I am happy with my muscle tone. I think you can maybe even see some in the shoulder and forearm of the arm that's holding the phone if you look carefully. That's all new. I still have some unpleasant belly fat but now I have some ab definition to go along with it. I've never had a beef with my legs but I can see bigger muscles there as well. I don't get to see my back too much but ladies at the gym have made positive comments so there must be something to see there as well.
I feel stronger. I was able to save money on potting soil at the garden center the other day because I was able to buy the largest bags they had. I was confident that I could lift them into my cart. In the past I would have purchased several smaller bags.
Sometimes I wonder if I should have abandoned the program four weeks ago when I stopped seeing measurable results. There has been some really tough training in the last four weeks. Then I have to remind myself that every workout I do and every good food choice I make has a positive impact on my body, measurable or not. And, in less than a week I can say that I completed a strenuous 12-week strength training program. Am I disappointed that my body didn't react the way the program suggested it might? Yes. But have I learned some things that I'm going to carry forward? Yes.
I've been researching what I want my fitness and diet plan to look like when this plan is over. I've worked too hard for any backsliding. I don't have anything hard and fast written down yet, but I've been mulling it over so I think I'm just about ready to finish up. I have two weeks of traveling coming up so part of the plan should include hotel room workouts.
This week Kenny showed me the documentary Forks Over Knives which "examines the profound claim that most, if not all, degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting animal-based and processed foods." Back in our early 20s we cut out foods containing artificial flavors/colors, trans fats, and high fructose corn syrup under the influence of Dr. Weil's book Eight Weeks to Optimum Health. That pretty much cuts out the processed food for us. But, we still consume eggs and dairy products. Kenny been talking about being vegan for awhile now. Perhaps he thought that now would be a good time to push me in that direction since I've been researching what I want our sustainable diet to look like. We are both lifelong ovo-lacto vegetarians. It wouldn't be a huge leap to being vegan. Forks Over Knives makes a compelling argument but I'm not sure I'm ready to make the leap just yet, particularly when we're living in Germany and traveling a lot. Sometimes we're lucky to find anything vegetarian on a menu at all. However, when I write my menu plan I will definitely have the intention of minimizing dairy and eggs.
I will also keep the following things that I've learned from Jamie's plan in mind:
- Eat regularly scheduled meals and snacks. It is easy to eat too much or make less than ideal choices when I allow myself to go too long without eating. Last night I went to a farewell dinner and the organizers were great to go out of their way to provide me with a vegetarian meal when the menu options were chicken or pork. However, my dinner consisted of a lettuce and radish salad. Did I eat cake for dessert? Yes. Yes I did, and I didn't think twice about it. I need to start keeping snacks in my purse, just in case.
- Protein fills you up. Eat it for every meal to stay fuller longer. Most of the time on this plan my breakfast includes four egg whites. I get hungry earlier if I haven't had the egg whites. My breakfast used to consist of cold cereal and fruit on most days. Going forward, I'm going to make sure to have protein for every meal.
- All carbs are not equal. I can eat a wonderful blueberry muffin filled with nuts, seeds, and whole grains and feel satisfied like I have had something substantial to eat. I can eat a cupcake and feel like I've had nothing and feel like I need to eat several more to be satisfied. I'm definitely going to looking for the word "whole" in front of any type of grain when I'm shopping. It's too easy to overeat when my food doesn't fill me up.
- Tea can help curb a cravings. I drink black tea with a splash of vanilla almond milk if I'm hungry. If I just want a little something sweet I choose fruit tea. I don't add any sweeteners.
I don't want to be gaining and losing the same pounds over and over. I want to make healthy choices for my family so we can all be confident and healthy. We will of course enjoy some nice gelato or a treat from the German bakery occasionally, but I want the meals I prepare at home to have an even healthier quality to them than they already had. When I indulge in treats I want to them to be high quality treats, not the Twix bar that the gas station hands out with a gas purchase. Good quality and appropriate quantity. That's what's going to drive my choices after this plan is over.