Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I'm selfish!!!

Yep, I said it.  I, Leah K. New, am a selfish person.

I do things all the time that are for ME, and ME only!

I quit smoking, and have stayed quit for over 2 years.  This is totally selfish on my part, since I wanted to save some money by not buying cigarettes every day.  Also, selfish because I will most likely live longer, which will benefit me greatly!  Oh yeah, plus fewer wrinkles supposedly, and whiter teeth.  Selfish, selfish, selfish.

I lost over 70 pounds with diet and exercise!!!  Another selfish endeavor of mine.  I lost the weight because I was sick of being fat.  I wanted to feel pretty and confident and I knew that for me, losing weight would really help with those things.

A side effect of all this weight loss is that I'm probably healthier, and far less likely to get any of those obesity-related diseases. 

I'm also much stronger!  And I have more endurance.  I feel much more energetic, much happier, and more excited about my life than ever before, and I believe that a lot of this is a direct result of my dieting and exercising my way from 220 to the mid 140's. 

Selfish, I tell you.  SELFISH!!!  Who does all of that stuff benefit right now?  ME!!!!!!!!

I went back to school!  It took a lot of patience, a lot of courage, and a lot of money (all to be paid back at some time in the future...), but I did it. 

I'm back in school.  Yesterday started my first semester as a college sophomore.  After being a freshman on-and-off for 8 years, it feels great to have graduated past that status and into sophomore territory.  I feel like I'm finally making progress towards the goal of getting an education!

I decided fairly recently (some time last year) that I want to go into law.  That's why I'm a Political Science major, and why I have to do ridiculously well (to get into an awesome East Coast law school for free...?). 

I'm going to make MONEY.  I'm going to have SUCCESS.  I'm going to live in NEW YORK CITY.

Can I say "selfish" one more time?

What has all of this selfish behavior done for the rest of the world?  Who knows???  It's possible that my good health will keep me alive longer for loved ones, including future hypothetical children of mine.  It's possible that my going back to school will result in my becoming a major political player that makes a huge difference in the world. 

My overall happiness has probably improved the lives of those closest to me, just because they don't have to hear me complaining all the time anymore.  ;-)

All I need to know about this selfish-ness:  It's made me a better person.  It's made me happier.  It's given me hope.

Lesson to be taken from this blog post:  BE SELFISH.  It's okay to spend a big chunk of time (or ALL of your time in some cases) focusing on yourself and your own goals. 

How have you been selfish lately?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Weaning myself off the scale...

I have been having some serious thoughts about my body and my weight. And wondering if I'm ready to be done with the scale.

[image source]

The biggest reason that I am thinking of ditching the scale is this: I lost 1.3 pounds last week.

Good news, right?

I thought so too, until I was trying on some jeans on Sunday, and found out that they are too tight for comfort. These are the size 12's that had been fitting me like a glove recently... but now I've gained a bit of stomach fat, despite losing 1.3 pounds and am back up to size 14's fitting like a glove and size 12's being zip-able but uncomfortable.

So, the scale can definately be misleading.

I'd rather focus on how my clothes fit than the scale, since I have obviously lost some muscle and gained some fat over the last few weeks (less exercise than normal, more comfort foods than normal, etc.).

I'm not quite ready to give up on the scale completely yet.  I am going to do this in baby steps, since I've spent 15 years being preoccupied with the number on the scale.

My 12 month plan for
getting rid of the scale-

1) From now until October 7 (my 27th birthday), continue weighing in weekly.  Keep on trying to get down to 138-142.

2) Starting October 7, switch from weekly weigh-ins to every other week for 12 weeks.  Keep on trying to get down to 138-142 if not yet there.

3) Starting at the beginning of 2012, drop back to monthly weigh-ins with monthly tape measurements, focusing more closely on the tape measure and how my jeans fit than the number on the scale.  Work to maintain the weight of 138-142.

4) July 2012 - final scheduled monthly weigh-in.  Keep up with the monthly tape measuring, but no more mandatory weigh-ins.  Place scale in closet.

5) August 2012 - I will be free from the scale!!!  Hopefully I will have been maintaining a healthy weight for at least a year at this point, and am in the size jeans that makes me feel great (10 or 12).  Weigh in only if I really feel that I need to (after a vacation or if my jeans start feeling tight!  If that happens and I've gained, go back to weekly or bi-monthly weigh-ins until back at my goal weight range of 138-142).
jumping for joy!
[image source]

Have you ever thought about ditching the scale?

