Derailed Momentarily

Well, I've got good and bad news. I caught pneumonia and have just really been out of it the past two weeks. The good news is I lost a few pounds in the process. The bad news is I haven't kept up my entries on this site nor have I paid near as much attention to what I'm eating. I haven't been able to prepare nutritious food choices, go to the store, or really anything other than sit/lay down. I'm glad that I'm ending this pneumonia (starting to feel better today) on the lower end of the weight scale but realize there are several risks at play here. As my appetite returns, I run the risk of eating anything I want and having it start to add the pounds right back on. And since I've been out of the habit of recording food eaten on my app, haven't been reading nutritional information to stay motivated, haven't been getting exercise and haven't been doing regular blog entries, I am not in the best position moving forward unless I make immediate adjustments.

Getting sick right after the Europe trip was really a bummer as I was ready to get back into the patterns that were working for me before the trip, but then abandoned them when I got sick. The sad thing is, I would probably have gotten over this illness much more quickly if I had taken tons of antioxidants into my system like I would have had I kept up the high-quality eating.

In any case, one thing I have learned through this experience so far this year is that the past doesn't matter as much as what I do today. I've known people, myself included, who have lost 50 lbs or even 100 lbs through a combination of restrained eating, better food choices and exercise, but then they feel like they've accomplished something so major that they can celebrate by eating more leniently. And the pounds start to come back on, 5 lbs at a time. I've done that so many times.

I've also done the opposite, where I feel like since I'm doing so poorly in recent times, I might as well continue the streak of eating poorly...thinking "what's the use?" In both cases, thinking of the past is harmful, as opposed to thinking of today. I am learning to start to focus just on can I make the best choices in the context I am in today? And I think 100 todays will add together to make a successful tomorrow.


Noticed a bit of progress today. I went to the grocery store late in the evening, after skipping lunch, and was very hungry. Not a good decision usually, as it probably wasn't today. But here are a few things I noticed:

  • I was mentally kind of looking for an excuse to eat junk ... "I deserve it after a long day and it wouldn't be so bad because I've hardly had much to eat today"
  • I was in a setting where "no one would know." In the past, this has involved me purchasing junk and eating it before going home
  • I am in a habit of buying things at the store to consume on the drive home, whether healthy or less healthy

But, as I wandered the store, deciding what to buy, my cravings were not for the high-sugar, highly-processed or high-sodium items. I wasn't tempted for ice cream, chips, candy or crackers, but more for granola, health-food peanut butter with dark chocolate, juice, etc. In some ways I thought this was a good sign that my tasks and desires are changing when it comes to food. There have been times in the past where the cycle of buying and eating junk food at grocery and convenience food stores led me to consuming 1,000 - 3,000 calories all just off that one shopping experience, consumed entirely by the time I got home. Not this indulgence led me to some all-fruit Popsicles, a bunch of frozen no-sugar-added fruits I can blend into smoothies, and a huge bottle of water.


You know, I have to remind myself that when I started the clean eating changes back on 12/28/15, I made note that I was not going to get too excited about weight loss progress (pounds coming off), nor was I going to get too worried about lack of weight loss progress, as long as I was eating clean. 

I have to keep that in mind right now because after an exhilarating week last week where I dropped a pound a day, I seem now to have stabilized right around the 260 - 262 range, going up a few pounds from when I broke into the 250s. I have to admit that it is difficult not to panic...I mean, I'm eating steamed Brussel's Sprouts for dinner and passing up the meat and dairy based foods, but then seeing the scale either not move down at all or move up by a pound or just doesn't feel right.


Frustrated with myself this morning. Weighed in at 252 lbs, and I understand there will be ups and downs in my weight based on a number of factors, but I have not done things to help myself this past week very much. I, once again, ate food right before bed last night, and once again was too liberal about what constitutes "yellow" food and how much to eat. 

