Monday, August 19, 2013

Clean Eating Update

Hey Everyone, 

As I mentioned in a previous post, a couple of weeks ago I decided to challenge myself to following a clean eating diet for 30 days. After a week of reading books and various clean eating blogs/websites, cleaning out my cupboards and buying a bunch of clean eating foods, I finally started my fully clean eating diet last Monday. So far, I absolutely love it. 

I feel like my whole life I've been programmed to only think about calories and fat when it comes to dieting. I have been on weight watchers several times and while, I did manage to lose weight, I wouldn't say I ever felt healthy. On weight watchers you are programmed to eat snacks that, while low in calories, really aren't made with the most wholesome ingredients (hello 100 calorie thinsation cookies, or mini weight watchers bagels). So while I was losing weight, I was also eating a fair share of chemicals, additives, etc. 

With clean eating, I am eating real food. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, etc. If I have chocolate its as close to 100% cocoa as I can find. If I want ice cream, I blend up a banana and add some natural peanut butter to it (surprisingly this has a really ice-cream like texture). If I want spaghetti sauce, I make my own with fresh tomatoes and basil.  If I want something sweet, I don't use processed unrefined sugar. I use 100% raw organic honey. I'm still able to eat a majority of my favourite foods, I am just making them myself and know exactly what is in them. I feel better about myself and really feel like I have a purpose again (something I often lack lying in bed with chronic pain). 

As far as weight loss, I haven't seen any real results yet (I go up and down each day it seems), but as of right now, I don't really care. I feel good about what I am putting in my body. I am conscious of the portion sizes I am eating but I am not limiting myself to a certain amount of calories (or 'points'). If I'm hungry, I eat something wholesome, I don't think 'well, you aren't supposed to have more than a 100 calorie snack this afternoon'. 

With the exception of being a vegetarian for the past 18 years I tend to be someone who throws everything I  have into something and then gives up a couple of months later when I get bored and move onto the new thing. While I can't say I am going to be a clean eater for the rest of my life, I can say that this 'diet' feel a lot different than other diets I've tried in the past and I really hope this is a life style change I can, and will want to, stick to for a long time. 

I will be sure to keep you updated on my progress, and once I find some more great clean eating recipes, I will definitely be sharing them. If you are interested in seeing what I am eating, be sure to follow me on Instagram (funnyfacebeautypics) where I post almost daily photos of my meals (yep, I'm one of those!). 

Thanks so much for your support. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Cinnamon Chia Seed Granola Recipe

Hey Everyone, 

One of the best clean eating recipes I have found since starting my 'healthy eating' journey has been Shape Magazine's 'Cinnamon Chia Seed Granola'. Making a few minor adjustments of my own, this recipe has become a house hold favourite as it tastes absolutely delicious! 

With only five wholesome ingredients, this granola fits the 'clean eating' bill and combines oats (fiber, protein), chia seeds (fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids), cinnamon (fiber, calcium, iron), honey (probiotics) and canola oil. 

I have been eating this granola by itself as a mid afternoon snack, sprinkled onto a bowl of greek yogurt and berries for breakfast or mixed with homemade frozen yogurt for dessert. 

1 cup of old fashioned large flake oats
2 tbsp. of chia seeds
3/4 tsp. of cinnamon
2 tbsp. of organic honey (can use non organic)
1 tbsp. of canola oil (could use olive oil or coconut oil for cleaner recipe)

1) Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
2) Combine oats, chia seeds and cinnamon in a small bowl. 
3) Stir in honey and oil and mix until all oats/chia seeds are well coated.
4) Spread mixture onto a baking sheet
5) Cook for 15-18 minutes or until slightly browned. 

Will you be giving this clean granola recipe a try? Any great clean eating recipes you can share with me? 