P.S. New diet plan is going great so far!!!  I'm loving how healthy and yet how flexible it is! 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

My (very experimental) new diet plan

It's so new, it's still shiny and smells like new car.  It's so exciting that it deserves bold and capitol letters.  It's...

My New Diet Plan!!!!!!!!!!

It's still very rough-draft, and it doesn't have a name.  So, I'll call it: 

Healthy-ish Semi-Intuitive Vegan Eating! 

Never mind, I'm going back to "it doesn't have a name".

I just needed something new, you know?  Just to get my head back in the game.  I had definately been falling out of healthy living for a few weeks.  And then, right when I was getting back on track after gaining a couple of pounds, I got sick and then my awesome brother visited (at the same time, actually...) and so I just have been feeling kind of "blah" about diet and exercise.

Enter- A New Diet Plan. 

Actually, what I'm about to describe to you probably won't sound very revolutionary to you, because it's pretty much a combination of things that have worked for me in the past.  It's very simular to the Weight Watchers Core/Simply Filling Technique in some ways, and has a few Intuitive Eating ideas thrown in.  Also, there is still some calorie-counting involved.  Oh yeah, and EXERCISE is still important. 

There are 7 Rules.  I will be following each and every one of these and will adjust them as needed, depending on how well this does or doesn't work.  Also, I will be using something that is very important when doing pretty much anything:  Common Sense.

Rule number 1:  Eat anything from the following two lists at any time, and always to satisfaction, no need to count calories for them.  Just listen to your hunger signals.

Healthy Foods
  • any and all vegetables (including fresh, frozen, and canned)
  • any and all fruits (including fresh, frozen, and canned)
  • any and all beans/lentils (including fresh, dried, and canned)
  • any and all whole grains
  • 100% whole grain bread
  • 100% whole grain pasta
  • tofu
  • seitan
  • tempeh
  • textured vegetable protein
  • any light or unsweetened dairy-free milk
  • air-popped popcorn
  • plain shredded wheat
Not-as-Healthy, but still O.K.
  • vegan veggie burgers
  • any fake meat product (as long as it's not drenched in sauce)
  • Lara Bars
  • vegan "cheese"
  • light bread
  • Wasa crackers
  • most condiments (no mayo or anything fattening)
  • pickles, unsweetened
  • calorie-free drinks
  • sugar free gum

Rule #2: Eat some healthy fats every day from the below list, maximum amounts listed. Again, no calorie-counting for these, unless you go over the amounts listed.

Healthy Fats
  • nut butter, 1 tablespoon
  • olive oil, 2 teaspoons
  • nuts, 1 ounce

Rule #3: You may eat up to one serving per day of each of the following, sans counting.

Special Snacks
  • Luna OR Cliff Bar (any natural food bar, really)
  • non-dairy yogurt
  • dried fruit
  • 100% fruit juice
Rule #4: Eat up to 1000 calories per week of anything outside of these lists. 

Rule #5: Choose 1 day per week that you eat entirely inutitively, ignoring ALL RULES on this list and eating whatever you wish but only to satifaction.

Rule #6: Exercise 6 days per week, 40-60 minutes per day.

Rule #7: Take a multivitamin daily, plus a B-12 supplement weekly.

Many things on the lists are foods that I don't regularly eat (vegan "cheese", tempeh, seitan, TVP, for example) but I felt the need to include them in the list because they are healthy-ish foods that I think one could eat to satisfaction.

What didn't make any of the lists and would have to go into that 1000 weekly calories or be eaten on Intuitive Eating day?  Chips, cookies, pizza, fries, Redvines, and any other foods that I'm just not willing to give up, even though they aren't the healthiest choices. 

Is Intuitive Eating day just an excuse to have the controversial "Cheat Day"?  No, not at all.  It is just a chance to truly practice IE, which is how I hope to eat all of the time some day.  For now, I need practice.  And since I still love Oreos and Ruffles, I need to the accountability of weekly calories (very much like WW's weekly points, yes?) and IE Day. 

I am on Day 2 right now, and loving this.  I have not even had to use any of those 1000 calories yet, because I'm so satisfied with all of the other foods.  I think that I will use those only if I truly want/need to.  I already have most foods that I already eat on the lists.

Anyway, I feel pretty vulnerable putting this all out there to you guys!  I hope that it helps to give you some ideas for healthy vegan eating, and that my rules aren't too confusing to read.

