Sunday, April 19, 2015

Stress eating

Sorry I've been slow to write - had a few things on my mind! I'm one week down at the new job and so far, so good! They asked me after Day 3 if I was still willing to come back, and I have to say that I didn't really hesitate in saying yes. I feel like I've made a good decision (if you can feel that with any certainty after 5 days?!), but it seems good so far, so I'm rollin' with that feelin.

In the meantime, it's been a bit more challenging to be vegan at work. When I told some of my new colleagues that I was eating vegan... well, it kind-of went something like... "I'm vegan. Well, no, I'm not a vegan, I'm just EATING like a vegan since Jan 1 because my cholesterol was too high". Which is way too much information, and not 100% accurate. I'm sure they were amused if not totally convinced I was the new office wack-o, but I feel guilty when I say "I'm vegan", because I don't really feel like I'm allowed to say that until I decide that I AM one, like... forever or something.

Anyway, our offices are decent. They are actually temporary offices until we move into a new building that is being custom-built. That said, they are still pretty good compared to some other offices I've been in before. BUT, given it's a temporary office, it doesn't have a cafeteria. They have restaurants around that are good options for eating, but there is actually a local food truck that will come on Tues - Fridays. It's a different truck every day. I vowed that I would support the local food trucks as much as I could, but on Friday, it was just impossible. It was a BBQ food truck and the only side items they had were mac n' cheese, coleslaw, baked beans with sausage, and something else I can't remember, but none of it was vegan. SO... I went to a local Qdoba and managed to get something I felt was vegan if not pretty close to vegan.

I managed. In the meantime, I've also realized that I'm POUNDING down food like there's no tomorrow. I think it's the stress of the new job, new schedules & routines... LOADS of new people I'm meeting and tons of information to remember. I seriously feel like my brain has been in hibernation mode for the past year. Can you believe it's been a YEAR since we landed back in the US?

Anyhoo... I just thought I'd check in and say I'm still pluggin on. I've decided that I'm definitely keeping up with it till the 1st of July. We'll schedule another blood test then. OH, and in the meantime, I'm doing a 7 minute HIIT work-out (HIIT = high intensity interval training) every day. So far, I've got the 7 minutes and the interval piece right, but I'm still working on the high intensity bit. ;) My thought is that we'll see how keepin on with the vegan eating and adding a bit of exercise makes my numbers move. Let's hope it's all down from here!!


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Final-ish Numbers

So I've got my blood test results back! Drum roll please.......

Here were my stats before on 12/31/14...
Total Cholesterol:  231
HDL:  67
Triglycerides:  78
LDL:  148
Chol / HDLC ratio:  3.4
Non HDL Cholesterol:  164

And here they are on 4/6/15...
Total Cholesterol:  180
HDL:  54
Triglycerides:  89
LDL:  108
Chol / HDLC ratio:  3.3
Non HDL Cholesterol:  126

So, my total cholesterol went down by 51 points, my LDL went down by 40 points!! YAY, right?

Now... the interesting things here are my HDL, which actually decreased (that's going the wrong way, people!), and my triglycerides increased (again, the wrong way!). I asked my brother-in-law, who is a doctor, to tell me why my triglycerides would have gone up when I haven't been eating any animal products, and he said it was a "conundrum". Hmm. I had a search over the internet and I have a feeling it might have to do with stress... looking for jobs, living with family, buying a car... all these things are very stressful things, and stress does play a part in your cholesterol! So maybe that's it? I'm not sure, but I'm interested to hear any theories out there.

Am I happy? Well, yes and no. I would have been very happy if they all went in the right direction! Just how much they moved was really up in the air. I'm disappointed that some have gotten 'worse', but we can be clear, these numbers aren't bad anyway! Definitely bringing my blood cholesterol down to normal numbers is a big plus!

As for weight loss? 9.8 pounds. I've still got about 15 more pounds that I wanna lose, so there's that. No, I didn't expect I'd lose all that in 3 months! I was just hoping to be a little closer to 12 pounds down by the end of it... that's 12 weeks at one pound a week. That would have been nice. But let's face it, losing weight is better than gaining it in this situation!

So.... what does that mean for me going forward? I've decided that I'm going to keep going with the vegan eating. Yep, you heard me. I'm keeping it going, and I'm going to try to really cut back on the desserts. Even vegan desserts add calories, right? AND... I'm adding in some more exercise. I really wasn't doing much over the past 3 months - keeping relatively consistent with my dance video and walking... but I wasn't really pushing the limits if I'm honest. So I'm going to start doing some high intensity interval training, and I'm going to put some strength training in there, too. Just exactly what that looks like, I'm not sure yet! I'm told that exercise can really help with the cholesterol levels (d'uh!), so I'm going to try injecting a bit of that action to see how much we can keep the positive streak going and how much we can affect the other ones!

In the meantime, I start my new job on Monday... EEEEEEKS! It's been a year & a half since I was a working girl, so I'm a bit nervous about what it means for my schedule, my diet, my stress levels!! - all of that. I figure that if I can get a good routine going straight from the start, then I'll be that much better off for it. "Begin as you mean to go on" and all that, right?

I'm going to get a blood test in another 3 months to see what's happened then... I figure it took me 40 years to get where I am, I can't expect it will all clear up in just 3 months, right? So we'll see how it goes. Slow and stead wins the race. Slow and steady wins the race...


Monday, April 6, 2015

90-ish Days Down

Well, Easter has now come and gone. Yesterday I went and had my 'final' blood-test done to see what 3 months of a vegan diet did to my stats. We'll see how it goes!

So given I've now finished my plan of 90-ish days on a Vegan diet... do I have any earth-shattering revelations? Well, not really, but I do have a few thoughts.

Eating vegan isn't so hard... until you try to go out to eat. The American diet, grocery store and television are all geared for meat-eaters. I mean, look at your favourite restaurant's menu and see if you can find ANY vegan items. I'm not talking vegetarian here, I mean VEGAN. Without asking loads of questions and asking for omissions, finding vegan on a menu isn't easy. Why do they assume all veggie eaters want cheese?

It gets easier and easier the longer you do it. Now that I could technically eat meat and dairy, I've found that I don't really want to. I mean, I could have eaten chicken at dinner last night, and I was REALLY tempted to, I just didn't. And I had an excuse since my blood test was today, but given everything that I know about eating meat & dairy, I really felt like I would be putting a poison into my body. Now... why don't I feel that way about eating sugar?! I know it is poison, but it's harder to say no to the sweet stuff.

So how am I going to eat from now on? Well, I think I'll stay vegan for awhile. I think I'll also focus on shoving the sweet stuff out of my diet. And I'll continue to watch what I eat in terms of portions. I couldn't adequately weigh myself this morning because the battery is dead in our scale... but as soon as I can, I will. I'm thinking that maybe 1 day a week, I'll allow myself to go off plan, but most of the time, I'll be vegan. This should be interesting when I actually start work next week! Back to the working world - eeeeks!

I also think the whole idea of VB6 (vegan before 6pm), might be a good option. I might have to make it lunch instead of dinner as my time to eat off plan, but we'll see how that goes. I just don't know exactly how I want to continue, but I know I don't want to make meat or dairy a big part of my diet moving forward. I want to stay plant-based.

So we'll see what happens when I get my blood tests back!!
Stay tuned....