I was scrolling through Instagram last night and I was starting to salivate over all the delicious treats that I could get after work today. Treats from local shops such as gluten free cupcakes, gluten free donuts, ice cream, the list went on and on. It took me a second, after I had planned out my whole route to purchase these items, to remember that just LAST Saturday i had done the exact same thing and I still have 3 cupcakes and a pint of carrot cake ice cream in the freezer.

I seem to do this thing where I hoard healthy food just in case one day I don’t have the time to cook, or I become poor all of a sudden and I still have that vegan chili I made a year ago (which, to be fair is probably not good anymore and just this second i realized i should eat that stuff sooner rather than later).  On the flip side though, I find it impossible to leave treats in the freezer for another day. My mind thinks,  “If it’s there, i will eat it and I might as well just eat it to get rid of it because it’s tempting me and I’ll just want more!”. (My mind works in run-on sentences). All of that is bullshit because if it’s there i’m thinking of it and if it’s not I’m still thinking of it because I am seeing it all over social media. I wish I could say I were stronger than my cravings, but i am not. So this morning, I went through my list and deleted all the accounts that post delicious, but unnecessary, treats.

So now what?

I’m still pissed about the weight I had gained thanks to the Femara but I wasn’t doing anything about it. Meaning, I wasn’t changing what i was doing. It’s so important to reassess every part of your weight loss journey because we get into this habit of thinking, “well, doing this has worked for me before so it will work again i just have to keep doing this” even though ‘this’ isn’t working anymore.  So if it’s not working, we must change it.

What I ate this week

First and foremost I always make clients record their food for 7 whole days. Why seven? because that gives me a look at their whole week including weekends. When making a meal plan and calculating macros, we always use a calculation that will make clients ideally lose 1lb a week with a 3500cals deficit. I say, ideally because nothing when it comes to weightloss is easy. Not one single person will be the same. Some clients lose weight immediately with any small changes, and others it takes us months to get the perfect plan.

So keeping that in mind, I am a meal prepper so I eat the same freakin’ thing every single day for a whole week. Let’s take a look here:

  • 1 cup of coconut almond milk (80) with matcha latte (30cals)
  • 1/6th of a butternut squash and veg frittata that had about 250g of feta cheese and 10 eggs (250cals)
  • kale, potato and white bean stew (164cals)
  • apple (80 cals)
  • coconut bar (190 cals)
  • broc and cauliflower soup vegan (120cals)
  • Hillarys vegan burger (120cals), sauteed veggies (147cals) a fried egg no oil (72 cals) and cheddar cheese (200cls)
  • handful of cashews (160cals)

total: 1383 cals for the day and I did cardio and yoga so I need to be consuming calories.

If a client sent me that, I wouldn’t say they are overeating but i would make their choices better. I would start by removing unnecessary snacking. If you find yourself snacking frequently, that is because your meals aren’t nutritional enough. I also find that I end up eating right after i ate a meal before waiting to see if I’m actually hungry.

By simply removing the morning ‘latte” and the Jennie’s Coconut bar (or larabar – any bar really) I would be saving 300cals/day. So in a week i’m saving 2100 cals which equals to 8400 cals/month which is 2.4lbs/month. I think that’s a good start.

So what is the takeaway from today’s blog post?

  1. Don’t do too much right off the bat.
  2. Record what you’re eating – take photos or keep track in my fitness pal
  3. Assess the food quality and habits
  4. If there is anything that stands out as ‘unnecessary’ – take it out!
  5. Fruit and veggies are never a bad way to go when it comes to snacking, bars will always add extra calories and cravings. If you find yourself reaching for a snack bar midway through the day, reconsider adding more fiber or protein to your lunches and breakfasts

 

When your whole life has been staying fit and healthy and thin, and you step on the scale one day and realize you have gained 6lbs on your small frame – the most you ever have – life and your struggles smack you hard in the face.

I had read enough about femara to know that I would be gaining weight. The drug blocks the estrogen hormone in order for your progesterone to be prominent so the environment in your body is ideal to conceive and bear a healthy embryo. In doing so, you get hormone imbalances that cause weight gain – specifically in the midsection – as you would when you are going through menopause. Many, many MANY women suffer with this around the ages of 40 and above and they come to me incredibly frustrated because in their minds, they are doing everything they should be, and yet here they are, not losing weight but GAINING weight.

I don’t have a magical answer for this except eating less and moving more.