I had steak, more than I planned on eating, for dinner. It was high in sodium and is clearly a yellow food, but I kept on eating it rather than only eating the amount on my plate. I also ate lemon blueberry pancakes that Bekah got out for lunch. And I even put maple syrup on them, which is either a yellow or a red food, and yet I kept eating them. And then Kathy made Strawberry bread and I nibbled at that, with the nibbles turning into eating pieces of it. So, overall, I had a day of eating much more yellow food and probably some red, rather than making it to the 80% green target.  

The lack of fresh vegetables, especially greens, in my diet this past week is really telling. I feel less hydrated and more like eating starchy foods. I also have done poorly at planning out what to eat in advance, compared with other weeks. I will get both of these back on track this week and pair them with exercise. My goal is to walk at least 5,000 steps per day each day this week and to do at least one exercise routine through an app each evening this week. 


Well, I have mixed feelings about how yesterday went. Once again, I had low consumption of fresh vegetables (but did fine with getting enough fresh fruit). I can feel the difference though--I feel like I have less water in my system and like I am retaining more puffiness from the food.

I missed lunch and was pretty hungry by dinnertime. Kathy and I ate at a Japanese fast food restaurant on our date, and I stuck with the healthier options -- brown rice, steamed veggies, extra vegetables, fruit juice for a drink, etc. The only thing that wasn't so good was the green curry sauce, which had a lot of salt in it. But, overall, especially in light of being hungry, I did pretty well.  

Then we went to a movie, and I brought snacks ahead of time that are healthier. So, that part went well also. The part I'm frustrated with this morning is, after we came home from the movie, I ate the crust of two slices of pizza that we had ordered for the kids while we were gone. I was a little hungry, but not enough that I should have eaten, and certainly not a starchy, yellow-ish light food that has a surprising amount of sodium in it. I also drank a no-calorie Splenda-sweetened so do and ate some peach fruit-only jam. All in all, it felt more like a craving-induced snack. The late hour and the high ratio of yellow-light foods made it something I shouldn't have done.  It just felt more indulgent than nutritious. I did the same thing the night before, so I need to stop this in its tracks and not allow it to form a habit.


Slept in late again this morning. The alarms went off at 5:30 - 5:45 and no one woke up. We've been getting much less sleep since the kids have been back to their school schedule (with Ryan having Seminary at 6:30 every morning), so we've been getting up to ready family scriptures together at 5:45 each morning. The late start led to me getting right to work as quickly as I could, which led to me just eating a banana for breakfast. Now, it is 12:10pm and all I've eaten for the day so far is a banana. I need to get up and go find sometimes more to eat so I don't get too weak. 

My blood pressure has been pretty good recently, with a whole string of readings below 120/80. So, I cut my Atenolol blood pressure medicine down to 25mg for one of the two doses per day, leaving the other at 50mg. That seems to have raised it back up just a bit as I've now been getting readings between 120-130 for the top number and between 80-90 for the bottom number. I notice the cleaner I eat and the more hydrated I am, the better these readings tend to be. I need to keep up the good eating and drinking lots of water and see how it responds on this new level of medicine. 

I am starting to get worried about eating on our upcoming 3 week vacation. Two of the weeks are a cruise -- to Italy and Spain -- and the remaining week is a tour of some other European countries, including France and England. Kathy indicated on our registration forms that I need a diet low in sodium, cholesterol and sugar, but Norweigian Cruise Lines operate using a freestyle dining system, meaning you aren't just going to the same dining room every day to eat, so I am not sure how they will keep track of dietary needs when they never know where or when I will be eating. But I suppose my greater concerns have to do with trying to justify myself in not maintaining my 80% green light, 20% yellow light and 0% red light food commitment. One or two steps down the slope of just indulging in whatever I want, since it is a vacation, and I will so easily tumble back into old patterns, put on 10-15 pounds and be right back where I started. So, I've got to come up with some good plans that balance a way to enjoy the freedoms of vacation while also eating healthy foods. And I want to consciously plan to be active physically as well so that I feel much better with the time adjustments that will be required.