For now, I'm continuing to track everything on My Fitness Pal, even the foods that I don't have to count.  This is because I'm still experimenting with this plan and want to make sure that I don't go overboard with anything.  Yesterday, eating this way ending up being around 1700 calories total.

Please let me know if you have any questions or comments about my "new" plan!  :-)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Vegetarian, Vegan, Vegan-ish, Flexitarian, LABELS...

Warning:  possibly controversial post ahead, including personal definition of "vegan" and more!

Okay... let me just start out by saying that I consider myself to be a dietary vegan.  This means that I eat no animal products, but I am not a strict vegan outside of diet.  Meaning... there is beeswax in some of my beauty products, and I'm not sure how many of my cleaning products were tested on animals, nor am I 100% sure whether or not there is leather in my running shoes. 

As far as the diet goes, I do still occassionally eat some things with honey in the ingredients (Nature's Own light wheat bread has trace amounts, and I do eat that!) and I do eat some things that have disclaimers about being made on equipment that also processes milk, as long as there aren't any animal products in the actual ingredients.

So... many people would look at my diet and my life and tell me that I am not vegan.  And it's true, by some definitions, I am not vegan.

So why do I feel the need to label myself VEGAN...???

Mostly because it's easier than saying, "I don't eat meat (including fish), dairy, eggs, or anything derived from an animal, except for the occassional product that contains honey, which does come at the expense of bees, so I guess I'm not really vegan, but please don't serve me anything with lots of or trace amounts of meat, fish, dairy, eggs, or anything that comes directly from a mammal, bird, or fish." 

By my own definition, I am vegan, because my defintion of "animal product" doesn't include honey.  And yet I do try to avoid honey, the only exception that I make is on my favorite light wheat bread.

Anyway, my point here is that dietary labels aren't everything.  Dietary labels don't make or break any one of us.  And I'm pro-choice with most things, including diet.  If you eat mostly meat, great!  If you eat no meat, also great!  If you choose to eat only nuts and fruit, good for you!  If you eat a bit of everything, great!  If you have moral reasons for eating the way you eat, fabulous!  If you have no moral reasons behind your diet of choice, also fabulous!

We all have to do what best for ourselves, and call ourselves whatever we want to call ourselves.  I will probably say that the person who eats mostly meat shouldn't call themselves "vegetarian" but... if they really want to, is that hurting me?  No, not at all.  ;-) 

My label is "vegan".  And for whatever reason, I love having that label.  Don't try to take the label away from me, it won't work, because I own it. 

By the way, this post was inspired by a rather heated MFP forum debate that I somehow got myself into...  I hope that no one was offended by it!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

150 Followers GIVEAWAY - the WINNER!!!

I made a spreadsheet of all the entries, and was impressed with how many of you got the maximum 10 entries!  I think that almost everyone earned more than 1 entry, so THANK YOU to all who follow my blog and all who did everything else, including linking to my blog on your blog, Facebook, and Twitter. 

I love my blog readers!  You guys rock. 

Anyway, I don't have the energy to do a cutesy or creative winner post (still feeling under the weather, but a little better than yesterday!), so I will just tell you that according to random.org (and I agree!) the winner of my 150 Followers Giveaway is................




Dana Jill Love!

Congratulations to Dana!!!!!

Dana, please email me at leahthekindweightwatcher@gmail.com to let me know your shipping information as well as your choices for a book and a DVD.

Thanks to all who entered, and I will be doing another giveaway at 250 followers. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tasty Tuesday!

First of all, another reminder (maybe the final one!) to enter my 150 Followers Giveaway!!! Entries will be accepted until 5:00 pm central time tomorrow, August 10.

It's been a couple of weeks since I have done a Tasty Tuesday, so I thought that it was time to remember to take some pictures of my food!  Now...  oops, I totally forgot to bring it with me to work in the morning, so I once again have to just tell you my morning eats.  You'll just have to take my word for it.  ;-)

Breakfast: big bowl of PB&Syrup Oats!  Recipe: Nuke 1 cup old fashioned oats with 1 cup almond milk for 2 and a half minutes.  Stir in a tablespoon each of peanut butter and sugar free syrup.  450 calories.

