Tuesday, October 14, 2014

the new regime.

Yesterday, I announced that I am renewing my commitment to a healthier lifestyle. So, what does that mean?

Last week, I started working out again. Thirty minutes a day, in the mornings. Currently, I'm working my way through the 21 Day Fix DVDs again. I'd tried the eating plan in May but didn't like it, for a variety of reasons. Like, the plan considered all fruit the same (except for bananas). But there's a huge difference between a cup of strawberries and a cup of grapes. The strawberries are around 50 calories, with around 13 grams of carbs (less than 8 of which are considered sugar). Whereas the grapes have twice the calories and 29 grams of carbs, 25 of which are considered sugar.

But the workouts are great. I like that they're about 30 minutes long and use free weights to build muscle. The first three days were absolutely brutal (my leg muscles were so sore I couldn't really sit on a toilet so much as fall onto it). Now the squats don't make me cry out in pain, and I can already see a difference in my flexibility.

I've also started taking the dog for longer walks once a day. They run about 12 to 15 minutes, depending on how many things he wants to sniff along the way. It's not going to increase my cardio stamina or anything, but I feel like any extra movement is a good thing.

This week, I'm tackling the eating thing. I recently discovered the EZ Diet, named after it's inventor, Dr. Ernest J. Zeringue. Dr. Z is an RE at the Davis Fertility Center, and he prescribes this "dietary modification plan" to infertiles like me who are carrying extra weight. The name also refers to the easy rules of the diet, which are basically this:

Bad List

NO sugar (including hidden sugars, like fructose in salad dressing, OJ, etc.)
NO breads/baked goods and flour
NO potatoes
NO yogurt
NO beer
NO white wine
NO bananas

So-So List 

Pasta
Rice

Good List

EVERYTHING ELSE.

No, really. Everything else is on the Good List. This includes dairy and peanut butter and every other fruit and vegetable imaginable. You can even drink red wine in moderation.

And, I love this part: There is no need to limit portion size (except for things on the So-So List - you're supposed to keep them to a tennis ball-sized serving).

Now. It's not like I want to go shove my face into a jar of peanut butter. But I really, really love that I don't have to weigh/measure my food. Or count calories. Or calculate the percentage of calories coming from protein vs. those coming from carbs.

However.

Planning meals for this diet isn't as easy as it sounds. Well, maybe it is, if you're the kind of person who likes to grill up a piece of chicken and serve it next to some steamed broccoli. Mr. Hope and I are not those kind of people. We like to cook. We like to eat. We like food, period.

So coming up with a week's worth of menus of EZ Diet-friendly food that also tastes good and keeps us interested in eating healthfully was a bit of a challenge. But you know me - I love a good challenge.

Day 1 wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it would be. Although I'll be honest: I wasn't entirely able to omit hidden sugar, as I had a business lunch at a restaurant with a sales rep. I ordered a salad that had a slab of pickled beet on it and I ate about half before thinking, "Maybe there was sugar in that pickle." I also had a mustard vinaigrette salad dressing that could have had sugar or honey or whatever.

But other than that, I did great. For dinner, Mr. Hope and I made Mustard Balsamic Baked Chicken, which we paired with Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Acorn Squash. Since I was making these together, I traded out the apple cider vinegar in the veg recipe for the same balsamic I used in the chicken and subbed in olive oil over coconut. Our house smelled like Thanksgiving and it was scrumptious.

I do have a bunch of questions about the EZ Diet that have gone unanswered. Like, it says no flour - is that ANY kind of flour? Or just traditional flour? Because I'm thinking that eventually I can use coconut flour to thicken stuff that normally calls for AP. Also: are sweet potatoes the same as potatoes? I'm not sure, so I'm erring on the side of caution and not indulging in them just yet. And while I know pasta and rice are on the So-So List, where does quinoa fit in? Do I treat it like a So-So? This is what I'm assuming.

So Phase I is "restrictive" and lasts for four weeks. During this time, you can have 1-2 servings a week from the So-So List. Later, when you're in the maintenance phase, you can have 2-3 servings each week from the Bad List (so, you don't actually give up chocolate FOREVER). You also get 3-4 servings each week from the So-So List, and a Cheat Day one time per week. (Although I can't tell if the Cheat Day is for one meal or the whole day - I'll likely just give myself a meal to start and see how my body responds.)

Anyway, that's it. I did get hangry once in the afternoon, but a small green apple and some peanut butter helped cure me of that. And later, after dinner, I was a little hungry, too, but I had a hot cup of tea and a handful of nuts and that seemed to be enough.

Hoping I see some movement on the scale soon. It's hard with the 21 Day Fix plan, because it starts building crazy muscle right away. The last time I did the full 21 days, I didn't lose more than a couple of pounds but I lost a bunch of inches. Inches are good, but a girl still likes to see that number on the scale going down!

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