Horrible. Yes I said it. Who thought this no carb thing was a good idea? I don’t know what I was thinking. I can understand minimizing the amount of carbs you eat, but completely stopping has left me feeling blah. I don’t know if it is because I stopped cold turkey or what, but this just isn’t going to work for me.

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I missed my quinoa and brown rice. Last week I only ate chicken, wild salmon, eggs, nitrate free turkey bacon, dairy (eggs and cheese), and vegetables (spinach and whole green beans). The food was delicious, but I just felt bloated. In hindsight, maybe I should have gone off the carbs gradually. I do know one thing, and that is I am never doing that again. Or maybe I should do more research…

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After doing some research, I realized that I was missing something key in my diet that I get from my carbs and that is fiber! I came to this revelation after reading this Live Strong article about gas and bloating.

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Benefits of Fiber (Source)

1. Normalizes bowel movements. Dietary fiber increases the weight and size of your stool and softens it.

2. Helps maintain bowel health. A high-fiber diet may lower your risk of developing hemorrhoids and small pouches in your colon (diverticular disease). Some fiber is fermented in the colon.

3. Lowers cholesterol levels. Soluble fiber found in beans, oats, flaxseed and oat bran may help lower total blood cholesterol levels by lowering low-density lipoprotein, or “bad,” cholesterol levels. Studies also have shown that fiber may have other heart-health benefits, such as reducing blood pressure and inflammation.

4. Helps control blood sugar levels. In people with diabetes, fiber — particularly soluble fiber — can slow the absorption of sugar and help improve blood sugar levels. A healthy diet that includes insoluble fiber may also reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

5. Aids in achieving healthy weight. High-fiber foods generally require more chewing time, which gives your body time to register when you’re no longer hungry, so you’re less likely to overeat. Also, a high-fiber diet tends to make a meal feel larger and linger longer, so you stay full for a greater amount of time. And high-fiber diets also tend to be less “energy dense,” which means they have fewer calories for the same volume of food.

Here is a list of foods that are high in fiber from MayoClinic.org

  1. Raspberries
  2. Pears (with skin)
  3. Apples (with skin)
  4. Bananas
  5. Whole wheat pasta
  6. Bran
  7. Oatmeal
  8. Whole wheat or multi-grain bread
  9. Lentils
  10. Black beans
  11. Lima beans
  12. Almonds
  13. Pistachios
  14. Artichoke
  15. Green peas
  16. Broccoli
  17. Sweet corn
  18. Brussel sprouts
  19. Carrots
  20. Baked potatoes (with skin)

 Most of the items were essential parts of my diet. I don’t know what I was thinking this week. I know not to have those thoughts anymore lol. I guess the real reason is that I wanted to drop 2-3 lbs before my trip, since I know I will gain about 5lbs lol.

I think I get in my own way. I know what I need to do, I just need to rid the urges of immediate results and become comfortable with delayed gratification. I know I said I won’t ever do that again, but who knows…now that I know the foods that have fiber and are low carb, I may feel better. Maybe I didn’t let my body get used to the change. Whatever it is, I don’t want to ever feel like this again..=

If the low-carb thing works for you…God. Bless. You.

Have any of you ever tried these diet fads?

I wasn’t seeing any improvement with my hair, skin, and nails and it was making me gain weight.

I was a faithful biotin user over the years. I would take the maximum potency pills everyday for about two or three months then I would stop. Then my hair, skin, and nails would start acting crazy and I would go back to my biotin.

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Now let me tell you, those pills are expensive. If they were ever on sale at a drugstore I would buy two, or buy them in bulk at BJs to get somewhat of a deal. So in addition to my multivitamin, I was taking biotin, and hair, skin, and nail vitamins, which is just biotin and other a few other vitamins.

I wanted to achieve the hair results that were promised by Hairfinity and Manetabolism. Again, this goes back to my issues with my hair. So I just randomly stopped taking the biotin and hair, skin, and nail vitamins in early February. This was unintentional at first. I just stopped. I still have a bottle of vitamins in my desk drawer at work. I think my subconscious self realized they weren’t working.

no vitamins

I was taking the pills faithfully, but I have not seen improvement in my hair, skin, or nails. I’m thinking that maybe in the past I was being a little delusional because everyone else said it worked. Maybe it did work, but it definitely stopped. It just made me hungry. This year I realized that when I would take my biotin my appetite was crazy! I was just eating constantly. Since I stopped last month I have noticed that my appetite has changed. I cannot attribute all of my weight gain to these little pills, but they definitely played a part. I have heard of biotin making your hair thin and causing acne, but I started doing research about weight gain and although there is no research that supports it, many of the reviews by people who have taken the vitamins have said it made them gain weight. This may not be everyone’s experience, but it has been mine.

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So now that I am free from taking the biotin pills, I have to make sure that I eat a healthy diet instead of taking supplements. I’ll get my vitamins the old fashion way, fruits and veggies.

