Goal Check-In & Changes

February has flown by and I have a feeling that before I know it, July will be knocking at my door.  Since time is flying, I thought I would be good to do a goal check-in on my New Years Resolutions. I also wanted to talk about a few changes to recipes you may be seeing in the future. So here we go: Life Goals 1. Make big career decisions - this is definitely happening and I'm so excited about it. 2. More date nights with the husband - we've been making an effort to have at least one "date" night every week, even if it's just eating shrimp cocktail and watching Netflix together at home. 3. Practice moderation - this is a constant for me but I do think I am getting better. Yoga helps.

Blog Goals 1. Grow readership and visibility - I've been working hard to make this happen and it's been fun to see my efforts pay off! 2. Continue to work on photography and new recipes - I've been making an effort to try new recipes and have been making time to practice my photography/styling/etc. 3. Post consistently - I'm trying to maintain a 3-4 week posting schedule and so far I've been doing okay. I'd like to post more often, but we will see. Food Goals 1. Continue to eat clean and focus on whole,  unprocessed foods - I'm feeling really good about my food choices lately so I need to stick to it! 2. Less grazing/snacking - I used to just graze my way through the afternoon but now I'm making an effort to have a balanced snack after work so I don't overdue it. 3. Implement meal planning and plan ahead for busy weekdays - I'm half succeeding with this.  I've been good about getting my stuff together for the week but haven't really been meal planning.

Fitness Goals 1. Do a handstand in yoga - definitely not there yet but I'm working on it! I've been doing lots of wall work and focusing on my arm balances to help strengthen my core for a steady handstand. 2. Run at least once race -  My mom convinced me (ok, really just sent me an email asking) to register for the Monument 10K, so I did!  I don't plan on running the whole thing as last week marked my official return to running, post stress-fracture. I'm taking it slow and steady so I don't re-injure myself. Neither of us are trained for this race although I'm sure my half-marathoner mom can bust out a 10K much easier than I can at this point but I'm looking forward to a fun race! 3. Lose weight and continue to gain muscle - this is going to happen in a big way in the next few months due to some changes.  Let's discuss....

I found out, through my sports doc and nutritionist and some fancy blood tests, that I'm highly insulin resistant.  My sports med doc has suspected this for awhile and was pretty much convinced that something was off after my stress-fracture.  My fracture was odd considering my age, activity level, and my activities (yoga, running, weights) so she had my bone density tested.  Turns out, my bone density was abnormally low.   She had me get with the nutritionist, do some blood tests, and see what was going on.  Most of my levels were great except for my insulin levels.  For this test, anything above "12" was considered high and my level was 67. Yup, SIXTY-SEVEN.  To add to that, my blood sugar levels were great so pre-diabetes was pretty much ruled out. My doctors were truly puzzled - I eat well, I exercise, and I don't engage in any of the "classic" risk behaviors that would cause my insulin to be off the charts.

Since having so much extra insulin hanging around in my body can/has done some damage , we needed to figure out a fix. Due to the fact that my diet was pretty clean and I exercise regularly, the only real fix would be with medication. Both my doc and nutritionist emphasize medication as a last resort instead of an immediate fix so I knew that medication really was the only option.  I've started the medication and while I had a bit of a rough time adjusting to it at first (hello, nausea!), I've adjusted. Interestingly, a side effect of the medication is weight loss.  This is due mostly to the fact that my body will now be burning fat efficiently.  There's a lot of science behind the whole thing so I will spare you the details.  Essentially, I will now be losing weight, like I should have been all along, because my body will be working properly.  I've got an appointment in three months for another round of blood tests to see how my body is responding and then we will go from there.

Why am I telling you all this?  Because, even though my diet is decent, I have had to make some dietary changes, that will be reflected in the type of recipes I'll be sharing. I'm actually excited about this because it gives me another excuse to experiment and try new things.  And now, because I'm clearly obsessed with lists, I'm going to list the major dietary changes I've made:

1. Cutting carbs: I've never been a big carb eater to begin with (the gluten-free thing helps with that) but I had to drastically slash my carb intake to around 100g a day. This isn't a hard and fast number and I can have a bit more if I'm working out twice a day, but generally, I need to stick around 100g. For the first few days, this was hard. Really hard.  I've been tracking my eats using Livestrong.com to help keep my carb grams in check and am starting to get the hang of it but wow, not easy.

This means that there will be more low-carb recipes, like these cabbage cups, in the future but I will still cook/bake some non low-carb things.  If you know of any great low-carb/paleo blogs, link them up!

2. Minimal sugar:  I don't eat sugar on a regular basis but now, I've got to be a bit more strict, at least for the next few months.  So expect some sugar-free recipes soon! I'm actually excited to try my hand at sugar-free baking but I'm also intimidated.  For me, the sweetness of baked goods isn't the issue - it's the structure that sugar provides, especially in gfree baked goods.

Looks like it's time for some experimentation! Any sugar-free people have tips for baking without sugar? What are the best sugar substitutes?

3. Higher protein:  As someone who doesn't eat meat often, I've always struggled to get enough protein.  Having to eat low-carb makes this even more difficult since usual sources of vegan/veg protein are also high in carbs.  To remedy this, I've started incorporating a bit more meat and fish into my diet and also have started eating more cheeses and fats (like peanut butter!) to help me reach my protein goals.

This means there may be more meat-based recipes in the future but I will still probably always lean towards a relatively meat-free diet.

That was longer than I was anticipating but I'm glad it's all out there.  So now:

How are you doing on your New Year's Goals? Any recommendations on low-carb, sugar-free recipes/blogs/etc?

Happy Friday!