Posted by: Hannah | 04/28/2014

sipping on gin & juice

Once again, I have gotten very fat, slow, unhealthful, and tragic.

I can’t tell you what I weigh because it’s too mortifying, but normally at this weight I’m eight months pregnant with a giant baby.

I realized I was crashing every afternoon at around 2PM. I was snacking too much. My I-can’t-believe-I-had-to-buy-jeans-this-size jeans were starting to feel kind of snug. My pre-menstrual symptoms were getting completely out of control.

Despite being very careful about feeding my kids balanced meals, I was not doing the same thing for myself.

So a week ago I decided to make one tiny step, and I broke up with toast.


I’m not trying to say that I have a gluten intolerance, or a wheat allergy, or anything like that – I just know that unless I plan ahead a little bit with breakfast and lunch, I default to toast because it’s easy. Two pieces for breakfast! Then a sandwich for lunch! Don’t ask me about the occasional english muffin before bed. Eep.

That’s a lot of empty calories in the run of a day. No wonder I’m fat.

So, first step – I committed to eating only protein and fruit for breakfast. Every morning. It means getting up a little earlier so I have time to prep something, but after just a couple of days I noticed a big improvement. No 10AM slump. No headache.


Nothing succeeds like success, so starting just this weekend I decided that I’d tackle lunch next. I asked my healthy friends for their thoughts and Nicole suggested a smoothie and some nuts.

I will starve, I thought to myself. I will starve and die, because no one can survive on liquid lunches and what the actual fuck, is that what it takes to be thin? I’m only 36 years old, am I really going to not have sandwiches for lunch ever again?

But I tried it. Day one I played it safe and my smoothie was strawberries, mangoes, peaches, plain yoghurt, milk, and a handful of raw oats. It was nice. Refreshing. Day two I went with yoghurt, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries, water, more oats. That was even nicer. Both days I didn’t topple over mid-afternoon. I had plenty of energy. I didn’t want to snack.

So today I took a deep breath and tackled A Green Smoothie. Green smoothies have all sorts of weird associations for me; fit healthy people swear by them, and talk about them, and post links to them, and my usual gut reaction is I’ll bet that’s got chunks in it. Ewwww. And then I go have a cookie, or something.

Getting a lump of anything when I drink liquid instantly turns me off. Just thinking about it kind of makes me want to gag. But since the green-smoothie common denominator is “fit healthy people” I figured I should at least try.

I started with this one, since Nicole is my go-to for this stuff and I know she wouldn’t post a recipe that hadn’t been tested pretty thoroughly. I replaced the coconut water with just water and left out the hemp seeds because SEEEEEEDS EWWWWW and also I am not the kind of person who just has hemp seeds on hand. As per her instructions I put handfuls of spinach in the blender with just the liquid and blended the ever-loving hell out of it before I added the other ingredients.

It tasted… really good, if you like bananas, and I do, so we’re all good. The colour would be completely alarming if you were afraid of green things, but I’m not, so that’s OK. I actually couldn’t finish all of it because I was too full. Too full! Crazy business. And I can confidently say that I would never have eaten 4 cups of spinach for lunch, otherwise.

Here’s a weird thing about me – if I start the day off right, food-wise, I’ll keep it going all day. I had that super-healthy breakfast, I’ll think, so I don’t want to spoil all that rectitude with a cookie NOW. On the other hand, if I have a not-so-good breakfast, I’ll think bah, day’s wrecked anyway. COME HERE POTATO CHIPS, GET IN MAH BELLEH.

It’s a damn silly thing, and it’s a very self-defeating way to address getting healthy. I don’t know why I have this all-or-nothing mindset, but there it is. So I need to recognize my own limits as I try to stick with this new regime. Every day at naptime I have one small treat; either a single chocolate, or one cookie. I wait until I’m alone. I savour it. I make sure I’m really enjoying it and not just hoovering it because I’m cranky from the morning grind.

Today I found myself not even craving it; my tea & cookie break was nice, but I could have gone without it.

I realize we’re only a week in, but I’m feeling so much better that I can’t imagine not sticking with it for a while. My pants are already fitting better. I haven’t had a headache in days. I’m drinking more water and eating smaller portions.

Maybe this time it will work? I don’t know. I know that I have a birthday tomorrow… that I have three energetic kids to keep up with… that I’m tired of having sore feet and aching knees… that I want to wake up every morning feeling good.

I’ll keep updating. Meanwhile, if anyone has favourite recipes for smoothies or breakfasts – I love eggs, eggs are great, so anything egg-based would be lovely – please share links in the comments!





  1. BRAVO! I love this. I *get* this. Oh, I so identify!

    I bet you will keep up the good work, because feeling well feels great! The pain of just being, is exhausting. I know. Believe me.

    My go-to smoothie is 2 frozen spinach pucks, 1/4 c frozen blueberries, 2 T chia (I know “EWWW seeds!”, but ch-ch-ch-CHIA!), protein powder and water. I smoothie it up in my single serve blender and I’m good to go.

