Tuesday, November 12, 2013

It's time for a change

It's that time of the year when I like to reflect on my diet and see what changes I could/should make going forward. Not only I can see the numbers on the scale going up as the workout volume is going down, but just like the previous times that I gave myself challenges, I know what my issues are and once more, I need to get the upper hand on them. I have talked about my sugar and carbs intake before, and while it's nothing too alarming, I know that these two don't play nice with my body. Besides, even though I may be in the best shape of my life (fitness wise), it's not an excuse for filling my body with empty calories and this is the one trend that I am trying to reverse. I have friends on every diet spectrum possible and while their efforts in sticking with a method are really inspiring, I do not believe that I could make such drastic changes without making it so much harder for my family. We also have no medical reasons for changing anything that we're doing right now (but neither should we wait for them), plus I do not believe that one particular diet is better than other (I am talking in terms of lifestyle changes, not weight loss). We have a fairly clean diet, varied and devoid of fast food, pop, processed foods, artificial sweeteners, colorants and other chemicals. We try to buy as much local/organic food as possible and limit our eating out. Despite my sweet tooth, I have been able to maintain a stable weight throughout the year and I even saw my fat mass decrease.

As you can see, nothing wild happened over the past 12 months. I am exactly at the same weight as a year ago. So now that's out of the way, let's talk action plan. I need to make some changes in order to eat at least 5-7 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, while reducing my carbohydrate intake (Tim Hortons, I am looking at you). I checked out the Paleo diet and I know that it is not feasible for me, because I have no desire to completely remove wheat, dairy and grains forever (everything but the cheese, please!!). There are enough populations out there that live to a hundred years (Okinawa Island, Crete etc.) on diets that are very different from Paleo to convince me that this is not the only answer out there. If I had a chronic illness that would justify it, why not, but I am healthy as I've ever been and it's not for having eaten Paleo everything. However, the fact that this diet forces you to eat more veggies and be more creative with your cooking, it is a good enough reason to try following its principles at least half a day, each day.

So this is what I decided -
From breakfast to lunch included, I can eat like before (including bread, homemade banana bread, french crepes, croissants, toast etc), but in moderate quantities. I will not eat my cheesecake or pizza for breakfast, rest assured. Bottom line, I will not move meals around just to justify eating junk.
Lunch can have carbs/starch or not, but I will try to have more often veggies than mashed potatoes or rice.
After lunch, I will stop eating:
-carbs (as in bread, pasta, rice, quinoa, baked goods, pizza etc.)
-alcohol (only one a week, in the weekend)
-other sweet drinks

The idea that I can fight a craving until the next morning instead of the next month is much, much more appealing to me. Plus, most likely the craving would be gone by next day = win!

To keep me motivated, since these changes should also lead to some weight loss eventually (I put on 5lb just in the last 2 weeks, mostly due to marathon carb loading), I signed up for Michael's Diet Bet challenge. This will be my second attempt and I hope to be successful, unlike the first time when I plateau'd after losing 3lb.
I find the off season to be the perfect time to experiment with dietary changes. There is less pressure to eat enough calories to sustain a high intensity workout volume and I have more time to improve my cooking skills. I think this way of eating would benefit me from many points of view. But most important, it feels right for me.

After a weekend of binging on desserts (the Moulin de Provence bakery in Ottawa is deadly!!), it is now time to stop the madness. Not only I got really sick and bloated from eating all these sweets, but I also questioned my motives. I had none other than "gourmandise" (greed sounds like such a bad word). I started making changes right away, on my way back home when we stopped for dinner.
This was my plate at Swiss Chalet. No more chicken noodle soup, mashed potatoes or bread bun. An hour later I was hungry again, but I ate a fruit cup. I am on my third day and I feel that I already ate more fruits and veggies than in an entire week.
At lunch yesterday, despite not bringing anything with me, I went to the cafeteria and bought this:
I had beef with cauliflower and carrots in teriyaki sauce, and I asked for double the broccoli and zero the rice on the side. I also bought a cup of pineapple and put together a small salad (cucumber, tomato, egg, no dressing) for snack. It took me through the day alright, although I felt my stomach asking for food sooner than usual. In the evening, I made myself an egg white omelet with spinach, chicken and red peppers.
I went for a run and ate a banana afterwards.
So it's now the third day, I even went swimming this morning and I see no change in my energy levels and I had no cravings. This feels very doable in the long term and I believe that it can only be good for my health. I made those changes the first step in my "40 Steps to 40" (OMG I'm turning 40!!!) set of challenges over the next year. Now I only need to come up with the other 39.


  1. The food looks yummy. I'm a huge carb eater though and couldn't make the switch myself. I did start eating protein for breakfast instead of carbs though and found it made a difference for me. Oh and at 40 your still a youngin' :)

    1. You are certainly one of the lucky ones, Robin. I cannot eat carbs and sweets and not watch every single bite. Every time I train for a marathon I put on 5lb just because of carb loading and I know it's not just water, I still have them 10 days later and I know they are here to stay unless I try to get rid of them. Plus, I have a hypo thyroid and not the fastest of metabolisms. I really need to work hard to lose weight. Less carbs, less stress!!

  2. Nice job Ririnette! Sounds like you have a well thought out and put together plan. I am eating more whole foods as well and trying to eliminate the processed stuff as much as possible. Keep up the great work and you'll lose that weight guaranteed!