Monday, January 30, 2012

The Attack of the Forty Foot Martini Olive



I wanted to call this blog the Attack of the Forty Foot Nacho and came pretty close to it. At one time, nachos were my late night dinner of choice. While working full time and going to college, I often ate one meal a day, consisting of pure comfort food acquired from a local restaurant. The meal usually occurred late at night on my way home from the college library. I’d order a plate of loaded nachos to go, grab my pizza box sized dinner and head home to eat them as I read, wrote and completed assignments into the wee hours of the morning. Once I changed my nutrition (in case you missed it, see my original blog post “Do These Nachos Make My Hiney Look Fat?”), I chose to no longer indulge in such things. I kept to the nutritional straight and narrow with occasional deviations for nights out. They are no longer comfort food to me and I am not in imminent danger of actually being attacked by a plate of loaded nachos.


Really, what I miss is the casual ordering of a cocktail without a second thought. 

While working to maintain my newly achieved smaller size for a year, I occasionally indulged in a glass or two of wine or a delightfully well-made dirty martini with an array of blue cheese stuffed olives. It’s a reasonable decision to make while maintaining size, but if the goal is to drop body fat, which is what I am doing now, I need to deny the urge to answer the olive’s come hither looks. It’s not like that olive is going to pull itself off the stick and jump into my mouth – it can’t attack me any way but mentally.


Its Forty Foot stature only exists in my head and only if I allow it.


My rule is that I have to evaluate the consequences of my choices. The choices I make either take me where I want to go or they take me in another direction. If I make a decision that isn’t taking me toward a goal, it really needs to be worth it. That martini olive often beckons me, propped with its friends on a little stick. But, its siren song needs to wait until my 12 weeks of FLT nutrition are over and I transition into maintenance. That is my choice. Others in my group still opt to indulge in wine and cocktails. For them, the wine is worth it. This plan is about being able to live your life in a healthy, normal way while dealing with challenges. It is about finding balance that works for each, individual person.


On January 12, I met with Caryn Acevedo at Accelerated Fitness Solutions in Cromwell to go over the FirstLine Therapy nutrition program customized for me. She brings high energy, laughter and positive energy into the room with her. The best part is that Caryn recently returned from maternity leave. She still has approximately 20 pounds to lose in order to return to her pre-pregnancy figure so she’ll be strongly focused on her own nutrition and facing some of the same issues that our group members need to address. 



We met privately for over an hour. She administered the bioimpedance test and reviewed all of my information. It showed that since the last time I experienced the test in January, 2011, I’d gained 12 pounds of muscle and my metabolic rate had taken a nice jump. The bioimpedance test is the one that taught me to not live and die by a scale. A pound of muscle weighs the same as a pound of fat, but they serve different purposes and change body appearance in dramatically dissimilar ways. One burns fuel, drives metabolism and keeps the body tight while the other does not. That’s a 12 pound gain actually taking me in the right direction. My size 2 trousers all still fit quite nicely. What I need to do now is drop my body fat without losing muscle to see more definition and sculpt what I have. That is the goal for which we’re working.
 
For the past year, having achieved my original size goals, I followed a fairly structured style of eating and a workout schedule in order to maintain what I had done and to remain both healthy and fit. I am accustomed to planning ahead, being prepared for social situations and in general, making good decisions. This program makes some changes to what I have been doing and I think in the long run, I will actually spend less money on groceries. I just need to alter my mindset to follow along and make sure I eat appropriately for my 6 meals, getting in all different foods as required. Caryn gave me a sassy, organized notebook with loads of reference materials and recipes.


Together we reviewed my program. I learned how to pick, choose, and move food options around in order to accommodate my ever-changing daily schedule. Caryn also reminded me about the importance of good sleep. Since I typically sleep 4-6 hours a night, Caryn made a scrunchy face and suggested I up those numbers. 