Have any of you ever had issues with biotin? How did you deal with them?

*Disclaimer* I wrote the following post on January 15, 2015. There is a March 2015 update.

As of January 2, 2015 I unfollowed 97% of the hair pages that I was following on Instagram. I was trying to “Keep up with the Jones’” and try styles and products that really did not suit my hair type or preferable style but I had just had to follow them because they were “popular.” I’m officially done. On December 30, 2014 I was so hyped to get crochet braids because they were the new “It” hairstyle. I did some research, bought some hair, and went to the salon Tuesday at 9am. I showed them the hair and they said it wasn’t suitable for the style I wanted. I went back to a beauty supply store and bought the proper hair and spent 4 hours getting my hair done. Although I have a small head, I have a lot of hair. The process wasn’t as painful as box braids or senagelese twists. Everyone that came into the salon kept complimenting the hair and how the style was coming out so I was excited to see it.

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So around 1:30 I was done. I looked in the mirror and I was not happy. I managed to smile, paid the money and kept it moving. I was miserable. It was way too much hair and did not look like the styles that I see on the gram. I met up with my mom and sis and did not want to take my hat off. Once I did there was a lonnnnngggg pause…then my sister said “It’s not that bad.” I said, “But it is bad though?” It was a mess. I tried to restyle it, but on headbands and I just wasn’t happy. Usually when I like a hairstyle I like it and you know it. I was not feeling confident at all. My boyfriend wasn’t a fan, my line sister said “Fix it Jesus” lol. I wasn’t upset with them because I hated it too.

Yeah...my hair did not look like this...

Yeah…my hair did not look like this…

I went to a game night on Friday January 2, 2015 and some people didn’t even recognize me. So Saturday January 3, 2015 around 12pm I cut the bulk of the hair and took out the crochet twists. I needed help because of the “closure” the stylists did at the top. It was a mess.

I went to my salon got a wash and set and now I am back to square one.

My hair is the thinnest that it has ever been. It’s not crazy thin, but I’m used to having thicker hair. The front stops around my cheeks and the back grazes the shoulders. The front of my hair is so thin and short because my ends were badly damaged and fuzzy, so they had to go. Remember a few years ago I didn’t relax my hair for about 6 months and then started to texlax for a few months, then I went back to my regular relaxers. I had 52 different textures, mainly in the front. My hair dresser did perm my ends, but did not want to over process them, so she would trim my ends often. That’s why I have two different lengths. I am going to go back to what I was doing before I was encapsulated by all of this blogging stuff: protective styles, co-washes, marley buns, texlaxing, relaxer stretches, etc. That stuff works for some people, but not for me. I’m going back to my old regimen. Wash and sets and deep conditions every week and a half or two weeks, relaxers every 8-10 weeks, trims, moisturize and seal when necessary. All of that in addition to having healthier diet and taking my vitamins.

hair

If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. So I’m going back to my old ways.

*UPDATE  March 11, 2015*

hair6

I. AM. LOVING. MY. HAIR. Based on how my year started off, I did not expect to be saying that so soon. I stopped doing what I saw and did what was best for me. Being a blogger I would often get invites to various events and get tons of products that really weren’t for me. I would see results on other bloggers, but they were natural and it worked for them. Instead of trying to keep up with that lifestyle I went back to what I knew worked; my Dominican wash and sets and deep conditions. Spare me with the heat damage and all of that other stuff. My hair is the healthiest that it is has been in years. I am retaining length and my hair is much fuller. Most importantly, I’m happy with the results and progress.

What are your hair goals and regimens?

Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment- Jim Rohn

In December I set my goals for 2015, and I have to admit, it has been a rocky start. It is the first week of March and I am not where I thought I should be at this point in the year. I can’t cry over spilled milk. I just have to keep it moving. On Instagram I constantly see people meeting their goals and seeing results. I am super happy and proud of them all, especially the people that I actually know like my bestie Erica who is a meal prep goddess! I see everyone making progress and I’m just scrolling and double tapping on IG, which is not helping me meet my goals at all.

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On one of those posts from the IG_Weightl0ss page was of a woman who was my height and roughly 7-10 lbs pounds heavier than me said something that clicked with me…

“It wasn’t until my 5’4″ frame hit 160 lbs that it really clicked- our bodies are a direct reflection of our lifestyle. So I changed mine- I started exercising, eating clean, and laying off the cocktails. I started goal setting, 5 lb milestones at a time…The process has taught me the ability of the body to transform when you train and feed it with the right foods. Patience and perseverance are key in any transformation.” Source

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OUR BODIES ARE A DIRECT REFLECTION OF OUR LIFESTYLE!

Boy did that resonate with me. In order for me to see change, I have to truly change my lifestyle.