 

On the edge

In my current situation i need to step away from that mentality as my goal is not to be losing weight, for the first time in my life, but it is to conceive a child. My mind is reeling with confusion and stress and when i step on the scale and I’ve gained another pound from 2 days ago, I don’t know what to do anymore. With a history of eating disorders, my mind goes to a dark place. A place where I start second guessing my current goal and thinking of completely stopping everything we have been doing for 2 years. It’s like an incomplete task. How long do we keep going for? And when we decide we are done trying, I must now prevent pregnancy from happening so I don’t end up with a surprise in 1, 2 or 3 years or more from now when I’m ill prepared and not wanting that in my life anymore.

 

It’s a tough position to be in as i find myself struggling with thinking i don’t actually want a child. As someone who has always been adamant about not wanting children, it’s confusing to switch your mindset to think about the future. Future Leah will be happy she had a child, I know she will but Present Leah isn’t sure. I have met people who just LOVE children and babies and knew their whole lives they wanted to be mothers/ a parent but I never ever had that thought. I’m sure I’m not the only one because lately I’ve had friends ask me seriously, “are you SURe you want this?!” and they go on describing how they don’t regret their child persay, but they regret choosing motherhood. I’m just sitting at the edge and this comments are pushing me closer and closer. Add that to the way I’m feeling about the weight gain, and i might be jumping over. However,  I’ve come this far, is this where I want to end the journey?

Every day I put on a happy face and tell my clients that they are beautiful no matter what and should love themselves first and foremost and focus on being healthy and strong. I whole heartedly believe that and in that moment, I am saying it to myself as well.

Think of where you are and all you have accomplished and do not ever look at yourself with anger or hate because it will not help get you where you want to be.

I do this annoying thing every so often where I want to change something about myself. It’s not even really about changing myself as a person but more like, trying to challenge myself. There is so much information out there about health and nutrition that I sometimes like to just try things myself and see how it turns out.

My new ‘thing’ is quitting coffee. I was a late coffee bloomer. I drank it here and there on occasion but never first thing in the morning. I didn’t actually become a full on coffee drinker until I moved in with my old roommate, Hillary. She had this amazing espresso machine and once she showed me how to make espresso, I was hooked. I went from one shot of espresso in a latte or cappuccino a day to two. Which, I know is not much so I was curious to see how quitting coffee would affect me.

Two Fridays ago I read about the new ruling in California for coffee shops to state the possible risks of drinking coffee and its carcinogenic component but then I read (https://www.livescience.com/61598-lawsuit-warns-of-coffee-cancer-risk.html) so I wasn’t too concerned with my consumption. However, it did spark my interest in trying to quit coffee. I love it but I know it increases the stress hormone and I already have so many stressors in my life that I can’t change so I have to try to eliminate those that I can control. Stressors such as: Driving, traffic, owning a business, trying to conceive, and exercising. I don’t want to give up exercise and even though it’s technically a positive stress, it’s a stressor nonetheless. In my head I didn’t want to quit forever. I still wanted to have coffee with friends here and there but I really wanted to remove the habitual first-thing-in-the-morning-coffee. When you wake up at 5am, you shouldn’t be using coffee to wake up, you should be sleeping enough so you’re rested and not needing a coffee.

So I just wake up on Saturday morning, and I don’t have coffee. No withdrawal symptoms, nothing out of the ordinary but I was told they would start around day 3. So day 3 rolls around, absolutely no withdrawals! Slight headaches but nothing I couldn’t handle. I go  5 days without drinking it and then I have a coffee at 9am. Immediately I am so jacked up on caffeine I feel like I could run a marathon. I then proceed to have full on anxiety all day. It was awful! Nine pm rolls around and I can’t sleep. When I finally fall asleep I have crazy nightmares and I wake up almost every 2 hours.

I realize now that coffee is not my friend. Which is sad because I love it and probably have 10 bags of coffee in my freezer. Anyone need coffee?

I decided to write a really long blog post about the last year of my life. Mainly because I’m procrastinating cleaning the house and I have a cat on my lap. We call this ‘pussy power’ here because if there’s a cat on your lap, you’re allowed to request anything from the other person such as but not limited to, water, a snack, your phone, the remote, your nail file and or other necessities.

But I digress, this post isn’t about cats. This post is about the roller coaster of a year this has been for me. Sometimes we struggle externally and other times we struggle mentally. Sometimes we don’t even realize we are struggling and other times, we can’t stop thinking about our struggles. I have this amazing skill of shutting off whatever is bothering me and putting extreme focus on other things. My business is a great distraction. It keeps me in check whenever I feel like just crawling into bed and not doing anything. My mind also would never allow that, my gosh if I’m not doing something, it kicks into high gear and reminds me that there’s always something that could be done. Like I’m forever trying to meet deadlines that don’t really exist. I guess a lot of this has leaked into my fertility issues.

