50 Day Christmas Challenge

My WordPress buddy who I swear is my long lost sister since we are so much alike, has been posting some monthly challenges and experiments lately.  She’s a wine lover and decided to give up alcohol for 1 month to see if it would help in weight loss.  She also just did an intermittent fasting challenge.  Check out her blog.  It’s really inspiring!  So inspiring, she has motivated me to make a blog post and I haven’t touched this blog since December 26th of LAST year!  And I used to love blogging.  Hmmm, wonder what’s up with that?!

Anyway, I have this little countdown app on my phone and I used it to count down the days until my last marathon.  It was the Marine Corps Marathon and I ran it on October 28th.  It was a wonderful experience and my hubby and I had a nice vacation.  He hadn’t been to DC before and we did all the touristy things.  We had a ball!  I promise.  I’ll write up a race review ASAP!   But for starters, here’s our celebration photo.  Ron ran the 10k that day and had time to shower and nap while I finished up the marathon.  LOL

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Getting back to the app, when I went in to amend it, I found that I could pick any date on my calendar.  I randomly picked Christmas since I don’t have another race until next spring.  I watched the little app count down last week and I realized it would be getting close to 50 days out soon and an idea popped into my head.

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What if I did a 50 day challenge!!!  But what could it be?  I had already told my running coach and running friends I was taking a break from running.  My original plan was to take all of November off.  What would happen if I took December off to?  I remember last year I had a January marathon and I loved it so much because it kept me focused all through the holidays.  Maybe I could use the 50 day challenge to keep me focused this year?

I adore Lindsay at Happy Herbivore and she preaches that “abs are made in the kitchen.”  You know, the whole you can’t outrun a bad diet manta.

abs

So that was it.

I was getting burned out on running and I was ready to take a hiatus from it.  I have some IT band issues that need more time to heal too.

Here’s the plan:

  1. Beginning today and for the next 50 days, I’m going to follow Lindsay Nixon’s slimming options. I’m not going to cheat and eat candies, breads, chips, and vegan junk food.  I’m really going to eat clean!
  2. 64 ouces of H2O daily! It’s happening!
  3. I’m not going to run or do any of the boot camp exercise groups that I adore. No long and vigorous exercise sessions.  I’m going to focus on yoga, push-ups, and planks.  Probably 15 minutes a day or so.
  4. Along with these, I’m going to try and add some good habits. First up is flossing my teeth nightly.  I do it religiously for a while and then I don’t.   I really want to make it a habit that will stick.  After about 2 weeks, I’m going to add getting enough sleep to the agenda.  7+ hours minimum.  I’m so bad at staying up late and then getting up at the crack of dawn.  No more.  Sleep is so crucial to good health!  Then after another 2 weeks or so, I’m going to add on making sure my sink is clean every night.  My hubby and I are so bad about leaving dishes!  We rinse them out but we don’t take that extra step to unload the dish washer so we can put the dirty ones in.

So there you go.  My Christmas present to me.  In 50 days I hope to be a lean, strong, flexible, rested, push-up machine that just happens to have healthy gums and a clean kitchen!    Ha!

What gift would you like to give yourself this year?  Do you like countdown apps?  Are you a list maker?

Thanks so much for spending time out of your day with me.  I pray your holiday season is joyous!

Melissa

 

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Weight Loss Roller Coaster

Uggghhhhhhh!

Oh the journey of weight loss!  What a roller coaster it is for me.

Disclaimer:  Keep in mind that I’m not a doctor.  All information on my blog is my own ideas and experiences and is not intended to be a substitute for consultation with a doctor or healthcare provider.  I cannot accept any responsibility for any adverse effects resulting from this post or any post on A Handful of Spinach.

First of all, what I have come to finally realize is that there are many different paths to follow and many ways to achieve your healthy weight.  The Paleo’s can get you there and I really believe they have an awesome program.  For me the “nothing processed” is the way to go.  Dr. Fuhrman can get you there.  Dr. McDougall can get you there.  Whole 30 can get you there.  Weight Watchers can get you there.  Just cutting out sodas and desserts can get the lucky ones there.

You get the idea.  I’m finding that you have to find the plan that works for you and stick with it.  None of them will get you there if you give up and resort back to your old habits.  Most often just choosing “this not that” and doing what you can when you can “wycwyc” are the little healthy steps that can lead up to a whole new life over a long period of time.

