THM {S} Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake Bars (Sugar-Free, Grain-Free + Low-Carb)

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This recipe can now be found on my website here:

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake Bars 

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Diet Reality Check + Trim Healthy Mama

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I have a very American disease. I am addicted to diets. There are few things I love more than reading new diet books, creating meal plans and grocery lists, researching the most effective weight loss methods, and cyber-stalking fit people. The stupidity enters, however, when I realize a few days into any given eating plan that it’s hard. Normal life gets in the way and I give up, I return to my eating MO – which isn’t terrible thanks to a healthy upbringing, but tends to rely too heavily on carbs, sugar, and emotional eating – until I begin to feel dissatisfied with myself again or I hear of some exciting new diet, and the cycle repeats.

As we all often are with our less-than-admirable behaviors, I’ve been blind to this truth about myself. I somehow fall for the same ploys over and over, somehow get the same enjoyment out of the “research” aspect every time, somehow am blindsided by how tough healthy living truly is and exhibit the same surprised disappointment again and again.

You can see this reflected in my blog (though this represents only a small slice of the many diets I’ve attempted). There was my attempt to lose ten pounds last December (I stuck with it for a little bit); my low-carb breakfasts initiative during pregnancy; and, most recently, two successful weeks of healthier eating in an attempt to lose those same freaking ten pounds (the weight I gained during pregnancy came off pretty easily).

Then came Christmas, and homesickness, and a fussy stage for Miles, and my most recent plan went out the window. However, I’ve come to that same place of dissatisfaction again post-Christmas, and, instead of simply resuming what I was doing, am now attempting a brand new plan! Le sigh.

My mom does this, although she is at least much better than me at culling new ideas from each plan and incorporating them in her overall habits. In a way, I’m not sure it’s an entirely bad thing – after all, motivation wanes and experimenting is good and refreshing. However, the fact that I’ve been fighting with these same 10 lbs. for going on two years now tells me that something isn’t working. Obviously.

Maybe this is a ridiculous amount of navel-gazing, but I imagine that many people out there can relate to my process. It’s been freeing for me to make these realizations about myself – maybe introspection is narcissistic but I find that it often ultimately helps me think less about myself (i.e. by helping me spend less time developing and re-developing healthy eating plans).

This brings me to the present, in which I am attempting my mom’s latest favorite diet – Trim Healthy Mama. I’m hoping this will be a lifestyle I can stick with and end the cycle of diet and discouragement (that sounded like a blurb from the back of a diet book).

Despite my mom’s enthusiasm about this diet, I’ve resisted it as long as possible. I find the name really annoying, the two women who wrote it annoying, and when I actually got around to reading the book, I found the science, writing style, and textual organization obnoxious. Not only that, but the authors claim their diet is biblical, which I find….annoying. I’m a Christian, but I don’t think the Bible clearly specifies any one way of eating, no matter how you try to spin certain verses.

Also, the authors ascribe to a certain style of homeschool Christian-ness that I don’t find appealing. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve known people of this style who were great and whom I loved. However, objectively, I’m not a fan of the long curled hair, A-line skirt, tons of children, cutesy sayings, anti-alcohol lifestyle.

I know I sound like a hater. I don’t hate the people behind this book or this style, for that matter – in fact, we have more in common than not. For some reason, however, I’ve always been rankled by the particulars of this lifestyle. Maybe others who grew up Christian and homeschooled, like me, can relate. Fortunately I was never required to wear denim skirts and tennis shoes (except for one school year spent at a Baptist elementary school, but that’s another story). We all have our little preferences of what does and doesn’t appeal to us. I would never let it allow me to actually treat someone poorly (or not try a diet, for that matter).

The basic premise of the diet is cutting out sugar and eating meals that are either high-fat or high(ish)-carb, not both. It has similarities to many of the lower-carb, higher-fat eating plans that are becoming more and more popular these days. It relies heavily on stevia as well as a couple other hard-to-find products, but can mostly be followed by eating whole foods. The authors have developed many unique recipes and – one of my favorite things about the plan – it’s highly customizable and adaptable.

There are a few things about the plan that work well for Zach and me – it includes plenty of meat (a must for Zach), is relatively gluten-free (Zach is allergic to wheat), and includes plenty of healthified desserts (both Zach and I have ridiculous “sweet teeth”). This is our second day doing it and so far we both like it. My family, not just my mom, has had success with it. My grandpa even lost 25 lbs.! On a diet called Trim Healthy Mama, no less.

