17 Day Diet Update

Hi folks!

Thought I would give you an update about my progress with the 17 Day Diet, since the last time I posted about it, I told you that I had paused.  Remember that prior to starting this diet that I was eating well-balanced, healthy meals with the occasional indulgence; this would have been a great plan if it wasn’t for the 2 1/2 month hiatus from any sort of calorie burning exercise – damn back injury!  I re-started the “diet” on Monday, January 30th, and it’s mostly going well, though there have been a few roadblocks I’ve had to navigate around.

On Tuesday, I attended a PD session with Dr. Steven Layne (an excellent children’s author and expert on engaging students of all ages in reading – check him out; you won’t be disappointed!  But I digress…back to the Diet).  Before hand, I had been told by the powers that be that “there will be a variety of healthy options, including some vegetarian items.”  Now, I have no desire to be a vegetarian, but that statement assured me that there would be something there for me that would fit the 17 Day Diet.  Wrong.  Would you like to know what “healthy” options my school division served for breakfast?  Banana bread and scones, and a syrup-y fruit salad.  Yum.  For lunch we were served Caesar salad, dinner rolls, lasagna, vegetarian lasagna and cake.  “Healthy options” my ass.  They did try to appease the vegetarian people, so I suppose I’ve got to give them some credit for that.  I did eat some banana bread and lasagna, but it’s a good thing I stashed a yogurt and two pieces of fruit in my purse!

Later that night I hosted book club* and that only happens once every month and a half to two months, so I had already planned a little indulgence.  I enjoyed a glass of red wine (or four – who’s counting?) and sampled the appies (Spanikopita with Tzatziki, hummus dip, guacamole, pepperoni and cheese tray, and a cinnamon roll) in place of my regular dinner.  My friend Tiffany also brought a delightful surprise dip that was like a Village Greek salad and hummus dip rolled into one (If you are reading this Tif, can I please get the recipe?).  I know it’s sorta lame that I “indulged” on Day 2 of my diet, but I really believe that (unless food has become an unhealthy addiction for you) it’s okay to roll with the punches, enjoy foods that make you happy, and then get right back on track.  So that is what I did.

I ate well all of Wednesday and all day Thursday, but enjoyed the Roast Beef buffet and a few beers at the Edmonton Oilers game Thursday night.  That’s right – I was at that game.  Sam Gagner tied Wayne Gretzky and Paul Coffee for an Oilers’ points record:  he had 4 goals and 4 assists for 8 points total on the night.  It was incredible…and there is nothing wrong with celebrating a little bit when a player from your team has that kind of night – even if I did start the celebrating before the game actually began!

Other than those few “indulgences,” I’ve been eating quite well:  lots of fruit, veggies and lean protein.  Today is Day 9 and I was down to 148.6 lbs this morning.  That is a 5 lb drop from Day 1, and means that I’ve got 13 lbs more to go to reach my goal.  I’ll keep you posted!

* We read John Grisham’s The Confession for book club, but I didn’t finish it (do you remember how hectic this past month has been for me?!).  The other ladies in my book club all scored the book at 3 out of 5 fingers, and told me that I would be better off starting one of the books from my giant “to read” pile than attempting to finish reading The Confession.  That probably tells you all you need to know about the book.

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Spicy Chicken Veggie Soup

This is what I ate for dinner tonight:

I took this pic with my Blackberry; no ever said I should be a photographer.

It was delicious.  It also fits Cycle 1 of the 17 Day Diet, which I have been following lately.  I ate two bowls full with about 1/2 cup of fat-free cottage cheese and an apple.  I know that the 17 Day Diet says I am not supposed to eat fruit after 2 pm, but I don’t care.  I sometimes eat more than 2 pieces of fruit in a day too.  I am such a rebel.

Here is how I made the soup:

I sprayed a baking tray with EVOO using my new Misto Oil Sprayer, and then sprinkled Mrs. Dash Chicken onto 3 large chicken breasts before baking at 350 for about an hour.  While the chicken was baking, I went for a run.  My house did not burn down, and I wasn’t even a little bit worried that it would.
When I came home, I took the chicken out of the oven and let it rest to cool a little.
I chopped up:
3 large carrots
5 celery stalks
1 white onion
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
I threw all of the veggies in a soup pot with a spray of EVOO, and cooked over med-low heat until the veggies were a bit soft (I tossed the veggies in the pot as I chopped them, but I’d say it was about 10-15 min total).
Then I chopped the chicken breasts, and added 3 Tetra Paks of Campbell’s No Salt Added Chicken broth, 2 Tetra Paks of Knorr Vegetable broth and a can of Aylmer Accents Spicy Red Pepper tomatoes.  I sprinkled in a dash each of Sage and Thyme, then added a packet of Old El Paso Smart Fiesta low sodium Fajita mix and 3 bay leaves.  I let the soup simmer on low for about an hour before I dished it up to eat.  Like I said earlier – it was delicious!
What I love most about soup is that I can make a giant pot, eat some, freeze some for quick meals at a later date, and leave a bit in the pot in my fridge to reheat for the next day or two.  All of those meals from less than 1/2 an hour of actual work.  Soup is my friend.

