's tons out there.

Weight Watchers is better.  100% better.  Weight Watchers is an "everything in moderation" diet, which is what I think most people really crave.  Weight Watchers encourages healthy carbs, but allow the dieter to choose unhealthy carbs in moderation, too. 

So why am I jealous of the fad dieters?

Because I know that I'll never "need" to go on another diet as long as I live.  I know that all of that is part of my past now.  I know that Weight Watchers is how I'll eat forever.  And letting go of something that has been such a big part of my life, even something as unhealthy as fad dieting, is a little sad.

The fad dieters don't get it yet.  And I didn't used to get it, either.  And a part of me wishes that I could be wooed by the promises that the Dukan Diet gives me (never be hungry again!  Get to your true weight by June 5!).  And to be honest:  I almost was.

Weight Watchers (everything in moderation) works.  No need for fads.

disclaimer: All diets, including fad diets, DO WORK if the dieter is willing to stay on the diet forever.  Some people consider Weight Watchers to be a fad diet, too.  This post is not to demean any diet;  Do what works for you!  :-)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Two Years later...

On Saturday, May 9, 2009... I took the plunge. I signed up for Weight Watchers online.

I was skeptical, since I had tried WW before and it "didn't work".

I was also excited to eat carbs again! I had just ended an attempt at The South Beach Diet, and it was killing me. Plus, my brother Joel had just made lifetime, and he looked fantastic (still does!).

I was so sick of being fat. I felt miserable most of the time. Whenever I was smiling, it was only on the outside. To be fair, this was not just about my weight. I was depressed about a lot, which contributed to my weight gain, which contributed to my depression. It was a vicious cycle.

So, after I realized that I could not do South Beach one more day, I decided to join Weight Watchers. At first, it was just on paper. I didn't really follow WW until some time in June. But, I took that first step on May 9, 2009.

Two years!!!! Two years ago, I weighed 220 pounds and was ridiculously depressed about my life and my future.

Today: I weigh 146 pounds (down 74, baby!) and am ridiculously happy and optimistic about my life and my future.

The weight loss has definately contributed to my happiness, I'm not going to lie. With weight loss came more self-confidence. With more self-confidence, I was able to slowly but surely drag myself out of a deep depression, and start making positive changes in my life.

Two years on Weight Watchers!!! Woo-hoo!!!

I'll celebrate this day every year for the rest of my life. May 9th is a good day indeed.

art: by Lisa Frank ;-)

Friday, May 6, 2011

52 Days Till Summer Challenge!

A couple of days ago, I joined the "52 Days Till Summer Challenge" on Dancing Through Life, which is a great blog that I follow.  If you don't read that blog and you love Weight Watchers blogs, I highly recommend taking a looksie! Ashley is an amazing blogger.  :-)

It's a great blog!

If you click on the link, you can read all about the challenge!  However, for those of you who would rather just read about it right here, I'll copy and paste some of the post, plus give a basic summary for you.

It's just a weight loss/getting healthy challenge to motivate people to JUST DO IT.  Especially people who have either A) fallen off the wagon or B) lost some motivation lately. 

I fall between these categories, because lately I've been a bit off-plan with the Simply Filling Technique (re: I haven't been listening to my hunger signals AT ALL) and I am getting demotivated with how long these last pounds are taking to come off.

Here was the first challenge of the challenge, which was due today:

"To recap this week’s challenge:

1. Develop your list of reasons and commitments. Print it off and put it somewhere where you can see it every day. In your wallet. At your desk. In the space next to your bedroom door. Just post it and read them every day. And start working towards them!

2. Get moving! Give yourself a sticker every day you work out.

3. Sign up! Leave me a comment so I know you’re doing this with me "

I'm excited about this challenge because it came at such a great time for me!  I really needed some extra "oomph" from someone, and Ashley gave it to me.  :-) 

Ashley asked today:
"How was your week? How did you find the challenge? Did you come up with some compelling reasons that truly resonate with you? What are your commitments? How did you begin to work them into your life?"
Here was my response:

My reasons:

1) health! Time to be the healthiest I've ever been; if not now, then when?

2) my goal jeans. Yep, I have a pair of goal jeans, size 10s that I have dreamt of fitting back into since I started this WLJ as a size 20. I'm almost into a 12 now;  I'm making real progress with this one!

3) NYC skinny. This one is definately the most vain goal I have, but I'm planning to be a New Yorker within the next few years, and I want to be one of the skinny and beautiful ones. (size 10 skinny, not size 0 skinny)

These all resonate equally with me, and are at the forefront of my mind every time I make a healthy or less than healthy decision.


1) Stick to the Power Foods as much as I can! (I'm on the SFT, so this one is getting easier)

2) Don't eat junk food just because I can. Only eat it if it's what I REALLY WANT

3) Exercise 6 days a week, increase the time now that school's out for the summer

I don't think it's too late to join in on the challenge!  I'll be updating my progress on Fridays, since that's when Ashley is going to be doing the challenge check-ins.  Woo-hoo for my first blog challenge from another blog!!! 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Things I've learned from going back to school...

Well, it's official:  I went back to school.  Not only did I go back to school, but I finished an entire semester.  Not only did I finish an entire semester, I finished an entire FULL-TIME semester.  Not only did I finish an entire full-time semester, I did it while still working full-time.

Me on the first day of class: Ready to go!
I thought it may be fun to write up a list of things I've learned from this experience.  I know that I will leave several things out, because I truly feel that I've learned that many things!  I'm going to stick to what I've learned about myself, about life, and about college in general; not bore you to tears with my newfound knowledge of American Government and International Relations.  :-) 

The Top Eleven Things I Learned
from my First Semester Back!