For the past 2 years, we have tried conceiving. During the same past two years, I have decided to become a woman. What I mean by that, is that I have never really had weight issues and I never really tried to keep my weight in check. I ate okay most of the time, and I didn’t really worry about overeating or eating the right thing at the right time. Working in this industry though has started to slowly leak into my brain. Every day struggles that woman have with keeping their weight in check or losing weight started to infiltrate my own thought patterns. I all of a sudden thought I should restrict my calories, I started recording my food longer than I needed to and obsessively. I started intermittent fasting, I started keto I started paleo I started feeling guilty after eating something that I had made and it was delicious and had I did not have that annoying guilty feeling I would have stopped at one and be okay but I wasn’t okay anymore. I had turned into someone else. Someone with a weight problem. So I ate more than I should have, and then I punished myself. Although I wasn’t bulimic anymore, I was still obsessive and thought I was fat and needed to lose weight.

I found out through our fertility process that my estrogen was high, and my progesterone was low. I wasn’t ovulating. This is called estrogen dominance. When this occurs, you start gaining stubborn midsection weight, and you stress out, even more, creating cortisol. That nasty C word that I hate talking about. Cortisol is created when your stress response is high for an extended amount of time. My life is a goddamn stress response!

Things that cause stress:

–          Traffic, driving

–          Owning a business

–          Stressing about weight (freakin’ lose-lose here am I right?)

–          Exercise (good stress, but if you’re over exercising, not good)

–          Undereating (over exercise, under eating – bad combo)

So on, and so forth. AKA my life

I underwent laparoscopy because when they tried doing the hystersonogram, my stupid cervix wouldn’t dilate. Makes sense, I had a very light period which makes NO sense because if my estrogen is high, why am I not getting periods? Also, in case you don’t know what “dilating a cervix” means, it means my cervix wouldn’t allow a very sharp object to go through it. SO fun. After 40 minutes of torture and many objects and tries later, my wonderful doctor said it was too painful and they would have to look at my organs another way.

Enter surgery. I got my surgery date: February 9th. Wonderful, my birthday! Year of Murphys Law I’m calling it. I didn’t mind surgery because I was so excited to find out what was going on with me. I’m a biology nerd, I love researching everything and putting the pieces of the puzzle together. I went to my pre-op appointment and waited an hour and a half for a nurse to go through everything with me and basically lie to me. I asked if they would find anything, such as endometriosis or cancerous cells if they were going to remove it. She said ‘no. this is strictly diagnostic”. I was choked.

“Are you kidding me!? If they find anything concerning, they are going to stitch me back up and we are going to do this all over again?” I basically yelled. I remember her face looking at me like I was silly.

“well, yes. I mean what if they find cancer on your fallopian tubes or ovaries and they remove it without asking you. You would be mad” was her stupid reply.

“If they find CANCER on me anywhere, yes, please remove it.” What the heck was she talking about? I spent 4 days upset that this surgery was going to be just one more step into nothing. I was convinced I had endometriosis or polycystic ovarian syndrome because I had debilitating pain when I ovulated on my right side.

Long story short: she was wrong. Right before surgery as I was parked outside the OR, I asked my doctor and he said if they find anything, they are removing it.

Structurally, I was good. There was a paratubal cyst pulling my right fallopian tube down and that was causing the pain when I ovulated. My tubes are clear, nothing else wrong structurally speaking anyway. My hormones are still out of whack it seems. After multiple blood tests, they have determined that my brain is still not communicating fully with my reproductive system.

Next month, I will be going on a drug that will lower my estrogen, increase progesterone and make me ovulate and hopefully slowly remind my endocrine system how to function properly.

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As I had mentioned in the first post to this trip, we had 850 EU each to spend for food and that was our budget. We exceeded that budget quickly in Barcelona and even quicker when we got to Nice. I was already pretty bummed about missing out on some primo-gluten France delicassies so the […]

I decided I wanted to go to Barcelona last year when I started learning Spanish. I had booked the trip and was super excited to indulge in all their seafood and Mediterranean culinary glory when a friend if mine broke my bubble.

“You aren’t going anywhere else in Spain except Barcelona?” She asked me. No, no I am not – I replied. 

“Oh well they speak mainly Catalan there,” she tells me. Crushed – what the heck?? 

Okay, no problema. It’ll still be amazing. The food will be fresh and spectacular I’m sure. As you know or may not, I eat gluten or soy and I’m sick for a week. In the past eating on vacation was a stressful endeavour for me as I would always inevitably get sick. I assumed it was the cheap alcohol (or just alcohol in general) but now that I know how gluten affects me, those past trip issues were resolved. As long as I avoid gluten in Spain, all should be good.