All Natural 'Chia Seed Energy Drink' Recipe

Hey Everyone, 

As I mentioned in my previous post, I am currently stuck in bed with, what feels like, the flu. For me, the worst part of any flu (or cold) is the complete lack of energy and feelings of exhaustion. Trying to fight these feelings, I decided to try my hand at making an all natural (and hopefully tasty) energy drink. The drink contains three clean ingredients including chia seeds which are packed full of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, anti-oxidants, minerals and protein. Chia seeds also help keep you hydrated (very important when you are sick) as they can absorb 9-10 times their weight in water. 

2 cups of water
1/2 tbsp of chia seeds 
1/2 tbsp of fresh lemon juice 

** Chia seeds expand in water taking on a strange but cool jelly-like texture**

** If you are not a fan of tart drinks, add 1/2 tbsp of maple syrup, raw honey or agave nectar. **

** Try adding some fruits like raspberries or vegetables like cucumber to give the drink more flavour**

Will you be trying out this all natural energy drink recipe? If so, be sure to share your thoughts and/or pictures in the comment section below. 

Band Fill Update + My Favourite Green Smoothie

Hey Everyone, 

It's been almost 2 weeks since I got my latest lap band 'fill' and, let me tell you, I have noticed a difference. The first couple of days after receiving my fill, I figured it hadn't worked. I was able to eat all of the same foods I had been able to eat before the fill,  and didn't feel any less hungry. By day three, however, things had changed. The first thing I noticed was that the foods I had never had difficulties with, were extremely hard to eat. From well toasted bread to crunchy lettuce, I get 'stuck' at least once a meal and am not able to flush the food down with a sip of water (I won't get into the gross details of how I get the food unstuck). I have also noticed myself getting full or satisfied with less food, although I still feel fairly hungry between meals. I have not seen much weight loss since getting the fill, but am really hoping that with a little exercise (I'm currently sick with the flu and in bed) and a new diet (see below), I will start seeing results soon. 

Clean Eating
In an attempt to eat even better than I have been, I have dared myself and one of my sisters to go on a 'clean eating' diet for one month. For those who don't already know, a clean eating diet involves whole nutritious foods (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, proteins) and no processed foods, white flour or sugar. There is a lot of planning that has to go into eating this way (shopping, meal prep, choosing clean recipes, cleaning out the cupboards), so we won't be starting until next week. After a few days of eating this way, I will be sure to update you on my progress and hopefully share a few favourite recipes. 

My Favourite Green Smoothie
As I mentioned in my previous post, I am on a green smoothie kick, and find that this healthy drink, packed with spinach and a variety of fruit, is usually enough to keep me satisfied between breakfast and lunch. While I don't have exact measurements for what I include in my smoothie (I usually just eyeball it), I wanted to share my favourite green smoothie combination. 

1 handful of spinach (High in Fiber, Omega 3, Protein and Vitamins C, E, A and K)
1/2 a banana (High in Potassium, Fiber and Vitamins C and B-6)
1/2 of a peach (High in Vitamins A and C, Fiber, Potassium and Antioxidants)
Frozen Mango Chunks (High in Fiber, Vitamins A,C,E and K and Potassium)
Earth's Own Original Almond Milk (High in Calcium, Vitamins C, E, D and A)
2 tbsp of Chia Seeds on top (High in Omega 3, Protein, Fiber and Antioxidants)

Have you tried green smoothies before? Any combinations you think I should try? Be sure to let me know in the comment area. 


Saturday, July 27, 2013

My Third Lap Band Fill

Hey Everyone, 

Yesterday my sister, Gillian and I took a two hour trip to Toronto so that I could get my third lap band fill. Despite already having had two previous fills I was extremely nervous and worried that the people at the clinic were going to judge/scold me for not having lost (and possibly having gained) weight since my last fill. Before getting my surgery last year, I met with the surgeon, a nurse and the patient co-ordinator. While they were all nice, each made a few stereotypical 'fat girl' comments like "You're going to have to stop eating at McDonald's" (I actually hate McDonald's food) and "You're going to have to listen when your Mom tells you not to go back for seconds" (believe it or not, I have never been a really big eater and I rarely go back for seconds) which really bothered me. 