I’ve tried nearly every single plan you can name.  I was an Atkins girl in the 90’s, a WW girl early in this century, and for the past 5.5 years I’ve been an on again off again vegetarian and vegan.  I keep coming back to vegetarian and vegan diets for ethical reasons.  I love cheese but I hate the dairy industry.  I cannot look at a pig and for one second think about eating them.  Factory farming gives me nightmares!

However, I can totally take the approach shown in the movie Avatar, and if you give honor to the animal and kill humanely, I’m ok with that.  Salmon Fish Farms, NO but my brother in law’s fresh catch of the day from a beautiful Missouri lake, YES.  Eggs from the normal factories where the hens never touch their feet to grass, NO, but eggs from my neighbor’s backyard chicken coop, YES.

That’s my view on the subject of weight loss.  However, I want the weight loss to come off fast and be easy to maintain.

28 days ago I embarked on yet another weight loss experiment.  I’m going to go ahead and put the numbers out there for your reference but please note this scale disclaimer.

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I started off at 153.  I brought it down 5 pounds to 148 by just being mindful and cutting out the desserts and too many breads.  At 148 I started Chef AJ’s weight loss program.  I do need to say that I did not purchase her complete program and only took bits and pieces of her advice from what I could get for free on the internet.  So, this may not be a true experiment.

Anyway, what she preaches for weight loss is no sugar, no salt, no oil, and no nuts.  She explains about caloric density and how to try and get the healthiest volume of food to fill your stomach for the lowest calories.  A pound of most veggies is only 100 calories vs. a pound of oil at 4000 calories.   On her program, I could have all the fruits, veggies, and whole grains that I wanted but I needed to consume 2 pounds of cooked greens before the other choices.

In one week I had lost 8 pounds and made it down to 140 pounds.  I was on cloud 9!

Things that I learned that I could do that I never thought I could change:

  • I had steamed broccoli and cauliflower for breakfast and didn’t have my normal smoothies or oatmeal. Yes, steamed greens for breakfast.  Believe it or not it is possible and they are so filling!
  • I learned that I really didn’t have to sauté onions and garlic in oil. You can put just a little bit of veggie broth or plain water and sauté’ just fine.
  • I learned that I COULD live without the salt shaker. I am now a recovered salt-a-holic .  I found some delicious salt free spicy seasoning, some salt free mustard, and a very low salt salsa that flavor things deliciously.

After that 1st week, I gained back 2 pounds and I think it had to be the fact that I stopped concentrating on the 2 pounds of greens daily. For weeks 2-3, I let myself by with only 12 ounces and sometimes as little as 8 ounces.  At the end of week 3, I splurged and went out to brunch at a restaurant.  I had a Thai peanut bowl and even though I didn’t eat the peanuts, the creamy sauce did me in.  I also had a good amount of noodles later that night.  At the beginning of week 4 I was at 146!  I was heartbroken.  After all that work I was close to where I started.

My husband had similar results.  He lost a lot in the beginning and then he stopped eating so many greens and the weight loss stalled.  He stopped the program after 21 days and is now back to Paleo.

I’ve stuck it out and this week has been better.  I’m back down to 142.  My good friend sent me this article and I’ve discovered that I’m actually large boned.  According to this, my idea racing weight may be somewhere around 130-135 pounds.  (65 inches tall x 2 = 130 + 5 more for being big boned)  I don’t think I’ve seen a number on the scale below 140 in probably over 24 years and I have no idea how I’m ever going to get there.

I do know that on vacation next week that I will have some sugar.  I can’t go to Millennium and not try a dessert.  I’ll probably have some salt.  I’ll probably have a glass of wine and a craft beer and maybe even a mixed drink or two.   I might even have some meat.  (We’ll be with Ron’s family for some of the trip and I never want to be “that vegan person.”)  I am all about modeling a healthy lifestyle and not being so preachy preachy.

After vacation I plan on focusing on getting more protein after all my morning runs but still staying away from the sugar and oil.  I plan to stay away from drinking my calories (i.e. smoothies) and to try and stay away from too many grains.

My biggest commitment for after vacation is to go back to the track.  Ron at 50+ Runner does a track workout very often and he has inspired me to work my way back to 8×400’s.  I’ll still be in the middle of my 50 mile training after vacation and that plan calls for merely getting as many miles as possible under my feet.  But I can’t wait until after September 26th and my 50 miler.  I’m itching now to focus on speed.

Happy Running everyone.  I’ll post my San Francisco race recap as soon as possible after my return to NC in August.  I’m California bound in T-15 hours.