Coffee Talk 09.18.16

Coffee Talk with Jo-Lynne

Hello, friends! I hope everyone’s having a good weekend so far! It’s been beautiful here — cool enough to break out some lightweight fall clothes but still plenty warm enough to be comfortable outside without outerwear. I went to a movie yesterday afternoon with a girlfriend, and then after dinner, we hung out with friends on their patio. They had a fire going in the fire pit, the air temperature was mild, and aside from a few pesky mosquitos, it was absolute perfection.

I saw the new Bridget Jones movie. I had forgotten most of the storyline from the first one, so I was a little lost at the beginning, but it’s not like it was too hard to figure out. It was funny, but definitely raunchy in parts, so definitely take that into consideration if you’re thinking of going to see it. I know not everyone shares my convictions, but many of you do. I have a hard time overlooking the glorification of immorality to enjoy the humor.

Okay, now I sound like my grandmother. Ha! But she was a wise, godly woman. And she would have been horrified to see what is in theaters these days. For that matter, she would have been horrified when she was alive. I’m not sure she ever saw a movie. Any-who. That’s my 2 cents, for what it’s worth.

I’ve been wanting to give y’all an update on my “Whole 30” experiment. I need to stop calling it Whole 30 because I know the premise behind that is to go completely cold turkey and if you cheat even once, to start over. That was never my goal. What I wanted to do was instill some better eating habits that I can sustain for the long term, and I used their guidelines as a place to start and modified them a bit to work for me.

I’ve tried so many times to eat a low-carb, low-sugar, paleo-ish sort of way, and I always fall back into old habits. I don’t know what has made it different this time, but I’m really pleased with how well I’m sticking with it. I feel like it’s my new normal — sort of like when I went gluten-free, although I did eliminate that 100% because you pretty much have to if you’re going to see any results.

With this, my goal was to allow myself an occasional deviation from the eating plan so I don’t feel deprived, but not allow the exceptions to become the rule. That means being pretty strict with myself, especially at first, but without the mentality that this is a 30-day thing or a 21-day thing like I’ve done in the past. Because for me, when I set a time limit like that, when it’s over, I subconsciously feel like I’m free to indulge again, and the indulgences eventually become my normal again. This time I went into it with the attitude that it was a permanent lifestyle change, and while indulgences are allowed, they must be few and far between.

Several people have asked how I’m eating, what I’m eating, or what diet I’m on. I get it. It’s easier to communicate what you’re doing when you can put a label on it, but what I’m doing doesn’t really fall under a specific label that I know of. I think what I really should say when I describe my eating habits is that I’m trying to eat clean. I’ve heard Cyndi say that about the way she tries to eat, and I think that sums it up quite nicely.

I definitely wanted to eliminate added sugars, and make desserts a verrrry rare treat. I’ve stopped buying the gluten-free cookies that I used to keep around, although I admit that when I came across a macaron kiosk in the mall this week, I indulged. I brought home 6 and split them with my 2 girls so I only had 2 of them. They were good, but I didn’t feel like they made me want more sugar. It was nice to have a little treat and be satisfied.

I wanted to stop relying on granola bars and quick foods as meal replacements and I really wanted to get out my potato chip habit. (They’re my downfall — the Kettle chips, ohmyword, so good!) The granola bars were just out of necessity because I didn’t have anything healthy in the house, but the chips are my forbidden fruit. I can’t not eat them if they’re in the house, so keeping chips out of the house has been key. My husband is banned from bringing them home. It helps that he’s also trying to eat this way due to a recent report of high cholesterol.

But this is more about what I AM eating than what I’m NOT eating. I wanted to be purposeful about getting more vegetables and fruits into my diet and reduce the carbs/grains at meals. I don’t feel the need to eschew all grains and dairy, but I definitely wanted to reduce them. I used to always feel like a meal had to have a meat, a veggie, and a starch. I don’t love rice and potatoes, but if they’re on the table, I will eat them. Because I was using the Whole 30 guidelines as my guide, and they allow white potatoes, I decided to allow white potatoes. But I also try to make some meals with no starch at all. The best part of that is, the starch usually takes the longest time to cook, and it messes up another pan, so eliminating those from our meals has made meal prep quicker and clean up easier.

The biggest thing I’ve done that I think has really helped me stay on track overall is to try to eat vegetables at every meal. That means being very intentional about always having plenty in the house.

I almost always mix a leftover dinner veggie into my eggs for breakfast, or I will sauté some baby spinach before adding the eggs. Lunch is most often a salad with some type of protein on it. I try to eat more salad than protein, and I make my own dressing. At dinnertime, I’m trying to make sure to make dinners that do involve vegetables, rather than casseroles or tacos or things like that.

Eating this way is easier in the summertime because salads are more appealing in the warmer months, and I can throw a meat on the grill and sauté or steam a veggie and call it dinner. When it gets cold out, I am not sure what I’ll rely on — I am not a huge fan of soups, plus they require a lot of prep. And dinnertime will require a little more thoughtfulness too, but I’m determined to figure it out and stick with this.

The results are I’ve lost 5 pounds and kept it off. It feels soooo good. That’s all I needed for my clothes to fit well again, and I can really see the difference in my arms and mid-section. I feel less gassy and bloated overall, and I never have that icky-full feeling or that icky-I-ate-too-much-junk feeling anymore.

I also don’t really get hungry. Two eggs scrambled with veggies at 7am will hold me over till well after noon. I grab a salad or leftover dinner at 1 or 2, and by dinnertime I’m not hungry but ready to eat. I don’t tend to overeat at dinner anymore because the type of food I’m serving isn’t the type of food that begs you to overindulge. It is good and satisfying, but I’m not tempted to go back for seconds that way I am with comfort foods or heavily sauced meals.

My biggest indulgence — and my potato chip replacement (because I love a salty, crunchy snack in the late afternoon) — is this sea salt popcorn I get at my health food store. The calories are very low, there’s no extra butter or oil, and it just hits the spot. I think it helps to have something allowable that feels snacky and “normal” because eating this way all the time does get kind of boring.

Oh, one other thing I’m doing is trying to eat more fruit. I don’t usually eat much fruit, but I know the fiber is good for me, and it also satisfies my sweet tooth. I used to crave something sweet after a savory meal, and I would eat a GF cookie or some chocolate, but now I try to keep berries or apples in the house to follow up a meal and cleanse my palate, and that usually satisfies my sweet craving. The challenge is keeping them around because my kids usually devour them and leave none for me!

Sorry that got so long, but I’ve had several people ask for a followup on my diet, and I wanted to share how pleased I am with how well it’s going! And by “my diet” I mean it in the traditional sense — as in, what I eat, not in a temporary weight-loss plan. I always hesitate to use that word because it has such negative connotations these days, and I definitely don’t look at this as a diet. It’s just the way I eat, and I just hope I can stay motivated to do the work required to keep up with it.

I’m headed out to church in a bit, and we’re planning to visit the in-laws this afternoon. Then I have to get some work done because we shot four new looks this weekend. I’m excited about the outfits I have to share with you this week, but it always takes a while to edit the pictures and put my posts together. Fortunately, that’s the part of my job I enjoy most. I don’t love the photo shoots and coming up with new outfits. It’s tiring and messy, and I feel awkward posing in public, but when they come together in a way that pleases me, it’s worth it. And I really enjoy sharing about the process in my blog posts. I don’t know, maybe that makes me way self-absorbed, ha! But I hope they provide you with some fun fall style inspiration.

Have a beautiful Sunday!