I started the program the next day. I find it fairly easy to follow along and I like that it is so focused on clean, healthful eating. I keep a log of my 6 meals to make sure I get in all the food I am supposed to be eating. It really does help to write it down. I don't write it as I eat it, but rather plan ahead for a few days. The log makes sure that everything I need is on my grocery list or in the house. I don't have to scramble around last minute and leave myself in a predicament of being caught without a healthy choice.


We had our first group meeting and we talked about some of the issues we each faced.


For me, it is the constant barrage of social situations where bad food choices are the name of the game. Restaurant food is delicious, but most of the time I avoid it. Steak finished in butter, meals full of hidden sugars, fat and calories - all sabotage any kind of fat reduction plan.


I am a Rotarian with a once a week dinner meeting. Last week, I spent all day Monday in a seminar with banquet food followed by my evening dinner meeting. I belong to a local Chamber of Commerce. Wednesday was the Annual Meeting complete with full bar and dinner. Thursday, I was invited to a friend's for dinner. Saturday night, I had tickets to a Murder Mystery dinner. So, you can see how planning ahead is a must in order for me to remain successful and focused. I did not eat a single bite of restaurant food and managed to avoid the call of the martini olive at the same time. It's not about sitting there feeling deprived and starving. I bring my own food when I am able or eat beforehand. Planning is the key to success. It's not that I won't ever have a martini again (or even a donut for that matter), but I am not going to have them because I don't have other choices available to me.


Other group members are not accustomed to cooking without bottles of sauces to flavor meat and fish and are in need of some recipes to prepare their meals in a more healthful way, without all the processed sugar. Just yesterday, I made pan-seared salmon for lunch. It's a quick and easy recipe, from fridge to plate in under 10 minutes. I paired it with steam-baked squash (prepared the night before), served mashed with a dribble of EVOO and seasoning, a low carb flax/whole wheat pita with hummus, cucumbers and olives along with some almonds. Great lunch.




I finally checked my progress on Saturday morning, also known as day 16. I am down 5 pounds of fat. My muscle is safe, I have high energy and am keeping up with my workouts. Caryn will be happy to know, I am getting 8 hours of sleep every night. Our next group meeting is this Friday. Can't wait to catch up with everyone, get some new recipe ideas and have a few laughs at the same time.


Take that, you great big olive!







22 comments:

  1. I'm proud of you! You go gurrrl!

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  2. Aw, I want an olive and I don't even like olives. You look super and you must feel awesome!

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    1. I feel great - the small changes I made in my nutrition really upped my energy. I feel incredibly good. Thank you!

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  3. As Freddie Prinze Sr would say "Loooooookin Good!"

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    1. MP, you just made me grin! Thank you!

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  4. I love that you see food for what it is--fuel--and that you haven't lost sight of the fact that occasional indulgences are just dandy. Sometimes people get so crazy-obsessed with a rigid eating plan that when they choose to have a drink or a donut or whatever their personal indulgence is, they swallow an equal portion of guilt. That mindset definitely takes the pleasure out of the treat, defeating the whole shebang.

    I am making better choices and I'm making them consistently. Are there cheeseburgers in my future? Damn straight. Are they my daily choice? Definitely not.

    PS: You look great!

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  5. Thank you, Elizabeth! I do stay on the straight and narrow for the most part because I know what I get when I don't - once I transition over to maintenance, there will be occasional martini nights (and is it just me or do those damn medicine balls look like martini olives?!)- cheeseburgers aren't bad on occasion - portion and condiment choices being the real challenge if you are reducing fat. Use lean protein (95% at least), avoid ketchup because of the sugar and swap out your bun for a flax/whole wheat option from Joseph's Bakery. You could even do them regularly by using a 4 oz veggie burger. Load up on pickles, onions, tomatoes, lettuce and 2 oz low fat (or no fat) cheese - a nice treat!
    And thank you as always, you really do get me. I appreciate that!

