Continuing to explore my options…

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So let’s recap where I am on this journey.  I am a fat-girl-getting-slimmer who, until a few months ago, bought all the food she ate either from a traditional grocery store, a drive thru, or a restaurant (or the cafeteria where I work).  In January, I started out on a journey to lose weight and live a healthier life.  In April and May, I read the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver and started to become more interested in where my food came from.  On my 34th birthday (April 29), I made my first trip to a relatively local (although large and year-round) farmers market to buysome organic eggs and local chicken.  In May, I watched Food, Inc., and the way I thought about the meat I was eating changed forever.  And June finds me doing a lot of research on local sources for the foods I like to eat, with every day bringing me more information that can bring me closer to my goal of ethical eating.

Of course, old habits die hard.  I am still drinking flavored, calorie-free, sparkling water sweetened with Splenda, along with some Crystal Lite.  I am still eating fast food on occasion, as well as buying lunch in the cafeteria at work.  Last night, I went out to dinner with my husband’s family, and I didn’t ask where the milk for the cheese on my pizza came from.  And once in a while, I still buy some processed foods, although I do pay more attention to the labels on the foods, and I don’t buy some of the crap that I used to.  My go-to food is a flour tortilla or tostada shell with cheese melted on it.  Eventually, I may learn to make my own, but for now, the store-bought ones work just fine.

However, for the most part, I have really cleaned up my diet.  I am buying and eating local produce, and I am really enjoying it.  I am eating a lot less meat than I used to, mostly because I have not yet found a lot of meat sources that gel with my requirements for meat.  The closest I have gotten is the grass-fed beef and organic chicken at Wegmans and Weis, which is what I am using for now, as I further explore my options.  Thanks to the Eat Well Guide, I have a new farmers market to check out next week (and this one is a producer-only local market, unlike the larger farmers market I mentioned, which sells things out of season that obviously were shipped in from elsewhere).  And I have a couple more farms to check out that seem to sell dairy and some meat options.  My biggest local challenge, it seems, will be a pork source.  My husband and I eat a lot of pork chops, so finding them locally and humanely-raised would be great!

The biggest thing for me in the beginning was price.  When I can get regular boneless, skinless chicken breast for $1.99 or $2.99 per pound at the grocery store, it is hard to stomach spending $10.75 per pound on local, organic, free-range options.  I just don’t have the money in my budget to do that.  However, the reality is that chickens are born with bones in them, and maybe they need to come into my house in the same way.  Maybe I need to make whole roasted chickens more often.  Maybe I have to eat more chicken thighs.  Maybe I have to learn how to clean a whole chicken breast (which will require a lot of touching of raw meat, which is not my favorite thing to do) to stick to these principles.  I can do that!

We already don’t eat beef that often, so I can certainly splurge once in a while on grass-fed, organic options.  And I don’t even use ground beef that often, so switching that over will be easy as well.  So far, I am adding an extra $50 per pay to my grocery budget and seeing if that different picks up the slack.  If I have to jack that up a little more and make some cuts in other areas (say, my Old Navy and Target budgets), it will be worth it to feel good about the meat I am eating and knowing that the animals were respected throughout their lifespan.

Regarding exercise this week, I have not been going to the gym everyday.  Just keeping it real here.  I did go to the gym Monday and used the elliptical for the first time in YEARS.  When I joined this gym, the trainer had me try out the elliptical, and I lasted for mere minutes before being defeated by it.  I decided to try it again this week (I have belonged to this gym for about three years, and it has been about five years since I was last able to do the elliptical for any length of time), and I was able to use it for 30 minutes, plus a five-minute cooldown!  I felt amazing when I climbed off of that thing, although all my leg muscles were quivering!  We also had a great yoga class Monday night, so when I woke up yesterday, and my calf muscles were feeling like big, sore knots, I decided to take yesterday off from the gym.  When I woke up today, my left calf felt much better, but the right one was still pretty sore.  I have a busy day planned today, so I am giving it another day of rest and heading back to the gym tomorrow for a good workout before heading into work for three days.  My goal is 45 minutes on the elliptical tomorrow.  I know I can do it!

And at my last weigh-in (Monday), I found that I am down another 1.8 pounds, now weighing in at 237.8 pounds, for a grand total of 36.8 pounds lost!  I celebrated by putting all of my XXL scrub pants in the donation bag and going to buy several new pairs.  I now can go to work wearing pants that don’t look like clown pants!  It’s an amazing difference!  I believe that my lowest weight since getting married was somewhere in the neighborhood of 235 pounds, so I look forward to seeing that number on the scale.  And back when I got out of college and joined eDiets, I weighed 221 pounds, and I look forward to seeing that number on the scale as well, although I know it is a longer way off.  Most of all, I look forward to celebrating my 35th birthday next year at a weight of 200 pounds or less.  Sometime in the early 2000s (maybe 2001), I used Atkins to get down to a weight of 185ish pounds, but as soon as I started eating regular foods again, my weight shot back up.  I have been out of college for 11 years now, and that is the only time my weight was really under 200 pounds (maybe one other time after a bad break-up, but that was also fleeting).  Thinking about this stuff makes me wonder what I was thinking all those years.  I was probably thinking that beer and bar food tasted good!  But farm fresh produce tastes good too!

Make it a great day, everyone!

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