    Eggs are awesome! They are my back up on oh-my-ever-lovin-chia-I-cannot-look-at-another-smoothie days. 🙂 I find adding spice makes me happy and more satisfied! Salsa or Frank’s Hot Sauce. Yum!

    Keep going! Know you are not alone. You can do this!

    • Yup, I love salsa on eggs. Delicious.

      Spinach pucks! I never even thought of that. I used fresh spinach but the pucks would be much more cost-effective. I’ll try that!

      • Yes. Spicy is nice-y! *groan*

        Oh, yes! Spinach pucks are way cheaper and it’s frozen fresh and never goes bad. I always have some in the freezer. I use frozen blueberries for the same reason. If I have fresh blueberries, I’d rather just eat them because YUMMY!

  2. Whoo, go Hannah! It’s so great when you find something that works. I generally eat yogurt and fruit for breakfast on the exact same principle, but I haven’t graduated to green smoothies yet, although I really need to get something that will make green smoothies because I really hate making salads. Baseball is also starting, so I have to work to not let dinners degenerate into a crazed free-for-all of bad choices, with everyone going in different directions at different times.

    • I don’t have a juicer or even a particularly fancy blender – I’ve got an Oster that I got years ago when I had no money so it can’t have been too expensive. I also hate making salads. And eating them, frankly. SO MUCH CHEWING. I feel like a rabbit.

      • Y’all are my people! I hate making salads. They are super labor intensive, no one in my family can agree on what should be in them, and I end up throwing half of it away because it goes bad before anyone eats it. Depressing.

  3. We like to pre-bake eggs so they just need a quick warm up aand maybe a dollop of salsa. Just grease the heck out of muffin cups or u se silicon liners, add a tablespoon or two of sauteed veggies or whatever you like in an omelet and top with some beaten eggs. Bake at 350F until not jiggly. Store in fridge or freezer. Warning: eggs rise and make a mess if you overfill.
    I’m also a really big fan or putting about a half cup of marinara in a ramekin, cracking two eggs on top, and baking until soft cooked.
    Yay for you! I need to do this. Ten months postpartum I’m the same weight as seven months pregnant. Blah. It’s been a rough year.

    • Oh, I LOVE the pre-made eggs ideas, thank you! Brilliant. That’ll save me lots of time.

      At ten months post-partum I was still wearing maternity shirts. :p So, I feel you. When you’re ready, you’ll do it.

    • I don’t want to be too dramatic, but this is life changing! I am the only person in my family who likes eggs. I love eggs. If it was up to me, I’d eat them every day, but during the week I have to be to work at 7:30 so making an omelet was out and on the weekends we make things everyone likes for our family breakfast. I am so excited to find out that I CAN make an omelet on weekday mornings! Thank you!

      • Hee! Yay! Our favorite is a little sauteed onion, mushroom, and bell pepper and a pinch of shredded cheese in each cup. I think I got the idea from a South Beach cookbook ten years ago (they were called crustless mini quiches maybe).
        Thanks, Hannah. I’m back out of maternity clothes so I should remember that’s a win!

  4. Wow, that’s so great! Nothing succeeds like success indeed. Thanks also for the green smoothie shout out. It really is an awesome way to get your leafy greens in, and I can never taste the spinach. Sometimes I make a smoothie that is spinach, water, and frozen whatever-I-have-usually-blueberries, which makes it not green, but super tasty.

    And it’s funny you should say that, the all-or-nothing. That’s really common, I think. Aw, fuck it, I ate a cookie at lunch so now I’m going to EAT ALL THE THINGS. But no. One cookie >>>>> an entire batch of cookies plus chips. Right? If you read Swistle’s blog, she has something called “drops IN the bucket” meaning, it might seem like a small thing but it is still IN the bucket and in is better than not in. She was referring to cleaning but I like to think of it for all areas.

    Happy birthday!!!!

  5. Hi Hannah, I’ve been reading for a while but I don’t think I’ve commented before, one of my favourite breakfasts is ham cups – line a muffin tin with slices of ham in each cup, make up an omelet in a bowl with whatever veg you like and a little cheese (or not, depending on preference), pour the batter into the “ham cups”, whack the pan in the oven at 350 for 7 minutes, if you want, pull them out, add more cheese on top, put ’em back in for another 7 minutes. Enjoy but be careful, they are very very hot when they come out. They’re tasty hot or cold. I have a fitness page on facebook I’m working on for my weight-loss journey – feel free to stop by or give it a “like” for recipes etc.

  6. I just jumped on the smoothie train at the beginning of the year and LOVE it! My favorites all have frozen banana. I’ve taken to putting together smoothie bags so I’m not lugging out the big bags of frozen berries, etc. each morning. I freeze baby spinach as is and toss that in by the handful. My kiddos will eat green smoothies to but only when I use enough frozen blueberries to disguise the green color. I also have used frozen kale but for my tastes need to pair this with a sweet, sweet fruit or its to pungent of flavor. I use unsweetened almond milk (vanilla flavor) in smoothies – protein but much less calories then regular milk. Although many people don’t love milk in their green smoothies, I think it makes it taste better.