The first thing they did when I got to the clinic was weigh me, and while I am always somewhat annoyed that their scale says I am 3lbs heavier than the scale I use at home, I was surprised and happy to hear that, while I hadn't lost any weight since my last fill, I hadn't gained any weight either. The nurse who did my fill then asked me about what I had been eating, my portion size and whether or not I felt satisfied for at least 2-4 hours between meals. I told her that while I had been eating much healthier than in the past, I found the allotted one cup of food at meal time wasn't satisfying and that I was feeling true hunger an hour or so after some of my meals. Based on that information and the fact that my previous .4cc fill was too tight, and my .1cc fill not tight enough, we decided I should have a .2cc fill this time around. 

To fill the band, the nurse sticks a large needle into my lap band port via my stomache. While the procedure looks somewhat gruesome (according to friends and family who have seen it being done), it has never really hurt, and while yesterday's was a little more painful  (the nurse had a hard time getting the needle into my port), it's nothing worse than getting blood taken. 

After receiving my fill, I was asked to drink a small cup of water to make sure it would go down properly (when my band was too tight, it was hard to swallow the water). The water went down perfectly, and I was sent home with instructions to eat soft foods for the remainder of the day (eggs, soups, smoothies, etc). 

The best part of the appointment was finding out that the clinic has decided to send a nurse to my city every 2 weeks to do at home fills. Having to travel two hours to the clinic and two hours back has always been difficult especially considering my fibromyalgia. The fact that I can now get fills in my own city will, hopefully, aid me in my weight loss. 

While I don't feel any difference today in terms of feeling more full and/or not being able to eat certain foods, the lap band fill can take up to 2 weeks to kick in. I am really hoping this fill will help me get to the 50lbs weight loss mark. 

As always thanks for your encouragement and support. 


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Weight Loss Update (Let's Make These Regular)

Hey Everyone, 

I realize it has been far too long since I wrote a post for this site. After having my surgery just under a year ago (can you believe it's been almost a year?!), I really wanted things to 'get back to normal' and neglected writing on this site because, at the time, I felt like it would be a daily reminder of how different my life would really have to be. What I didn't realize at the time was just how beneficial having this blog could be. Having to be accountable to to not only my family and friends, but also my amazing followers will definitely keep me on the right path. It is for that reason I have decided to start posting WEEKLY updates on this blog. Below are a number of updates to catch you up on my life with a lap band. 

Weight Loss: 

Before starting my two week pre-op diet last year, I tipped the scales at my highest weight ever, 278 lbs. As of this morning, I weigh 235 lbs. While I am happy to have lost 43 lbs thus far, I would be lying if I said I wasn't somewhat disappointed I'm not further along. I have been losing and gaining for what seems like the last 3-4 months and haven't been able to reach that magic 50lbs weight loss number. 

Food Consumption: 

After first receiving my surgery, I was a lap band superstar. I ate the foods I was told to eat (high protein, low carbs, low calorie, low fat, etc), ate very slowly and was sure to chew chew chew every piece of food that went into my mouth. The first time I got stuck was scary. I could feel the piece of food pressing against my chest and knew I wasn't going to be able to swallow it no matter how much water I drank to flush it down. Luckily the process of 'throwing it up' wasn't as bad as I had been told and, eventually, I became less cautious when eating knowing that I could easily 'flush' or 'throw up' any piece of food that got stuck (a very bad mind set). While it felt nice to be slowing losing weight, it also felt nice to be able to eat some of my old favourite foods (ice cream, pasta, etc), and I slowly got out of the habit of eating well. Fast forward to last month when I got on the scale and realized I had gained 8lbs since my last weigh-in. Not wanting to disappoint my family who paid for my surgery or be embarrassed the next time I went to my surgeon's office for a weigh in or a fill, I decided to change my eating patterns. Realizing that I am not someone who will ever be willing to give up the foods I really enjoy (this is not supposed to be a strict diet but rather a lifestyle change), I decided I needed to start cooking myself much healthier versions of my favourite meals, snacks, etc. From green smoothies and chia seed granola to homemade low calorie strawberry ice cream, I've been cooking up a storm, and while I honestly haven't seen much weight loss (I think I've lost 3lbs total), I do feel much healthier and, am hoping a lap band fill later this week can help get me back on track when it comes to losing the weight. 