Morning snack: Luna bar and extra small banana 252 calories

Lunch: Bean and veggie bowl- Recipe: 1/2 cup canned tomatoes, 1/2 cup kidney beans, 1/4 cup shredded carrots, 2 cups spinach steamed in microwave for 1 minutes, add 1 tsp EVOO and salt to taste.  224 calories

Afternoon snack #1: about a cup and a half of fresh cantaloupe! 83 calories

Afternoon snack #2: my newest obsession- So Delicious Coconut Yogurt in vanilla 140 calories
Dinner: 4 cups of steamed broccoli and cauliflower, 1/2 cup black beans, 1 cup brown rice 514 calories

not pictured post-dinner snack: 2 soft tortillas 140 calories

Unfortunately, I started to feel under the weather this afternoon, and that has only gotten worse!  Now I have a sore throat, runny nose, and a fever.  :-(  So needless to say, I am skipping tonight's planned workouts (6 Week 6 Pack + some time on the bike) to go to bed early and to spend a lot of time with these guys:

Diva's a great sick buddy!
Today's totals- 1663 total calories eaten - 169 calories exercised (I counted some housework towards exercise today, don't judge me!) = 1494 net calories

Well, I'm off to bed.  Hopefully tomorrow I'll feel better and be back on track with my exercise!

Monday, August 8, 2011

A gain, and a plan...

First of all, another reminder to enter my 150 Followers Giveaway!!!  Entries will be accepted until 5:00 pm central time Wednesday, August 10.  YAY for giveaways!

And now, what you've all been waiting for...  my weigh-in results.  I was up a whopping 2.6 pounds on Saturday morning's weigh-in, bringing my weight back up to a solid 149. 

[image source]

Somehow, I wasn't upset by this.  I knew that I would be up, and I know how to fix it.  This wasn't a "mystery" gain. 

Anyway, I thought that it had been awhile since I had shared what my eating and exercise plan is on here, so I'm going to tell you basically what worked for me to lose 7 pounds in July, which is what I have been back to doing since around Thursday. 

Basically, Monday through Friday I eat simular foods.  Here's a breakdown of what I eat through the work week, which can vary slightly:

breakfast- oatmeal made with almond milk, topped with peanut butter and syrup 300-500 calories

morning snack- either A) bar (Luna or Lara) with a piece of fruit, or B) almonds with a piece of fruit 200-300 calories

lunch- whole grains (either brown rice, barley, or oats), beans, tomatoes, EVOO, steamed spinach, carrots (all mixed in bowl), sometimes skipping the whole grain if I forgot to cook it... 300-500 calories

afternoon snack- (sometimes not hungry for this) same as morning snack usually OR some Coconut yogurt 0-300 calories

dinner- brown rice, beans, lots of steamed veggies, EVOO 400-600 calories

evening snack- different every day.  Usually something sweet under 200 calories

So you can see that through the work-week, I'm eating anywhere from 1300 calories to 2000+ calories, depending on my choices, and depending on how much I exercise.  I try to always have a net calories (calories eaten - calories exercised) between 1300 and 1500.

My weekend plan looks like this:

Saturday- Practice Intuitive Eating for a day.  Eat when hungry, don't track, and enjoy food and exercise however I wish, for one day a week. 

Sunday- Back to tracking, but still no set plan.  Don't worry too much about getting in certain amounts of veggies or vitamins, just focus on calories and enjoying food and exercise today.

Now, I know that to some people my Saturday may look like the controversial "cheat day" but really, it's not!  I hope to one day be a full time intuitive eater, so for now practicing IE one day a week has been great!  And sometimes my IE day does turn into a day of "splurge" foods, but I figure it's as if I was still on Weight Watchers and just ate my weekly points all over the weekend, which was something that I did often. 

I don't really have an exercise plan, but I am about to start a new adventure with a new DVD!  I won a giveaway on my friend Jennifer's really cool blog a couple of weeks ago, and one of the things in my prize package is a workout DVD called "6 Weeks 6 Pack" with Jillian Michaels.

I am going to try to do this 30 minute workout 5 times a week!!!  3 weeks of Level 1 and 3 weeks of Level 2.  There will be before and after pictures of my abs, just FYI, that I will post in 6 weeks.  Perhaps I'll have a 6 pack?  LOL, I don't know, but I know that this will only help.  I plan to do this DVD plus 30 minutes of cardio through the week, and my usual cardio workouts with Stacey on the weekend.  One day of rest a week, or as needed.