Once again, I didn't eat very well today. Less in terms of choices of food and more in terms of timing and quantity. I had a breakfast shake when I woke up (which ended up being around lunch time because I woke up just in time for a 9am meeting and didn't have time to make anything before the meeting). Then I didn't eat anything until dinner because I was too tied up in meetings and work. So I was pretty hungry while heading into dinner and only had taken in a few hundred calories so far. While making dinner, I felt more of a tendency to eat from what I was cooking, without fully paying attention to what it was I was eating. So, I think I ate more things that I wouldn't have normally eaten, mostly because I wasn't paying enough attention to it.  

And then once dinner was ready, I didn't eat anything but an orange. So, I found myself hungry again around 9:30pm and thought I ought to just get to bed. But instead, I came out to the kitchen and did what I have a bad habit of doing--grabbing food and sitting down to watch or read something so that I tune out as to what I am eating. I ate things that were OK to eat -- sprouted grain bread, jam sweetened only with fruit juice, and hummus. But I ate too much while I was zoned out -- I ate 3 pieces of bread and like half the jar of jam. I know that fruit juice can be just as harmful as regular added sugar, so I try to limit my intake of things like fruit-sweetened jam. But not when I am mindlessly eating. In the end, I ate way too much food, and part of that was because I hadn't properly eaten during the day itself. When I do this, I am more foggy-brained than normal and have low energy levels. 


Well, today was a holiday, so I didn't have work, but it turned out to be a really busy day. I started by sleeping in an bit and having breakfast before heading out to do some shopping at Vitamin Cottage, which is always an interesting experience. As I roam the isles, I'm always impressed with the quality (but not selection) of their produce. The greens are hard to match at any other store around here. But as I go through some of the other areas of the store, I have to wonder what some people think of as "healthy." Vitamin Cottage is a "healthy" store, or at least that is the marketing, so it is interesting to me to find quite a few products with sugar in them (Sprouts is worse, and so is Whole Foods Market). And there are also quite a few products loaded with salt and highly processed. But, there are enough of the type I'm looking for -- low or no salt added, no sugar added, not highly processed--to get plenty of what I need. Checking out is always an adventure. They don't provide plastic bags because they are bad for the environment, so you either have to supply your own bags (fabric) or put your stuff in a box they provide (like Costco, only much smaller scale). 


 started by taking my blood pressure this morning and it was the best reading I have had in decades. It is interesting that it has been able to go so low so quickly. There are only two things I can think of that are different:

  • Clean eating
  • Taking a new medication at night that helps with sleep

I am sure that eating clean has been a significant contributor, since nothing in the past has worked, not even two prescriptions plus an over-the-counter medicine for blood pressure. The interesting thing, though, is I have not lost a ton of weight so has mostly be in the range of 5 lbs so far. But my blood pressure has responded really well. I will need to likely go down to 25 mg for one or both doses rather than continuing at 50 mg (of Atenolol, which affects my blood pressure as well as pulse)


A better day today in terms of less cravings. I haven't been doing as well getting in all of the greens I need each day. Fruit is easy to eat and quick to grab. Greens and some other vegetables require more work and planning sometimes. 

I did well eating mostly green-light foods today, but even green light foods can cause trouble if I eat too much of them or the wrong balance of them (such as eating 1000 calories of nuts). I need to make some adjustments to stick to the serving amounts I'm aiming for within the different types of foods. Basically these: 


Decided to go to the store after dropping off Bekah for school to get snacks for our 3 hour business meeting this morning. Picked a good selection of veggie sticks, berries, apples, hummus, pretzel crackers, and some fruit-based juices. Although I wasn't as careful as I normally would be in grabbing some of it for the meeting as I was late in setting it up. So, I ate more salt than I would have otherwise (salted almonds and dips) and I didn't balance out yellow and green light foods as well as I have on the other days.