The city itself is beautiful but it is SOOOOOO saturated with tourists it’s unbearable. There are restaurants that line the streets but that made it very hard to pick one. They all seemed to offer the same stuff. I ate paella twice, and fish and grilled vegetables twice. They all seemed to understand that I couldn’t eat gluten but most waiters were incredibly unknowledgeable about the ingredients in their food. 

Now time for wine tips on travelling healthily: 

  1. If you’re going to drink beer and alcohol all day every day then that’s your prerogative but remember that alcohol is high in carbs so avoid eating extra carbs and reach for the protein and fat. There are many good ways to do that, cheese and prosciutto is a plenty here. Jamon, grilled fish and veg – you got this.
  2. Buy and make your own breakfast. I made eggs, avocado and prosciutto daily or Greek yogurt and fruit. 
  3. Try to eat high protein and fat and avoid refined carbs. If you’re here for the deserts, then you’re already committed to not eating healthy so skip along 😉 
  4. You’re going to walk….and walk, and walk. We walked 78301 steps in total while we were here. So if you’re careful, you might LOSE weight on vacation. Now the extra salt and alcohol will dehydrate you and bloat you so be careful. 
  5. The produce is a plenty. Maybe fruit is your lunch, that’s totally fine! It’ll be cheaper to Order salads than full meals so keep that in mind. 
  6. Pack nuts and protein bars such as RXbar in your luggage to keep on you while you’re out and about. (I ate every single bar I brought – they come in handy at airports and planes because finding gluten-free food in Europe airports is a shot in the dark)
  7. Drink lots and lots of water! water keeps you fuller and a lot of people confuse dehydration with hunger so keep those water bottles full

Let’s revisit my meals in Barcelona: 

Breakfasts: I wanted to save money as much as possible and when I wake up I’m usually hungry fairly quickly so I wanted to avoid having to wait for Jason to go and eat breakfast. He usually doesn’t even eat breakfast so to save stress and to make the best of our AirBNB’s, I bought eggs, avocado, prosciutto, greek yogurt, bananas and nuts. 


Lunches are super cheap in Europe (well, cheaper than dinner) so meals such as fish, paellas and salads were easiest to find. We somehow got off schedule with Europe and were eating late lunches such as 2pm and 3pm when everything was usually closed. We had to find places that specified that they served all day. Jason and I were also off schedule, he’d get most of his calories from beer so he didn’t eat much 😉 haha 

Dinners were usually leftovers for me. Jay would eat a burger or something easy. The first night we were there we shared paella. In europe they serve a massive amount of it so I had leftovers for pretty much the whole time we were there. The other times I would eat an appetizer as a meal and splurge on wine.

When I first had the idea to stat a blog while I was away about what I eat while on vacation, my thought was to do a short little travel/food blog that would help others while they were away to save money and not gain 20lbs. I was going to blog every meal I took and then also record my workouts for you in these amazing cities! But similarly to traveling, shit didn’t go as planned. I only brought my iPad because traveling with a laptop increases your chances of getting pulled into extra searches at the airport (this is a freebie tip everyone 😉 and I was already traveling pretty heavy so I didn’t want the extra pain in the A of adding a laptop bag to my haul.

I had downloaded the blogger app and sat down in the Barcelona airport after our first leg of the trip to write down all my food tips and then the app crashed and I lost everything. Frustrated, I rewrote what I remembered and then copied it and it crashed again… okay, what’s up? I google “blogger app crashing” and realized that the app had been discontinued. Great. So I log in to the webbrowser and rewrite it… this time, can’t post photos. FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU…

Okay, forget this, I guess it’s not going to work  out and I’ll have to do it when I get back. As if I had all the time in the world to do that on my ONE day jetlagged weekend. To top it all off, my live workouts went out the window as the places we stayed at were tiny apartments in central cities… what was I thinking? But, just like with traveling, you can plan but plan that they will fall through. I had used Foursquares to find restaurants I wanted to eat at but I don’t think I even ate at one of them. Gluten-free eating was so hard and we spent so much money at these restaurants that we could only afford to eat 2 meals a day out eat. We had calculated 50$ each for food and we were in the most expensive parts of Europe so that went out the window with my workouts. We did manage to make our 850$ euros each last until the very end of the trip. We only used credit cards for things such as car rental, gas, cabs, ubers, souvenirts, ect. But we spent every single last penny of our food fund.

So the next blog I’m posting is the one I wrote at the Barcelona aiport. I’ve tweeked it a bit to conclude everything and the photos are random and not so sequential.