Filling the Band

Since having my surgery almost a year ago, I have had two lap band fills. While I should be having fills more regularly, the fact that the surgeon's office is 2 hours away combined with the fact that I have been having a horrible year when it comes to my fibromyalgia, has made it very difficult. The last time I went for a fill was back in March. After telling the nurse that I was feeling quite hungry between meals and had eat more than a cup of food per meal to feel satisfied, she decided to give me a 4cc fill. After receiving a fill you are asked to drink a couple of sips of water to ensure that band is not too tight. After receiving my 4cc fill, I found it was somewhat hard to swallow the water and had to have a de-fill. In the end I ended up with only a 1cc fill (not sure why they didn't leave it at a 2cc or 3cc), which unfortunately did nothing for my hunger or weight loss. This time I plan on asking for a bigger fill and am hoping for no swallowing complications. 

The Future

As I said above, I really want to get back to posting regular updates on this site. I also thought it might be fun for if I shared pictures of/recipes for some of the healthier foods I have been eating. My goal is to hit the 50lbs weight loss mark by the end of Summer and I am hoping with your encouragement and support I will be able to do just that. 



Monday, September 17, 2012

Update: Finally Losing Weight

My Mom reminded me last week that I really needed to write a post for this blog, because the last time I posted, I was in a very negative space, hating the surgeon who preformed my surgery (I'm still not a fan) and declaring my regret for doing this in the first place. Since the last post, I've gotten a better grip on how to eat with the lapband and have actually been losing some weight. 

What to Eat?
A month ago I was completely confused on what to eat, what not to eat, whether to count calories or just focus on smaller portions. After doing an online webinar with the dietitian at my surgeon's office, I think I finally have a grasp on the food portion of my weight loss. Basically, I need to be having three small meals a day, as well as a couple of snacks if needed. The minimum amount of time time between meals should be 2 hours, and the maximum should be 4. I am supposed to eat about a cup of food total per meal and that cup should be filled with high protein and high fibre foods. To give you a small example of what I am eating, here is a sample menu. 

1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
1/4 cup of blueberries
1/4 cup of high protein and fibre granola

1 whole grain tortilla
1 tbsp peanut butter

3 whole grain crackers
light marble cheese

1 veggie burger (without the bun)
1/4 cup cottage cheese
20 whole grain 'chips'

non-fat frozen yogurt

Getting a fill? 
While I was definitely eating properly, the weight just didn't seem to be coming off and I was stuck at 19lbs  for a good 3 or so weeks. One day I would go down, the next I would go up, and I was getting really frustrated. I called the surgeon's office and decided to book an appointment to get a fill (they would tighten my band so I would be more restricted and have to eat less). However, a few days before my appointment, I found myself  eating more food and actually losing more weight. It seems that I wasn't eating enough,and so my body was stuck in 'starvation mode'.  I called the office, spoke with a nurse, and while she didn't seem to like the idea of me eating more (although she never asked what I had been eating), she agreed that I should hold off on the fill for the time being. 

My weight loss to date. 
I am happy to say that as of today, I have lost 26lbs since my surgery and it is really starting to show. My face is much thinner (hallelujah!), my clothes are getting pretty big and I seem to be able to move, walk, etc. more easily. My first goal was to lose 25lbs and,because I did, I will be getting a new tattoo in the next couple of weeks. My next goal is 50lbs, which I hope to be at by Christmas. 

Thanks for all of your support and I promise to update this blog more frequently than I have been.