Posted by: Hannah | 05/21/2014

’cause you’re so smoooooth

An update, one month into my new mindful-eating lifestyle change.

Things are going really well. Taking into account all the many, many times in the past that I’ve dieted and failed, I took some good advice from my friend Beached Librarian and aimed for an 80/20 ratio of healthy choices to indulgences.

I have struggled with disordered eating in the past and I have no interest in re-visiting that, so within reason, I’m not denying myself too much. I had cake on my birthday. I’m still having my weekly Chinese take-out night, although I’m steering clear of the battered & fried General Tao’s chicken and I limit myself to one eggroll.

Most days I have a really good chocolate once all the kids are down for a nap. I make sure to take my time with it. It’s enough.

Last night was rough. Shark Week is looming, so my cravings for salt and fat were really bad. I was pacing. I was short-tempered. I tried eating some raw vegetables for the crunch, but that just made me mad. Then via Twitter another good friend sent me a link to a recipe on her blog for homemade microwaved potato chips. I made some right away. One small potato’s worth. They weren’t perfect – I’ll need to experiment a bit with cooking times and I think the paper towel is actually a critical step, needed to soak up some of the moisture – but they were tasty, and totally did the job at putting my craving to rest. I’m going to try them with sweet potatoes next and I’ll bet that’s delicious.

My favourite green smoothie combinations are spinach / fresh pineapple or frozen mango / banana, with water. Most days I’ll have a 1/4 cup of almonds with it just so I can be chewing something, but if I’m in a real hurry I’ll blend in some shelled hemp hearts instead.

My only notable smoothie failure was a recipe I found on the New York Times website; baby kale / ginger / apple / lemon. It was a horrible colour. It smelled strange. And it tasted like funerals and sourness. It was AWFUL. I gagged it down, but I have not revisited that little disaster again.

I keep hard-boiled eggs on hand in the fridge for a quick protein hit with breakfast. I’ve also started trying plain Greek yoghurt, fresh or frozen berries, and almonds mixed together with a little drizzle of honey.

So, what has all this virtue brought me?

  • I’ve lost about 10 pounds, give or take a pound or two for my wildly inconsistent bathroom scale
  • My oh-my-god-fat-jeans actually slid down over my hips the other day when I was running. I threw them out.
  • I haven’t had a headache in a month. A MONTH. Usually it takes pregnancy to let me be headache-free for that long.
  • I have much more energy. I don’t need a cup of tea mid-afternoon just to keep my eyes open.
  • I rarely drink more than a cup of coffee per day, whereas before I needed 2 – 3 big ones just to get to lunchtime
  • I bought a used treadmill (!) and am using it (!!) on a regular basis (!!!)
  • Using the treadmill actually helps me to not indulge in less-healthy food, because I still fucking hate, loathe, and abominate capital-E exercise – so after sweating my guts out to burn 140 calories I have less than zero interest in eating three times that much in front of the TV.

I’m feeling good. I’m trying not to think about an end goal – I’m really struggling to not set an “ideal target weight” because that just stresses me out. I’m encouraged and pleased to be having such positive results already.

Oh, and one final pro tip: I’ve learned that using frozen spinach for a smoothie works perfectly well, but that using canned pineapple does not. My grocery store doesn’t carry frozen pineapple so if anyone local to Halifax knows of a store that does, that would be great. Fresh ones are in season somewhere right now so they aren’t too expensive but I know I’m living on borrowed time.




  1. This is awesome, Hannah! I’m so glad the healthier choices are resulting in measurable benefits.

    Me, I’m not eating differently but I AM finishing week 3 of a couch-to-5K program, and I haven’t done any running since high school (22 years–ack!) so that’s major. I don’t love it but I do love how I feel afterward and how it clears my head.

    • Good for you! People who get benefits from running always make me think “damn, I should run!” and then I try and all is sorrow. I never liked running, even as a kid. I’m settling for a fast-for-me walk on the treadmill. I’ve already increased my speed by a half-mile per hour, and am going for longer continuous spurts, so I’ll take it for now.

  2. Yay!!! So glad you’re doing well with the healthy living 🙂 And thanks for the link! I’ve not seen frozen pineapple but I think there might be some in some of the frozen tropical mixes. Keep it up! If you want some great quick home workouts I love and

    • You’ve been such a help to me, thank you. I gather that Superstore has *just* started stocking frozen pineapple so I’ll have to check. And thank you for the exercise links, too!

