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.

biotin

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?

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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

I have a love-hate relationship with fitness. I know it should be more about love, but sometimes I hate it because of the time and discipline it requires. About 2 months ago my mother ordered Pastor Rick Warren and Doctors Daniel Amen, and Mark Hyman called The Daniel Plan which is a New York Times Best Seller. Long story short it is based on the book of Daniel in the bible (Get more info here). The plan is different from the fast or diet because it focuses on a lifestyle change with the 5 Fs Faith, Food, Fitness, Focus, Friends. The plan is designed for you to do it with another person or group of people for support. I wasn’t really interested in following the plan, but my mother asked me to do it with her, so I did. So we set a date to start and began preparing. We also took a toxicity test and I realized that food was making me extremely toxic. I did not realize how something I love so much could make me feel so horrible. Over the last few years I would experience crazy headaches that lasted about 30 seconds but the pain was ridiculous. I went to the doctor and they said I was healthy, they don’t know what it could be. In January the headaches started happening more frequently and I started checking ingredients and looking at side effects for food allergies and all. My last headaches was the last straw.

thedanielplan

On January 27, 2014 we started our 10-day detox (not required, but recommended) before we started the Daniel Plan which would mean clean eating for a total of 40 days. During this 10-day detox I had to eliminate dairy, breads, pasta, caffeine, sugar, fast food, and everything else that I used to survive on. The first 2-3 days were the most difficult, but then it became second nature. I never realized how flavorful and sweet foods were without all of the “stuff” we put in it.  I mainly eat lots of veggies, protein, sprouts, nuts, and whole grains. I eat lots of quinoa, avocado, kale, broccoli, spinach, almonds, celery, carrots,  pumpkin seeds, blueberries, strawberries, bell peppers, chicken, shrimp, lamb, wild salmon, lean beef, beans,  hearty white fish like swordfish, fresh herbs, sweet potatoes, apples, tomatoes, lots of garlic red potatoes, onions, and citrus. I have yet to have any pasta (I purchased gluten-free pasta though). I use almond butter (try some with an apple OMG!), raw honey, and stevia extract as my sugar substitute. I bought a juicer so I have fresh juice probably once a week. I mainly drink herbal tea without sugar and maybe some stevia, water, or infused water. I’m having fun making different meals! The options are limitless.

thedetox

This process was difficult when it came to meal prep. I had to make sure I had breakfast, lunch, dinner, and 2 snacks for everyday of the week. My eating habits on the weekend were terrible and I has a huge snacker. I love chips and cookies. Working with high school students I tend to pick up their bad habits. I had to make sure I could fight the temptation with plenty of healthy snacks.

Not my photo, I just thought it looked cool.

Not my photo, I just thought it looked cool.

So for 21 Days I’ve been eating clean. This would actually be 23 days of clean eating, but I had two cheat days (my best friend’s birthday and Valentine’s Day). Here are the changes that I noticed since I started:

  1. More energy- I have so much more energy! I would come home from work and just be tired, now I have the energy to cook, workout, and complete assignments for work and school.
  2. Clearer Skin- I never had “bad skin” but the winter has taken my skin in a different direction. My skin is so much brighter. My mother’s dark circles started to get lighter
  3. Lost weight! I lost about 5lbs after the detox. 
  4. Inches off of my waist!- I’m now on the last hole of one of my belts and the second to last on another.
  5. I feel lighter! Food weighs you down. Now that I’m eating clean I feel the total difference.
  6. My mood has changed. I didn’t realize how moody I was until now. I am so much happier! I never considered myself to be unhappy or miserable, but I don’t stress about a lot of things anymore.
  7. Clarity- my mind is a lot more clearer. I feel like I can hear God’s voice more. I’m more focused than ever before.

One thing that I learned throughout this process was how important it is to be disciplined. God gave me the word discipline to be my focus for 2014. I know that he has great things in store for me this year, but they will not be handed to me. I know that I need to be disciplined to achieve my goals.

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I have discovered great recipes, ordered the Daniel Plan Cookbook, and I actually enjoy meal prep. I need to stock my house with more snack options to feel complete lol. I’m working on transforming my kitchen into a Daniel Plan Kitchen complete with all of the appliances and necessary foods and spices to continue going strong. My last day on the plan is March 7th, but this is definitely a lifestyle change. Now I just have to be consistent with my workouts (I’m getting ready to join a gym) and then I’ll be on my way to a healthier lifestyle. My brother is starting to eat clean and my god mother purchased the book as well. I can’t wait for the rest of my family to join in.

One site that I go to frequently for food inspiration is Lexi’s Clean Kitchen. She is AMAZING! I made some lemon poppy seed pancakes one day and they were awesome. Check out her site.

Stay tuned for more updates and maybe even some recipes!