Intro to The 17 Day Diet

Because one of my goals is to get back to 135lbs or less, I have decided to kick-start my weight loss by returning more mindfully to a healthy eating plan.  The plan I have chosen is called The 17 Day Diet.  I don’t really like to call this a diet, because it is more of a lifestyle change, but its creator – Dr. Mike Moreno – chose the name, and I suppose I have to honour that.

The 17 Day Diet is not new to me; I was introduced to it last February by two of my closest girlfriends.  This diet plan helped me drop from 165lbs – my heaviest weight ever – to 130lbs in less than two months, and it was very successful for my husband too!  Rob and I started Cycle 1 last February, then continued on through the cycles, and have basically followed Cycle 4 (the healthy eating permanent lifestyle change) on an ongoing basis since the end of April (though we are often a lot more liberal than Dr. Mike suggests!).  I have since realized that when I was super active and doing a lot of cardio on a regular basis, that being liberal with the healthy eating Cycle 4 was fine for me and still kept me at my ideal weight.  I could eat like more of a fat ass without actually getting a fat ass, because running and “Boot Camp” fitness classes easily burned off any excess calories I consumed.  When I had to stop running and taking those classes, though, those extra calories packed on 15lbs in 2 /12 months – and Ta Da, we had the fat ass!  Not acceptable.  I joke about my “fat ass,” even though I know that realistically 150lbs is far from being “fat.” It is also, however, far from where I want to be to look and feel my best.

Enter Cycle 1.  The concept is simple: consume lean protein from turkey, chicken, fish and eggs; plenty of what Dr. Mike calls “cleansing vegetables” (lots of veggies are allowed, but not the starchy stuff like potatoes, squash, beans, etc.); two servings of low sugar fruit before 2pm; two servings of a probiotic (like yogurt!); and small amounts of healthy fats (such as olive or flaxseed oil).  Eliminate other foods (processed stuff, red meat, high sugar stuff, etc.) and reduce your sodium intake, while drinking lots of water and some green tea.  Low fat dairy is okay in moderation, as are many condiments.  For Rob and I, the biggest impact came with reducing our sodium* and drinking a lot more water – it basically flushed out our systems, I think.

Cycle 2 and 3 introduce other foods (like lean cuts of red meat and natural starches) back into your diet in a way that keeps your body “confused” and using nutrition in a way that helps to continue weight loss.  I’ve written all of that off the top of my head just now, so for more precise and detailed information, I suggest buying or borrowing a copy of The 17 Day Diet book.

I’m not usually a fan of diets, and before we started The 17 Day Diet, I had never actually dieted in my life.  To me, a diet is something that people do in the short term to lose weight; it’s not something they can keep up to live a healthy, happy life.  As I mentioned earlier, though, the 17 Day Diet is really more of a lifestyle change, and I really believe that it is sustainable mostly sustainable* for the long term.  Dr. Mike provides a few recipes, and there are plenty of delicious recipes online as well.  And they don’t suck – in fact, many of the 17 Day Diet recipes I found when we did Cycle 1 the first time are now in our regular meal rotation!  I have even served a few of them to guests, who gave big compliments.

If you do a quick Google search it will become obvious fairly quickly that this is a pretty healthy and successful diet.  There are a lot of people who have experienced a great deal of success and have managed to keep the weight off using the Cycle 4 lifestyle change.  People with 20lbs and those with 200lbs have found the same successes, because it is healthy, it is realistic, and it is sustainable.  The beauty of this diet is that it is pure and simply healthy eating combined with healthy levels of activity, yet Cycle 1 is sort of a catalyst to help you see real results quickly – exactly what I need to bust out of this 15lb rut.  Have I convinced you yet?

I’ll keep you updated on my progress:

Day 1 Jan 5th – 150.0lbs (exactly!)

Day 2 Jan 6th – 149.4lbs (not a huge amount, but it is a start, and I suppose that I really don’t have all that far to go anyway)

Happy Healthy Eating my lovely blog readers!