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  6. Very well written, as always...Life really is all about the choices we make...These days I tend to make better ones thankfully...I hope you know how many times during my workouts when I say I can't do one more I manage to eek out at least one more or maybe 5...(I've even been practicing the cruelty that Kevin put us through on Saturday which was Jump squats followed by Jump lunges times about 4 or 5...My legs really were gonna fall off..but they didn't)...You really are an inspiration to me to keep going and your friendship has been appreciated immensely...Keep up the good work and can't wait to see what the next 10 weeks brings you...See ya Saturday :)

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  7. KK, thanks so much. You really have come a long way with power and conditioning since you started the all levels camp. Your strength comes from your tenacity & the fact you put yourself through it even when Kevin isn't there to prod, poke and cajole you along. Leg complexes are brutal but so effective. You really should do a training session once a week - if you do a semi-private for 45 minutes, it's $37.50 - and with the additional work, you'll be showing some swagga in that bikini this summer! See you Saturday - I might come early and do back to back, all levels and then extreme, just for kicks.

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  8. Wow! What a great post and what a great accomplishment - not only the weight loss, which is amazing! But also for seeing food in a different perspective. There's so much emotional attachment to food that it's so hard to see it as just fuel for your body. So bravo and keep up the good work!

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    1. Thank you so much! It is funny that you mentioned the emotional attachment to food - sometimes, food triggers memory so real it's like reliving an experience. A new protein bar, vanilla almond in flavor was like biting into an Italian cookie - an almond paste cookie - from Livechhi's, a bakery from the south end of Hartford, where I grew up. In one small bite, I was 7, with coins in my hand saved from my weekly allowance of a quarter, to buy my grandma two pieces of her favorite pastry. Mrs. DiLorenzo behind the counter was touched by this and decorated the pastry box inside with an array of almond paste candy that resembled miniature fruit. And I got an almond ice for my trouble. All that packed into one bite.
      I'm learning to separate the joy of the emotion or memory from a need to consume.
      :-)

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  9. "It can't come attack me any way but mentally." MAN oh man that rings true for me in so many ways, fitness and health included. But in so many ways. Thank you!!! And best wishes on your goals. I'm visiting because of Word Nerd but will be back. : )

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    1. Marie, thank you for coming by - the Word Nerd is a gem and then some, isn't she!?

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  10. Your drive and dedication are certainly inspirational. I have got to start my own journey and still trying to figure out the best plan to follow. I can absolutely find motivation from your determination.

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  11. Kat, I wish you the very best along the way - the best advice I can give is to have fun with it and find like-minded people. It makes it all so much easier!

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  12. So glad to have been introduced to your blog! I'm attempting to reclaim my own fitness goals after losing them in the needs of my family. Walking away from the forty foot glass of wine has been my latest achievement, so I relate to this! Lol! BTW, I come from a family of Rotarians and spent a year as an exchange student myself. That organization literally has shaped my life. :)

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    1. Hi Amy and thank you! My Rotary keeps me hopping with a lot of projects - our largest is Lobsterfest which is held in June. We serve over 2,000 meals in one night. I certainly get in my cardio and resistance training with that event!

      I think we all can relate to your experience of having life events intervene in our own goal sets. Women especially, put the needs of others over their own, even in matters of health. I wish you much luck & success. My trainer has been a major source of inspiration & has helped me clarify what I really want. And I do have a hint for you, with red wine (less sugar than white)- if you do get attacked by a glass of it, pair it with a lean protein to help absorb the sugar. Keep me posted on your progress! I'm ready to cheer you on!

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  13. I've been down this road and back again so many times in my life, that I feel like a rotating sidewalk might be a better set. I appreciate the effort you are putting in, it's a chore, a challenge, and a joy to accomplish!

    Congratulations in a big way!

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    1. Thank you, November Rain - I know the yo yo feeling very well, but I think this time, I've created good habits and made major permanent changes in how I live my life. I grateful to all the help I've received along the way - without those folks, I don't think success would be so assured!

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You comments are truly appreciated!