So, there you have it.  That's my food and exercise plan for the foreseeable future, and hopefully the plan that will get me to my goal weight of 140 by my October 7th birthday!!!  9 pounds in 8 weeks...  Let's go!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Dreading the scale? ME????

Yes, me.  I'm dreading the scale.

[image source]
Tomorrow will be my first weigh-in in two weeks.  In those 14 days, about 10 of them were super-high-cal-bad-eating days.  So...  I'm positive that tomorrow's weigh-in will show a gain.

The good thing is that I can't remember the last time that I dreaded a weigh-in, so that must mean that this is the first time I've "messed up" in a while.

Of course, cliche as it is, I do see my weight loss journey as more of a lifestyle change than a diet, so it was unrealistic of me to think that I would never have a bad week.  And that's all this was, a bad week.  Life will have bad weeks here and there, and this was just one of them.

I've been back on track 100% since yesterday morning, and I'm already feeling better.

Tomorrow, there will be a gain.  That much I am certain of... but how big will it be?  That's the part that I am dreading to learn.  I will be happy if it's 2 pounds or less. 

Can you relate to this "dreading the scale" feeling that I'm having? 

And don't forget to sign up for my 150 Followers Giveaway if you haven't already!  Remember that entries will be accepted until August 10th at 5 p.m. central time.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

August 2010 vs. August 2011 (progress pictures)

First of all, don't forget to sign up for my 150 Followers Giveaway!!!

Yes, this is purely for self-esteem issues that I'm doing this.  I have been feeling kind of fat lately (which I realize makes no sense, since I am by no real definition "fat" unless you are comparing me to people thinner than me, and even then...  oops, tangent, SORRY!) and was inspired by my friend Katie's awesome blog to do some newer progress pictures.

Lots of pictures were taken at Stacey's 42nd birthday in August of 2010, and lots more were taken at his 43rd this last weekend.  So, here are some comparison shots.

August 2010

August 2011

August 2010

August 2011

August 2010

August 2011
August 2010

August 2011
There are definately some differences, since there are about 30-40 pounds between the two sets of photos.  I'm pretty pleased with my progress and I know that by his next birthday, these will be GOAL pictures. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

150 Followers GIVEAWAY!!!!!!!!!!

Before I get to the giveaway, let me just let you know what's been going on with me, just for those of you who are curious and who have asked.  ;-)

First, I've been out of town since Friday, which is one reason that I've been away from my blog.  The second (and biggest) reason that I've been away is that I have not been doing too well with my eating for about a week now. 

And because A (eating poorly) always leads to B (feeling like crap), I just have been very unmotivated to blog.

But today I'm back to both healthy eating AND blogging, so I'm feeling great!  Woo-hoo!

Anyway, now that I've made you read that, here's the GIVEAWAY!!!!!!!

It will be very simular to my "100 Followers GIVEAWAY" in that you get to choose your prize and the same 4 books will be options.  But I'm adding some DVDs to the mix and you get to choose both a book and a DVD!!!  I know, right?  WOW.

Note: U.S. entries only right now.  Maybe eventually I'll go international, but for now, I have to stick with the USA due to shipping costs. 

The winner will get 1 book and 1 DVD of their choice.  Woo-hoo!

Here are the options for books, copied straight from my first 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

And the three DVD options are here.  * Note that I have never used the 30 Day Shred, but I figure that there are so many positive reviews for it out there that it's okay to give away without a personal endorsement!  Plus, if the winner wants to choose it, then maybe I'll order myself one too and we can Shred together!  Awesome. 

 The Firm Weight Loss System: Ignite Calorie Burn
(Here's a link to my review of this DVD.)

(Here's a link to my review of this DVD.)

Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred

Okay, now for the FUN PART!  Here's how to enter.   As promised there are more chances to win this time!

1) Mandatory entry- Follow my blog! (for 1 entry)

2) Like my blog's Facebook page (for 2 more entries)
3) Link to my giveaway in your blog or on Facebook! (for 3 more entries)
4) Link to my giveaway on Twitter and mention me @LeahKNew but not required to follow me because I tend to retweet a lot of political stuff and celebrity gossip.  I know, I know... (for 4 more entries)

5) One more mandatory thing to mention- YOU MUST leave a comment on the giveaway, telling me which things you've done in #1-#4. 
That's a total possibility of 10 entries per person!  YAY!!!  :-) 
The winner will be announced Wednesday August 10th in the evening.  You can enter up until 5 p.m. central time on August 10.
Okay, let the entries begin!