I’ll keep you updated on how it’s going. You can also follow me on the food journal app TwoGrand under username margeauxvittoria. I plan to publish some THM-friendly recipes I’ve been developing here. And maybe, just maybe, writing all this out will help me remember next time I mess up that the answer probably isn’t a whole new diet. Despite how fun it might sound.

Library Haul

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I made it to the library today – the library provides a guilt-free “shopping” fix for me and has since I was a girl (I used to say that the library should have shopping carts; my enthusiasm has cooled slightly since the fines in WI are $.25 per day overdue instead of the $.10 they were in IA.)

These are the books I found today – all short and a little pop culture-y (good for my sleep-deprived brain) and inspiring for the new year to boot:

Motherhood Smotherhood: Fighting Back Against the Lactivists, Mompetitions, Germophobes, and So-Called Experts Who Are Driving Us Crazy

The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth: Entrepreneurship for Weirdos, Misfits, and World Dominators

The Women’s Health Big Book of Exercises: Four Weeks to a Leaner, Sexier, Healthier YOU!

Invent, Reinvent, Thrive: The Keys to Success for Any Start-Up, Entrepreneur, or Family Business

I must be shallow – all of these books have awesome covers (except, maybe, that constipated-looking blonde whose belly button or pubes really ought to be showing). Also, if there’s any uniting theme here, it’s “Books with Semi-Colons and Groupings of Three in the Title”.

Have you read any of them? I’ll keep you updated on what I think. I’m trying to read while breastfeeding instead of putzing around on social media or playing Candy Crush.

Four of My Favorite Free Fitness Apps

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Nike Training Club

This app has an incredible amount of free content – thank you, Nike! It features interval-style workouts for different fitness levels and goals. Each workout includes exercise instructions and how-to videos (extremely helpful), built-in interval timers, narration, and the option to play your own music. If you have this app it’s easy to perform high-intensity,challenging workouts at home with minimal equipment and little fitness experience.

MapMyRun

The free version of this app performs the basic functions I’m looking for in a running app – it keeps track of my pace, route, and total distance run, as well as calories burnt. As much as I’d eventually like to buy a FitBit or GPS running watch, this does the trick in the meantime.

IntervalTimers

This app is a super simple timer perfect for interval/tabata workouts. What I like most about it is how loud the alarms are – easy to hear even over blasting music.

TwoGrand 

I really love this photo food journal app. As opposed to counting calories or macros, this app allows you to simply snap photos of what you eat, creating a visual sense of how much food you’re consuming. You can follow other users with similar goals/lifestyles and participate in challenges (“Drink x oz. of water per day”, “Workout abs everyday for a month”, etc.). You can follow me under username margeauxvittoria (as long as you promise not to judge me for my Christmas indulgences).

Crocheted Elephant Gift

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I made a crocheted elephant for my adorable nephew for a Christmas gift. It was a bigger project (and a bigger elephant!) than I expected starting out but I’m quite pleased with the results.

The pattern is from a book called Crocheted Wild Animals that features some really cute creatures and easy-to-follow instructions. I love handmade toys and can’t wait to make some for Miles when he’s older.

Postpartum Diet Week 2

Here’s my first post in this series:

Also, I have been using the app TwoGrand to track my meals and workouts so I won’t be posting my workouts here anymore. You can follow me on TwoGrand under username margeauxvittoria.

And here’s what I’ve been eating this past week! Saturday and Wednesday were cheat days (in a big way). I also went off plan Tuesday night by stress-ordering a pizza (you’ve been there). But I’m pressing on. My photos are screenshots from the app mentioned above.

Breakfasts:

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1/4 cup steel-cut oats, cooked, with 2 tsp. maple syrup and a splash of 2%
2 scrambled eggs (cooked in coconut oil)
Coffee with 2 Tbsp. 1/2 n 1/2

Lunches (this was a little all over the place):

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-Lentil soup (1/6 of this recipe)
-100 calories carbs (I had pretzels, rice crackers, or quinoa)
-1/4 cup shredded cheese or a piece of fruit
-1/2 cup Edy’s Slow-Churned ice cream

Snacks:
Same as last week’s options

Dinners:

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-Pot roast with potatoes + green salad
-Stuffed butternut squash
-Taco salad
-Roast chicken and carrots with white rice
-The aforementioned pizza

Since I started doing this my weight has been consistently about three lbs. lower than where I was hanging out beforehand. My main goal over the holidays is to not gain any weight but I’m waiting to weigh myself until Wednesday so I don’t discourage myself unintentionally.