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The Health Issue: Revamp Your Meal Plan

Hello Lovelies,

     Good to see we have made it to Springtime...finally! March was my time to reboot, refocus, and re-assess. You may have noticed that I have been missing in action as of late. I have been really busy! I haven't mentioned this in my blog, but last year when I turned twenty-three (I am now twenty-four) I created a list of things I wanted to accomplish by the time I was twenty-four. One of the bullets on my list was to write a novel, and finish this novel by the time I turned twenty-four. Well, if you can visualize it, then you can make it happen! I finished my novel, and started on the sequel. I then realized that my sequel was much better written than the first, so....I started on the long and laborious journey of editing this novel that is extremely dear to me. It hasn't been easy, and there have been bumps along the way, but it is a learning process. Right now, I have two editors. It was extremely hard for me to reach out to one, because I felt like my novel was me...naked...on every page! I am happy to say that in the last month my editors and I have been really making strides to polishing my story before I send out my queries.

     What else have I been up to? Well I have changed my diet, and lost 6-8 pounds in the process! Want to know how I did it? Keep reading...

      My profile: I am, by nature's way, a thin person, but whenever I hit a bump in the road, or am feeling anxious I turn to food for comfort like many of us. Does this sound like you? Well for the last four weeks I have completely changed my diet, and I am feeling better than ever. Not only have I lost 6-8 pounds, my skin has improved, my hair has strengthened and looks glossier, and I feel my body working better than ever from the inside out. Remember I am not a doctor, but an avid reader and listener when my friend Samantha Zito dietitian talks research. Below I am going to show two very different meal plans. The first is how, before a month ago, I was eating. The second will be my new and improved meal plan which you could try too!

How I Used To Eat:
1 cup of any cereal with 2% milk
1 extra large coffee with half and half & 1-2 equals

Fiber one bar

Panera, or Smart Ones prepackaged food

Coffee, Pint of ice cream, cookies, sweets!

Salad with feta, sesame seeds, cranberries, lettuce, nuts, croutons

Another pint of ice cream!

     Maybe this doesn't seem so bad to you, but the servings of everything were large. There were times that on my way home from work I would be so exhausted and craving sugar that I would buy two pints of ben & jerrys, and finish them....before I even walked through the door. That can't be healthy, and it wasn't. I never felt well after eating the sweets. My body began to reject this way of eating. I began to breakout, feel sluggish, and the caffeine wasn't helping my anxiety. So I decided to change my ways, and I'll admit it is very different, and I have been eating this way for 30 days. I hope to continue for another 60, and then slowly introduce a dessert once in a while instead of every day twice a day.

How I Eat Now:
1/3 cup of oatmeal with 2/3 cups of water
1 small coffee with 1 tsp of sugar of the raw and 1 tbsp of milk

Snack: 2-3 hours later (Mid morning snack or after lunch snack)
8 almonds
1 fruit (apple, banana, any fruit of your choice)

Small  colorful salad (made of yellow peppers,
cilantro, parsley, romaine lettuce, carrots,
cucumbers, cherry tomatoes)
with either:
      2 hard boiled eggs and avocado
      3 oz of tuna canned in water
      3 oz of lean turkey breast
      3 0z of chicken breast
Protein: (salmon, chicken, pork, turkey, lean beef) 4oz-6oz
1 vegetable (potato, green beans, parsnips, carrots, sweet potato broccoli...etc)
1 small dinner salad with dressing.

veggies and laughing cow cheese wedge
8 almonds
fruit of your choice

     So let me explain the differences, and why this has worked so well for me. If you noticed before I complained about feeling tired all the time. This was because my body was missing out on so many nutrients, because I was not really eating nutrient rich foods. Namely, I was missing protein. So many women think that a healthy diet is low in protein and low in carbs, but that couldn't be more wrong. I hardly ate protein, and my body payed the price. After incorporating a steady amount of protein throughout the entire day my mood lifted, my lethargy depleted, and I didn't crave sugar. That was a revelation to me, because for long as I could remember I always craved sugar more than salt.  
     Another change up was less processed food. Panera boasts fresh food, and Smart Ones is endorsed by Weight Watchers, but even I knew those foods weren't healthy for me just easy. Now I make my own food and take the time to take care of my body. A third change was I went cold turkey all sweets. Everyone has, what my friend Sam calls "Trigger foods". A Trigger Food is a food that you can't have a serving of and leave alone, something in your brain tells you that you want more. This is often your favorite foods. For my sister Nicole it is pretzels and animal crackers, for myself it is ice cream or Italian ice any flavor, for my friend Sam it is fried chicken cutlets, and for my Mom it is salt and vinegar chips. Most people have at least one trigger food, and knowing what it is is half the battle. I promised myself I would not eat ice cream for an entire 90 days, hoping that the next time I have it I will be able to control that triggered response that says take another scoop.
     A fourth change I made was portion control. I thought a salad's a salad right? Well, no. If you're eating an entire bag of carrots with dip it is not the same as eating two carrots with dip. You are stretching the walls of your stomach, making it easy to overeat something else. Lettuce actually expands in your stomach, so let's say you eat a huge salad, that salad expands even more once in your stomach. Now let's say you go for a bowl of ice cream. One serving of ice cream is not going to fill you up, because your stomach has expanded you will need more of any food to fill it. So portion control is really important.
     My fifth and final change is I have incorporated more regular exercise. I get my sweat on four times a week, sometimes more, but at least four times. I will every now and again write about my process, and upload pictures. So stay tuned, and incorporate more healthful choices!

Stay Lovely,
Editor and Curator

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