  3. Wow, that’s so great! What great results already. How motivating! Especially the headache thing – that’s pretty amazing, right?

    Kale. I do love kale. BUT I HATE IT IN SMOOTHIES. That smoothie sounds just plain grosssssss.

    • That smoothie tasted like… well, if I were ever mistakenly buried alive and needed to chew my way free, I think it would taste like that. But with lemon. Maybe regular readers of the New York Times are hardier than me.

  4. Good for you! It’s so nice when there is positive feedback for positive changes, isn’t it? My freezer, as you know, is never without spinach pucks. Errday I’m spinach pucking my smoothies.

    You threw pants away!? You win!! That is the smartest thing to do.

    Hey! Maybe you can get a whole whack of fresh pineapple and chop it all up and stick it in your freezer? If I see frozen in my travels, I’ll note where and share.

    Bravo! Onward and *down*ward. 😀

    • I DID THROW THEM AWAY. Now, granted, they were worn out and probably needed to go – but I am just DONE with keeping the fat clothes around just in case. I think it’s as demotivating as keeping around the impossibly-thin clothes, too.

      • I think you are right.

        Good for you!

  5. That’s awesome Hannah. I was wondering how that was going for you. Since your first smoothie post I busted out my ol food processor and started doing a little blending of my own. I too was eating too much toast and needed to get more spinach into my life. I like the pineapple idea and happen to have one on the counter ready to butcher. Keep it up and thanks for the inspiration.

    • Thank YOU! It’s nice to know I have some company on this journey.

  6. While the pineapple is cheap, (with your free time hahahahaha) why don’t you chop up a ton and freeze it yourself? I do this with lots of fruits in season. You should see me go crazy when mangos are cheap.

    • My free time. *snork* You’re funny. Although mangoes are going on Ridiculous Sale this weekend and I’m thinking of buying a crate to freeze.

  7. Go you!! I’m glad that things are going well and that my suggestion was helpful. Maybe I can use this as inspiration, because I have been uber lazy for over a month, now. Seriously, if it weren’t for walking to/from work, I’d be doing nothing.

    It can be really hard to keep things like this going for more then those first few honeymoon weeks, but hopefully these successes (headache free sounds like heaven! – I can’t even imagine how awful it would be to deal with regular head aches) will keep you going.

    Two things:

    1. Don’t get discouraged if the rate of change lessens. Most people will see big changes right away and then “plateau”. A big part of the plateau thing is that you start to gain muscle while losing weight. My body changed significantly and noticeably over 12 months even though my weight barely changed and my pant size didn’t budge. But, I went from struggling to do a few bad push-ups on my knees and having the strength to do 15-20 good ones on my toes. Not bad for someone who weights 250.

    2. Running is not the mecca of cardio that everyone thinks it is. I know that sounds hypocritical coming form someone who has tried the C25K program 3 times since January – clearly I think it’s a worthy goal! Running is not for everyone. Lots of fat people run, lots of skinny people don’t. I liked the idea of running trails, but after one too many injuries this year, I was finally told by a doctor to stop. My have a bum ankle which means that running (increased impact) puts me at high risk for foot/ankle injury. So, my running career is effectively over (because I was told to lose a lot of weight before I tried again, but I’m more interested in being fit and eating chocolate than I am in being skinny and running). I never made it past week three before having issues, anyway.

    But, walking fast or with variable inclines is great, too. The benefit of running is burning more calories in a shorter period of time. But, walking on a incline can increase muscle (more long term benefit than cardio by itself) and lots of people who are super fit use walking (Go Kaleo, for example – If you want to make big changes to your fitness, do walking intervals, like you’d do with a running program. Intervals are scientifically proven to be very effective.

    Good luck!

    • This is all interesting stuff. Yup, after trying to run a few times (and hating it every time, the bewbs jounce, my knees ache, it just SUCKS) I think I’ve made my peace with not-running. I walk very fast and get a good workout, plus I enjoy it, where as running just feels like punishment. Or gym class.

      • Oh god, I can’t even imaging the boob issue. Even as a small chested person, the bouncing can get annoying and uncomfortable.

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