11) I can write really well.  This is something that I used to know, but had forgotten.  It's one of those things that comes naturally to me, so I assume that it's easy for everyone.  Turns out that every professor told me that I was a great writer.  I got 100's on nearly every assignment that was mostly writing.  Yay, something that I am good at!!!

10) Essay questions rule. Multiple choice questions confuse me. For my entire life, I have thought the exact opposite.  I think that I am one who can BS my way through an essay.  Usually by the middle of my BS answer, I realize that I actually do know what I'm talking about.  With multiple choice, there is no room for BS or epiphanies.

9) Flash cards work.  Fundamental for a reason.  I used flashcards for preperation for nearly every exam.  Not that I did well on every exam, but for the questions that were about the key terms, I knew every single one!  I definately will keep up with the flash cards next semester.

8) I am not annoyed by all 18 and 19 year olds.  This one came as quite a shock to me, as I was terrified in the beginning that I would be surrounded by them in my freshman-level classes.  And they were everywhere, but 3/4 of my classes were a good mixture of traditional and non-traditional (re: young/living on campus, and old/ living independently) students.  They youngn's weren't terrible to be around.  In fact, I found myself rooting for them to succeed, and for their first time in college to be the time that sticks.

7) I'm still pretty young.  26 isn't THAT old to be a freshman. 

6) I love the label "student" just as much as I thought I would!  Now whenever I get asked what I do, I quietly and quickly say my day job (administrative assistant) and then loudly say, "and student at the University of Memphis."

5) I am terrible at balancing things in my life.  Come to think of it, I already knew this one.  College has quickly become my number one priority, boyfriend and immediate family are a close second, work is a distant third, keeping the house clean is only a memory now, and friends and extended family have not existed for me for months.  Terrible, I know.  Time to apologize for neglecting important people (like my 9-year-old Goddaughter, whom I haven't seen since December!) and take advantage of the summer break.

4) Going back to school was not hard to do.  It was just one small step at a time, starting back in the beginning of 2010, when I realized that I needed to JUST DO IT if I ever wanted a degree.  One call here, one internet search there, a few forms, lots of time and patience, and wah-la, I was enrolled and had a nice financial aid package. 

3) Going back to school was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life!  Sure, getting enrolled wasn't as hard as I thought it would be, but actually learning the material and doing well on the exams and not going completely insane with the pressures of full-time work and full-time school simulaneously?  Nearly impossible in the beginning.  By the end of the semester, I had a good routine going and things had gotten better, but it was still HARD.  I'm thrilled to have a summer break before it all starts over again in the fall.

2) I am so stinkin' proud of myself that I could pinch my own cheeks.  Seriously: I am done with one full semester of college!  This is the very first time in my life that I get to say that.  I have taken classes here and there, and attempted this feat several times in the past.  This is it.  This is the time that it's going to stick.  This is the real beginning of my professional future.  I'm going to get a degree in Political Science from The University of Memphis!!!  One semester down, 6 or 7 to go. 

1) The only person who stands in the way of me accomplishing my goals is ME.  And I'm done standing in my own way.  Time to embrace the wonderful-ness that is LEAH K. NEW and see exactly what I'm capable of doing with my life.  I have a feeling that I will keep on surprising myself in good ways.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Roll-up Bites!

This is what happens when I brainstorm to find a low point chocolate snack: pure genius.

It is low in points, easy to make, and tastes like it's bad for you.  ;-)  Perfect for my current PMS status.

Step 1:  Gather your ingredients
1 tablespoon Peanut Butter & Co. Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter
1 low carb high fiber tortilla
1 packet of Splenda (optional)
 Step 2: Spread peanut butter all over tortilla, sprinkle Splenda on top (if using)
 Step 3: Roll up tightly!
 Step 4: Cut up into bite-size pieces
 Step 5: Microwave for 25 seconds (optional, but it makes it ooey and delicious!)
Step 6: Lick excess peanut butter off of tablespoon.  (Doesn't everyone do this? Like my PJs?) 
Close-up of a bite!
Entire roll: 4 PointsPlus

Get to Goal in 2011! Update.

Just wanted to do an update on how my big challenge of 2011 is going so far. 

Weight loss has been s-l-o-w in 2011.  It's weird to me that I haven't even really noticed this until now.  I've lost 11.1 pounds in 2011 so far.  And I'm thrilled about it!
Two years ago, I would have been upset that it's taking "this long" to get to my goal weight.  Now, almost two years into my weight loss journey/diet/lifestyle change/what-have-you, I see things so much more clearly. 

I am 100% committed to getting to my goal weight and staying there forever (well, child-bearing and menopause aside).  I no longer see my goal weight as "the end" of my "diet".  I am doing what I have to do to get this weight off, and keep it off.

On January 1, 2011, I had 22.6 pounds left to lose.  Now I only have 11.5 left to lose.  I am 1 and a half pounds away from being able to say this sentence:  "I've lost 75 pounds!!!"  And that will be so cool to say.  :-)  Today, I can say something nearly equally as cool-sounding:  "I've lost 73 and a half pounds!"

As of now, I'm aiming to lose .6 a week as a flexible goal that will get me down to my goal weight of 135 by my birthday on October 7.  I lost .3 last week, which is amazing considering how much overeating I did. 

Just wanted to update you all on how my challenge is going!

FYI:  I added labels to all of my blog entries!  Finally.  :-)  Now it's easy to find certain entries if you need or want to.  Doing this also was a great way to check in with myself and see how things are going with this blog.  I definately haven't blogged about The Kind Diet in way too long.  Also, I think it's almost time to do another 5-7 days of "sharing my journal" for you guys.  It will help me to get back on track, too. 

For now, stay tuned for Tasty Tuesday tomorrow night!