IQS: Week Seven – What Next?

There’s not a lot to Week Seven that hasn’t been covered in the earlier weeks.  The point now is to really solidify those habits and make sure that you know how to deal with going “off track” – because it will happen.  That’s life.

For me, this means experimenting more.  Getting familiar with more foods and recipes that will keep me on track.  Finding ways to prevent myself from getting distracted from this cleaner way of eating.  To keep myself excited and interested.

The last thing I need to is to get bored, distracted and wander off down the sticky, sweet, sugary path of relapse.

This week is going to be about finding ways to keep me on track long term.  Beyond the end of Week Eight when the plan officially ends.

I’m going to keep going.  
And I feel good about this. 

IQS – Weeks Five & Six: Feelin’ Good!

It’s been a bit difficult finding stuff to post about in the fifth (& then sixth) week, because at this stage these habits I’m trying to develop are starting to feel normal;

Reading labels and avoiding food with too much sugar?  Normal. 
Explaining to nay-sayers why I eat this way?  Normal. 
Not chasing every meal with a sweet-treat?  Normal. 
Cooking my own food:  Normal.

Then there are the really good parts that stood out at first that I now expect of my body;

Not dealing with the mid-afternoon sugar crash?  Normal. 
Trusting my body to tell me when it’s hungry?  Normal.
To be able to eat dairy without issue?  Normal.
(That last one’s a big deal for me – more on it in a later post!)

The weight-loss has slowed, with no notable loss over the last two weeks, but my body has changed so much.  A lot has to do with the training I’ve been picking up – but a lot also has to do with the way I’m listening to my body.  If it’s hungry, I eat.  If it’s not hungry, I’ll wait a bit before starting dinner.  

I have not been counting calories.  I have not been worried about my portion sizes.  I eat until I’m full, and I don’t feel guilty about leaving food on my plate.  Any leftovers just get packaged up with lunch the next day.

I have a confidence in my body – and in my understanding of my body – that I didn’t have six weeks ago.  I love that!

The one thing I’m struggling to give up is artificial sweeteners in my drinks.  Namely Coke Zero.  But I’ve found ways to reduce my intake from what it was.  This is a slow part of the journey, and I’m happy to take my time – as long as I don’t go backwards.

Headed into Week Seven, I don’t know if there’s much that will be different from Week Six.  So much of this is habit now, that – apart from these posts – I’m not actually thinking about the process as separate, individually identifiable weeks.  They’re all just part of the process.

Here’s to keeping up the habit!

IQS: How I’m Snacking

When all you want is a piece of delicious, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate, there isn’t a lot that will fill the void.

This fact messes with your head even more than the initial craving and – if you don’t cave – it can send your enjoyment of the evening plummeting downward until it crashes and burns somewhere between Gimmiechipsville and Stuffitimgoingtobedopolis.  The further you can get from the first one, the better you’re doing.

But what if you don’t want to just give up or give in?

This evening I was faced with this exact situation.  I had a nice peppermint tea in hand, ready to settle down for the evening and bang I wanted chocolate and nothing else.  Straight away I hit Google to find me some nice recipes to use the 100% cocoa powder  I had in the cupboard.  Straight away I found hundreds of thousands of recipes.  Some of them even fit within the plan – making the most of stevia and coconut creams.  But none of them were quite what I wanted.

What was it then?  What exactly was I after if it wasn’t a cocoa-based recipe?

The familiar comfort of melting a piece of creamy chocolate in my mouth.  I wanted to be able to melt it across my tongue so it was heavy and thick, until I was ready to swallow and get my next piece.

I wanted the habit.  The ritual of eating a piece of chocolate.  Not necessarily the chocolate itself. 

So how could I replicate that feeling, that process, the ritual without a piece of chocolate?

I had no freaking clue until I was standing in front of my pantry, scanning the shelves as if chocolate would magically appear and all my thinking was over.  Thankfully, no chocolate was spotted (because I would’ve broken down and scoffed the lot!).

Instead, I found the next best thing.  Almond butter.  

This stuff is perfect.  It’s thick.  It’s creamy.  It’s got a rich taste that leaves you savouring it as it works its way across your tongue.

As an added emotional bonus, this stuff is ridiculously expensive here – so it has the feeling of luxury, too.

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Paired up with some appropriate crackers, or with a bit of cheese, it makes a great dessert.  If you want it a little earlier in the day, dip into it with carrot sticks or celery.  If you’re not cutting out all fructose, then pair it with a crisp green apple and be prepared for your tastebuds to weep at the sheer perfection of the combination.

Peanut butter’s tasty.  But almond butter makes me squeal.

What’s your favourite ‘go-to’ snack when you’re about to fall off the sugar-crazed wagon?

IQS: Week Five – Over Half Way!

It’s the start of the fifth week – fifth week out of eight.  That’s good progress – and I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished so far.

I half expected myself to have quit by now, but I’m so glad that I haven’t!  This programme has made so much sense along the way that there’s been no point quitting.

Buuuuuut I have taken liberties at times.  I haven’t completely ruled out artificial sweeteners from my diet.  There have been times when I’ve turned to them when I’ve felt the emotional desperation and longing for sugar.

I consider these liberties to be human.  Getting to grips with my body.  Knowing my limits.

It’s not the same as going off the rails.

This week is about keeping up the progress.  Which, according to Sarah, means more detoxing!  Yay!

“Do this: distract yourself with alternative sweetness”

Sugar is a treat, yes?  So why not treat ourselves in other ways?  When we take that approach, we get the mental benefit of rewarding ourselves, without doing it with sugar.  No more nasty cycles of eating badly to feel good, but only feeling down on ourselves for eating badly, so we eat more to make ourselves feel better, but we feel worse, so we eat more… you know how it goes.  Emotional eating 101.

Right now, I’m treating myself with fancy-pants tea.  Limited calories, maximum taste.  And expensive, so it feels fancy and luxurious.

Plus, I get to spill my soul to you guys which is always a treat!  Too much?  Yeah, sorry, it even felt cheesy on my fingertips as I typed.  Oh well, no taking it back now.  (Besides, I’m quite comfortable using the word ‘vagina’ in my personal Facebook status, so you know I’m not a person with boundaries… or shame).

Moral of the story?  Positivity, positivity, positivity.  
I’m going to be a total Chatty-Cathy until the withdrawals hit… then I’ll go hide under a rock.
A nauseous, dizzy, (apparently constipated) rock.

So much to look forward to!

IQS: Week Four – How It Went

This week I definitely got back on track. I feel it in my body. I feel it in my attitude. I can see it on the scales.

Last week I was up a little – and I knew why. My challenge this week was to get back on track.

Cut down the sugar. Focus on what I’m eating. Be conscious of what I’m shovelling into my mouth (then stop shovelling).

This morning’s weigh in has me at 72.5kg. That’s over a kilo down on last week, and over 3kg down since I started. I’m really happy with that.

Slow and steady wins the race.

From next week I am really going to be upping the exercise so I expect my weight loss to slow a bit. Going to build some sweet muscle, guys!

Keeping up the optimism and positivity when the numbers start to slow will be just as important a “keeping to the plan”.

Anyone have any pointers on how to keep motivation levels high longer term?