* Rob especially had a salt problem.  He would literally dump salt onto everything without so much as tasting it first.  He even salted Lipton Chicken Noodle Soup, which is already loaded with sodium.  Puke.  We bought a bunch of salt-free seasonings (like Mrs. Dash), and started reading labels and making more conscious decisions about what products to buy.  Rob doesn’t throw salt on everything anymore, and he actually pays attention to most of what he puts in his mouth now.  [I worded that last part this way on purpose to see if he’s reading my blog; my perverted husband will be mildly upset..ha ha!]
* Staying on Cycle 1 (which Dr. Mike DOES NOT recommend) would NOT be sustainable, but Cycle 4 certainly is.  If you are engaging in high calorie burn activities (beyond the two x 17 minutes of moderate activity), then you would obviously need to include more (yet still healthy) food in your daily diet to satisfy your needs.  If you are not doing any cardio activity (like I didn’t) then you would need to have fewer “cheat days” to maintain.

Making a New Year’s Resolution is Stupid

Okay, maybe that was a bit harsh.  Let me rephrase:  I’m not usually a very big fan of New Year’s Resolutions.  Why?  I find that most people tend to make them because:

a) they feel peer pressure to fit in (everyone else is doing it!)

b) they think they “should” – because they have been told that a new year is synonymous with a fresh start

c) they are unhappy with their last year’s mean, broke, lazy, fat, [insert negative adjective here] selves and want to feel like better people by making a resolution to change

Most people DO NOT make resolutions because they have reached a point in their life where they are ready and willing to make positive changes; they make them because it is a new year and…see reasons a, b and c above.  That brings me back to the title of this post:  “Making a New Year’s Resolution is Stupid.”  If you have made your resolution because of reasons a, b and c, then I stand by my claim.  Not only do I think it was ridiculous for you to make your resolution in the first place, but I really don’t think you have an ice cube’s chance in Hell of following through for all of January, let alone all of 2012.  Gasp.  I know, I know – this paragraph probably made me sound like a heartless bitch, but I’m not one.  Really.  I promise.  If you keep reading, I might just redeem myself.  Maybe.

I don’t hate resolutions.  In fact, I firmly believe we must have goals in order to be successful and fulfilled (and really, isn’t “resolution” just a fancy way of saying goal?).  If you make a goal because you have reached a point in your life where you are ready and willing to make positive changes, then, dear reader, we have a completely different story.  And do you want to know something?  It doesn’t make one tiny iota of difference whether or not you set that goal on January 1st or any other day of the year!

After reading this, I’m sure you can understand my hesitation* in telling you that I have made some resolutions goals (I think I like “goals” better, so that’s what I’m going with!). The thing is, my goals really have nothing to do with the fact that it’s a new year.  Call it what you will:  divine intervention, sheer luck, God, the stars being in alignment, etc., but I like to say the universe has brought me here.  And the universe has brought me to the right time and place for the changes and adjustments I am making.  The fact that it is January is merely a coincidence.

Now – you must be just dying to know what goals I’ve set for myself!  Can I have a drumroll please….

Click Here for geeky sound effect:

1. Write something every day – I met with a lovely lady named Sarah Lynn Kennedy last week who reminded me that I can and should write if that is what I want…and I realized that it is indeed exactly what I want right now!  Most days my writing will take the form of this here blog, but I may also dabble in some creative writing if the mood strikes.

2. Return to running, and run a minimum of three days per week – I started running about two years ago at the gym, then gradually moved to outdoor runs.  I was running regularly from June to October and loving it – I even ran my first two 5k races – when I had to take a break because of my back/leg issues.  Running makes me feel great, and it has the added benefit of burning quite a few calories; I want that lifestyle back!

3. Practice yoga at least three times each week – I have only recently come back to yoga (I think it’s one of those universe things, but I will save the story for another post).  I have already been achieving this goal since mid November, and it feels wonderful, so I want to keep doing it!

4. Reach and maintain a weight of 135lbs or less – this was a goal that I set last February, and I reached 130lbs in April of 2011.  I maintained my weight between 130-135lbs until October, when, as I’ve said before, I was plagued with an injury and my activity levels plummeted (while food intake most certainly DID NOT – can you say holiday calories?!).  I felt fabulous and I looked great at 135lbs, so I WILL get there again!  I actually re-started a healthy eating plan today to help jump-start my weight loss – I will tell you more about it soon!

So there you have it – my “New Year’s Resolutions”  “Lifestyle Goals.”  I really believe that these goals are attainable for me.  Afterall, other than the writing one, I’ve already accomplished each of these goals before.  What do you think?  Have I made positive goals, or did I just prove the title of my post? 🙂

*I’m a wee bit fearful that you might judge me based on my own criteria.  I hate being judged – it almost always shatters my illusion delusion that I am perfect. 😉