Two weekends ago, I finished canning strawberry jam for 2019.
You know my boys looooove strawberry picking, right? Jamie especially, as evidenced by the look on his face. Ah, well, they survived, and besides that, they enjoy having fresh, homemade jam just as much as anyone. We picked 35 pounds of strawberries, and when all was said and done, we came up with 75 jars, and that was not including the 7 quarts left over when I was just too tired to can even one more jar.
That’s always one of my favorite pictures every year. It was hard work, but always worth it. My eating was pretty lousy for the weekend. I started out well, like I often do, but then I decided that I just HAD to have homemade biscuits with my jam, and then if I was going to have homemade biscuits, I should make my favorite breakfast sandwich (bacon, egg and cheese biscuits)…and it just got worse from there. I didn’t really want to weigh myself the following Monday morning, but I’ve been so lax about my eating habits for so long, I knew that I needed to face the truth. And an ugly truth, it was.
I mentioned in my May post that I’ve been stuck in the 133 range, and this is definitely higher than that. Not the most I’ve weighed in the last seven years, but just 2/10 of a pound shy of it. Oy. I can’t even blame it all on the biscuits, because the truth is that I’ve been reverting to old habits the last few months. I can’t remember the last time I measured anything, and my snacking has been pretty out of control, both at work and at home. I have rarely been without a package of cookies in my desk at work, and when I go to grab one Hershey‘s kiss, it’ll usually end up to be four or five, and then there’s the donuts that are a regular part of my office routine. Is it any wonder that I’ve been feeling terribly bloated and just plain fat the last few months? Of course not. Here’s a recent picture of me, taken after the celebration dinner for my sister’s 50th birthday.
I don’t look bad, right? But if you look closely, you can see that that shirt is pulling and creating gaps around my waist. I bought 7 years ago when I first lost the weight (don’t judge me, I’m not into clothes and see little reason to spend money on new things when the stuff I have is still in good shape, lol) and it has been really eye-opening for me to discover that it’s tight. 🙁
I finally decided last week that I needed to do something different, maybe a little drastic. And so, I decided to cut carbs from my diet. Now, when I say “cut carbs,“ that’s probably not entirely accurate. I’m not following a super-low-carb diet, like keto or anything like that. I’m not really following any specific kind of diet at all, although I did look around to see if I could find one that I thought would work for me. It all seemed pretty complicated, though, so in the end, I just decided that I would cut back significantly on the typical “starchy“ carbs that I am so fond of.
So, I said goodbye to my half an English muffin and corn flakes for breakfast during the week, and my full or sometimes one and a half English muffin on the weekends. No more pasta, no more rice, and no more potatoes. I also completely cut out sweets with the exception of my beloved dark chocolate Hershey’s kisses, but I got really strict on those. Six per day, three after lunch, three before bed.
And I counted EVERYTHING in my calorie tracker. I’ve actually been using my calorie tracker every day for more than two months, for a completely different reason that I’ll go into another time, but although I’ve been staying within my daily calorie allotment when exercise calories are included these last few months, I wasn’t always perfect about tracking every little thing. (The aforementioned packages of mini chocolate chip cookies, for instance.)
I have to admit, I really didn’t have confidence that I could even do it. God, I love my carbs. I love them SO MUCH. But I also hate the feeling of being overweight, and I knew I had to give up the things that were keeping me there, and carbs were a big part of that.
The first couple of days were challenging. It didn’t help that my boss brought donuts in that Monday morning, because all the treats and snacks brought into the office are kept right next to my desk. You just can’t imagine the willpower I had to have with those donuts sitting next to me all day. But I didn’t have even one!
After a couple of days, it wasn’t so bad. I had to get creative during the day, though, because I am a snacker. I starting bringing in half an apple for my mid morning snack and then grilled chicken breast for my late afternoon snack. As I mentioned, I didn’t completely give up carbs. I knew that the fruit I enjoy, including apples and strawberries, has a lot of natural sugar in it, which of course counts as carbs, but I was surprised to find that the carrots I love so much are full of natural sugar as well, and therefore have more carbs than I would expect. Corn and beans, like black beans which I am fond of, are also carb culprits. But I figured I was allowed to have some carbs, and an apple is better than a bowl full of pasta, right?
Oh, and wine. I do allow myself wine, but I’ve cut it down to just a couple nights per week, the nights before the days when I don’t have to get up and run. I know that’s just a good choice all the way around, but it’s summer time, and I do enjoy laying around in my pool with a small glass of wine while I read my book, so that has taken some adjustment. Now it’s a big cup of ice water instead.
The weekends are tough, but I power through. Last Saturday morning, for the first time in four or five years since we’ve been running together, my girlfriends actually came down to my place to run! I enjoyed showing them all the sights of my neighborhood that I love so much, but I was disappointed hat we weren’t able to make it down to the creek. Why? Because the damn road was flooded, again!
We have gotten SO much rain in the last few months, it’s been crazy how often the roads are flooded here. You can kind of see it in the background behind us. That was last Saturday, one of the hottest days of the year, and it was a difficult run. We ended up running 6 1/2 together, and then I plowed through another 1.5 so that I could have eight under my belt. The pool felt wonderful when I was done!
(Okay, technically that picture was taken this morning, but it looked the same last week, lol. )
During our run last Saturday, I mentioned to my friends that I was currently eliminating most carbs from my diet. My friend Toddra immediately replied, “Are you sad?” LOL! Carbs are well-loved, that’s for sure!
After a week without bread, pasta, rice, cookies, donuts, or anything sweet or “starchy,” I weight myself…
Down a little over 3 pounds! Of course, that’s not at all a surprise; the reality is that some of the weight from the previous week was the result of really poor eating that weekend, so it would have probably come off anyway. The real test will be the second week (this week) when I see if my habits have made a dent in weight when I’m on my regular routine. The good news is, I feel a lot better. I don’t feel bloated and fat like I did, and my clothes are fitting better (not a lot, but a little, and that’s a good start). This week, I added in one “starchy” carb, which was a sweet potato on July 4th. My husband grilled steaks and potatoes, and I didn’t want to feel totally left out, so I substituted a sweet potato with butter and a little bit of brown sugar. Good stuff, and good for me, right? That’s what I hear, anyway. Tonight’s dinner is one of my favorite recipes, Spicy Chicken Rigatoni. This one will be more of a challenge, because it’s pretty much a pasta dish, but I’ll just load up heavier on the chicken and less on the pasta. I ran 6 miles in the heat and humidity this morning, so I think I can spare a few carbs, lol!
I’ll report back later in the month to let you know how it’s going. For now, here are a few pictures from my morning runs in the last few weeks, because one of the best things about running is the chance to see summer sunrises!
Thanks for reading!