She started small with goal setting. Usually when I get on this fitness and healthy lifestyle track I try to go all in at once. That was my first mistake. Humans are creatures of habits and it takes a lot to break those bad habits. We have to make a conscious decision to break those habits by setting Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely goals. Yes SMART Goals. I need to set goals that I know will require discipline, but I will have a greater chance of success.

healthgoals3

So my first set of goals is to increase my water intake (At least 6 glasses daily-It is a struggle for 4) and minimize the amount of times I eat out per week. Last week I ate out at least 4 times, and I want to bring that number down 1. Sometimes I get lazy and don’t want to cook, or I don’t want to eat what I did cook. I need to get over that. Also, I just need to increase drink more period. It’s not like I’m drinking juice or soda, I’m just not drinking anything at all, and that is a problem.

Next week I’ll report back on my progress. Do you set fitness and health goals?

How do you stay on track?

healthylifestyle6

On December 30th I held a Vision Board brunch with a few of my friends, sister, and niece (yes my, then 7-year old niece, made a vision board). On my vision board I have the words and phrases like, “Health, Love Your Body, Stronger than Ever…” to keep me motivated throughout the year. Last year I had lost a tremendous amount of weight on the Daniel Plan (over 15 lbs, that’s a lot for me) and I was the smallest that I had been in years. In no way am I saying I was overweight or obese…far from it, but I wasn’t healthy. So as I was motivated to keep this new lifestyle, but it was definitely hard to maintain. Eating healthy is so expensive. I mean a package of quinoa can be over $8. That’s a lot compared to a bag of white rice.

healthylifestyle4

I joined the gym with my mom and sister and was going consistently for about three months. I participated in the crazy physical challenge Tough Mudder in April, and after that my motivation to workout went down hill. I was “training” for Tough Mudder so I had something to work toward.

So then comes May and I went to New Orleans for Memorial Day and ate and drank more than I should. I didn’t realize what the food and liquor did to me, but when I returned my family members were asking why I looked swollen. I was confused. I looked at my feet and they resembled the feet of a pregnant woman in her 9th month. My godmother is a nurse and told me to get dandelion root tea to detox from the sugar, salt, and alcohol. I did and my body went back to normal after a day or two.

I had to complete my last summer of my 2nd graduate program and the schedule was 8-5 Monday through Friday and a few Saturdays. If I wasn’t doing school work, I was sleeping, looking for a new apt, or a new job. It felt good when my classmates noticed my weight loss, but it was extremely difficult for me to maintain my new healthy lifestyle because the food near Columbia is just ridiculously expensive and I didn’t have time to meal prep.

healthylifestyle5

I’ll speed this up…from September to now I have been totally inconsistent with everything. My weight has been fluctuating also but the last month it has been steady. Some of my clothes don’t fit, hence why I don’t post outfit photos anymore on the blog or IG. I refuse to go shopping lol. I did the Daniel Plan 10-day detox, I did the #FitGirlsGuide challenge, and I saw success with both, but I wasn’t consistent. So I went back to my old ways. Diabetes and high blood pressure run in my family. It’s in my genes. My family is pretty good when it comes to eating healthy and working out, so to still have member inflicted with these diseases is scary. I don’t want to change my lifestyle so I can be thin, but I do want to be healthy. That’s the bottom line.

healthylifestyle3

This healthy lifestyle is hard to maintain! I love food too much, and it seems like that’s the one convenient thing to do when dating and hanging out with friends. It’s always let’s meet for lunch, brunch, dinner, drinks, happy hour. These are the essential social activities for young modern women in NYC, but it ends up being very expensive and sometimes takes you off track of reaching your goal. This lifestyle takes creativity (for meal prep), commitment, and discipline.

This woman recently wrote an article “Being Thin Didn’t Make Me Happy, But Being ‘Fat’ Does.” I read the article and she raised interesting points. Being thin should not be anyone’s goal. Being healthy should be the goal. You can be thin and out of shape, have high cholesterol and high blood pressure, but because you are thin you think it is ok. It is not. If your goal is to be thin, then you will be miserable. Your goal should be health and happiness, and to look good in and out of your clothes (whatever looking good means to you).

healthylifestyle

So let me break down the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Good: I know what I am capable of doing. I have seen success when I was disciplined and committed to this new lifestyle.

The Bad: I became lazy and inconsistent with meal prep and working out. I said yes to too many cheeseburgers too often (nothing wrong with a cheeseburger once in a while) and said to too many opportunities to workout and eat right

The Ugly: I’ve gained all the weight back that I lost and a little more. I’m back a square one.

healthylifestyle2

2014 was an AMAZING year for me. That was definitely my season to flourish and bear amazing fruit in many areas of my life and I thank God for it. 2015 has started off a little shaky in a few areas, but I know this season, this winter I’m feeling, is temporary because no season lasts forever. So I’m done with the challenges. I cancelled my gym membership because I know I’m not going to go, but I have been taking advantage of the on-demand fitness options that I pay for with Fios lol. I’m not going to take baby steps, but I’m not going to do the extreme. I’m going to eat, I’m going to workout, and I’m going to live a healthier life.