    One lunch that I love is half of an avocado mashed up on a single piece of toast. I drizzle with olive oil, sea salt, and black pepper. Easy to make and quick to eat but fills me up. This is my go-to when I’m hungry while prepping the lunch for the daycare kids and don’t think I can hold out until after they are served.

    I’ve been trying to drop weight from baby #4 in November and have also found that for me I do best when I have a high protein, some carbs breakfast plus water. I opt for a smoothie at 10 am +/- (am snack for the kids). Timing it like this helps me through the kids lunch time and getting them to nap if I can’t sneak in my lunch beforehand.

    Best of luck! Lindsey

  7. Oh, honey. I should have responded to this earlier this week, but I’ve been thinking a lot about what to say, as I know exactly where you’re coming from! This is how I found myself (2 years ago) at 300lbs and barely able to walk a few blocks. It sucks and it’s physically, mentally, and emotionally draining to both come to the realization and admit to it. So, kudos to you for trying to make some changes. Big hugs. And, let me know if there’s anything I can do to help/support you.

    Bread is yummy. So, so yummy, but it’s only temporarily filling. THis is why the Aitkin’s and gluten free fads work – less bread means more room for higher quality foods which keep you full longer.

    I started using a modified version of the multiple meals per day method. The key for me has been to make sure that I always include good quality proteins (I eat so many eggs and tuna). So, each of my meals are protein, carb (usually in the form of fruit and veggies because I will eat bread if it’s in the house) and a bit of fat (only added if the protein is lean; usually nuts, avocado, etc.). My all-time favourite meal is tuna salad (tuna, mayo, spcies) with apple chunks. Sounds weird, but it’s so good!

    Despite the fact that I eat a lot (I’m not restricting calories, I’m just keep my calories within the recommended range), I still really struggle when I get home at the end of the day. But, I’m working on that.

    I can’t do the one small treat per day thing because I can’t stop at one. Seriously, ask me how long the last box of cookies lasted! Actually, don’t – it’s embarrasing. And, it’s why I never buy or make cookies.

    Keep reminding yourself that it’s not about being perfect. You’re allowed treats and your regular date night meal, you’re also allowed to have “bad” days, not-as-healthy meals, etc. The trick is to not let those “bad” things crush your spirit and to recognize that they don’t make *you* bad. I get sucked into this often because I don’t really have a support network, so if I have a “bad” day I feel like I failed and nothing’s working and there’s no point in trying so I might as well eat a bag of chips, 3 chocolate bars, and some cheese while admitting that I’m a fat cow and will always be a fat cow.

    When you have those days, reach out to someone who understands. Not someone who’ll give you platitudes (“no, you look great”, “but you’re so nice, so it doesn’t matter”, etc.), but to someone who will let you vent, give you a hug, and remind you that tomorrow’s a new day. I fall off track all the time and the only reason my current effort are working is because I keep getting back on track and I modify things as needed. Also, I have goals (not weight lose goals, but they’re ones that will benefit from getting fitter and dropping a few pounds).

    If it helps, here are some tips I’ve read about and that seem to work for most people:
    – start small – you’ve already done that by starting with one meal and moving on from there
    – document – I’m really bad at this and need to find a way to get better, but the science says that you are more likely to have success if you document things. This doesn’t mean you have to track every bloody calorie (that kind of anal retentive documenting actually back fires for me because any day I see numbers higher then my rough target, I read it as “I failed”). It could be as simple as making a note of what your meals were (smoothie for breakfast, salad with grilled chicken for lunch, etc.). Or, it could just be noting if you had a good day and why/why not.
    – regardless of calorie count, etc. real/whole foods are always better and you’re doing better then most people if the majority of your daily food is real food
    – don’t diet, just eat better
    – your body has gotten used to your current weight, so you will plateau, many times – just keep going. Being healthy is far more important than being thin. I still weight the same as I did a year and a bit ago, but I feel a million times better, pysically, mentally, and emotionally.

    With regards to documenting: Like I said, I don’t do this very well. I’m an emotional eater and I have a lot of hang-ups from when I was a kid (being told I was fat, to eat better, but not being taught anything more then how much of a failure I am if I can’t manage to eat better, even though it was my parents who fed me and who taugh me to love and devour cheese). I find for me the best thing to do is be pro-active: instead of noting what I ate and worrying about when I ate bad things, I plan my food and keep as much fruit and veggies as I can afford in my house for when I feel like snacking. Then, if I have a bad day, I try to figure out why and if there was a better way I could have dealt with it.

    OK, this was a really long response and I worry that I might come off as lecturing you. I’m not trying to, I’m just trying to offer you some tips and such that I wished I had known when I first realized I needed to do something. The best of luck to you. This is a tough thing to work on, but I know you can do it!

    Please do not hesitate to ask if there’s anything I can do to help.

    • This is all fantastic stuff – some great tips in here. And yeah, I hear you. Sounds like you and I have a lot of the same hang-ups about food. [hugs]

      Thank you for offering your support. It means a lot.

  8. […] update, one month into my new mindful-eating lifestyle […]

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