January Challenge, Day 31

February 1, 2015

Well, I made it. I made a challenge for myself for the month of January, and at the end of my challenge, I am feeling very successful. My weigh in on Friday went really well, which set me up for a positive mood for the weekend, and for February.

This ridiculously long blog post is really for me. I like to do a recap at the end of a challenge so I can remind myself of what I have learned and what I might continue to do. A few months down the road, I’ll likely come back and read this.

This might bore a lot of you. Some of you may find something helpful?

For the month of January, I took on the challenge to give up several foods. 

  1. Gluten
  2. Dairy
  3. Red Meat
  4. Soy 
  5. Corn
  6. Sugar
  7. Artificial Sweetness
  8. Alcohol

I decided to give up these foods for the month for several different reasons.

  1. I felt like crap at the end of December.
  2. I had reached my goal weight with Weight Watchers in 2013, then gained 10-15 back in 2014 and couldn’t seem to get it off.
  3. A friend recommended cutting a few things out of my diet to see if it would help with inflammation and some of the problems that was causing for me.
  4. Sometimes, I like a challenge.

The first week of January, I enjoyed the challenge by playing with different recipes and finding healthier alternatives for foods that I was passing on. I didn’t feel a whole lot different, and I lost no weight.

The second week of January, I was more conscious of my serving sizes (thanks to the WW meeting that we had that week) and I lost 3.2 pounds. I was starting to feel better physically.

The third week of January, I did pretty much the same things I did the second week in January, and I gained 1 pound. WHAT?

The fourth week of January, everything about my body, inside and out, felt great, and I kept at it. I lost 3.8 pounds.

Honestly, after eating no cheese, no sugar and having no alcohol for an entire month, I was expecting to loose 6-8 pounds, easy. Maybe even 10! I have always lost weight very slowly, no matter how hard I try to follow all of the rules, so to be at the end of the month with a 5.8 pound loss really should come as no surprise to me.  But dang it. I wanted more.

I have said here on this blog for a long time, that my ultimate goal is my health. I know by making all of the choices for the month of January that I made, I am much healthier. Although I struggled with the extra pounds in 2014, I was eating healthy. I’m a “large portion” eater, so I am constantly working on that, and after eating so many whole foods this month, I realized that those foods kept me full for a longer period of time and I was actually satisfied eating smaller portions. (I also started using smaller plates and that helped me visually.)

I have decided to continue in February to keep dairy, gluten, sugar and alcohol very limited. I’ve read quite a bit the last few days, and from what I am reading, gluten and dairy and even sugar can cause inflammation in certain individuals.

I’ve got a chronic shoulder issue I’ve been dealing with (I had surgery on one shoulder two years ago, but the other shoulder continues to be an issue) and I am wondering if I continue to avoid some of the foods that can cause inflammation, will it help my shoulder feel better?

Below are just a few bits and pieces of different articles that I copied and pasted a little info on.

I tried to read info from websites I thought to be respectable. Everything on the Internet is true! 🙂


  • Gluten and Dairy

Common allergens like gluten and casein (proteins found in dairy and wheat) may also promote inflammation. For individuals living with arthritis who also have celiac disease (gluten allergy) and dairy intolerance, the inflammatory effect can be even worse. Gluten is found in wheat, rye, barley and any foods made with these grains. Casein is found in whey protein products.


  • Sugar

It may be hard to resist desserts, pastries, chocolate bars, sodas, even fruit juices. However, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition warns that processed sugars trigger the release of inflammatory messengers called cytokines. Sugar goes by many names so look out for any word ending in “ose,” e.g. fructose or sucrose on ingredient labels.


  • Processed, packaged, or prepared foods.

And, yes, fast food is atop the list of inflammatory foods thanks to the harmful oils, sugar and artificial sweeteners, food additives, and a whole host of nasty ingredients.


  • Saturated Fats

Several studies have shown that saturated fats trigger adipose, or fat tissue inflammation, which is not only an indicator for heart disease but it also worsens arthritis inflammation. Pizza and cheese are the biggest sources of saturated fats in the average American diet, according to the National Cancer Institute. Other culprits include meat products (especially red meat), full-fat dairy products, pasta dishes and grain-based desserts.


  • MSG

A flavor-enhancing food additive most commonly found in prepared Asian food and soy sauce, but it can also be added to fast foods, prepared soups and soup mixes, salad dressings and deli meats. This chemical can trigger two important pathways of chronic inflammation, and affect liver health.


  • Alcohol

High in sugar and a burden to the liver, alcohol makes the top 12 inflammatory foods list. It is best eliminated or used in moderation.


  • Red Meat, Soy and Corn 

I found mixed information on these foods, but I think most of the concern on these specific foods is how the cows are raised and what chemicals are put on the corn and soy beans. I like all of these foods, but didn’t really miss them so I’ll eat them in moderation.

I feel really good, and I suppose if I can lose 5 pounds a month, then I’ll be patient and go with that. I’m anxious to get back to my goal weight.

After looking back through my month, I didn’t eat a huge variety of foods, but I’m eating whole foods that I really enjoy, and coming up with meal and snack ideas is getting easier. 


The biggest changes that I’ve made are as follows……..

I’ve passed on Fast Food for quite a while now. I’m not saying I never have it, but it’s rare.

I love ketchup, but because a serving size for me is like 1/4 Cup of it, and it has sugar in it, salsa is the healthier option for me and I only use a couple of Tablespoons.

Sweet Potatoes really satisfy my french fry and potato craving and, and I’m good with no ketchup on them.

To satisfy my sweet tooth, I am loving toast with a smear of Almond Butter. I’ve even learned to go from 2 pieces to 1!

Another sweet tooth favorite is the Chocolate Frosty for just 1 WW PointsPlus.

I made Homemade Granola this month and it’s a great sweet treat!

I am using Stevia in the Raw as a sweetener in my smoothies, pancakes recipes and anything else I like sweet. I have read that it is the best option?

Craving carbs for breakfast? I make Pancakes using 2 eggs and 1 banana for the batter.

I drink water all day long.

I actually really like carrots chips with a sandwich. They satisfy my need for a crunch!

I keep the freezer full of a variety of frozen fruits to make a variety of smoothies with Almond Milk for 1 WW PointsPlus.

I try to keep lots of fresh veggies on hand for snacking and cooking.

Dining Out. I avoided it as much as possible this month. I love to eat out, but I felt like it was the easiest way to avoid so many foods since it’s hard to know how things are actually prepared when eating out.

Hopefully, we’ll get back to being a bit more social this month and enjoy some dining out!

The quote at the bottom of my post today is the same one that I used on the first day of this challenge. I hoped that it would have a lot of meaning at the end of the month, and it does!

Here are yesterday’s eats! 


Scrambled Egg Whites, Salsa

Gluten Free Toast with a Smear of Almond Butter





6 oz Tuna, 1 Chopped Apple, 1 T. Mustard, S&P

stuffed into a Bell Pepper

Smoothie – 1 C Almond Milk, 1 Cup Frozen Cherries

1 Raw Stevia Packet, 1 tsp Cocoa

Topped with a sprinkle of Homemade Granola





1/2 Bag of Apple Snacks

1 C Blueberries





Salmon, Sweet Potato, Asparagus

(cooked with Olive Oil)

11 PPV

When I first started eating baked sweet potatoes, I was always trying to figure out what low point option tasted best on them. I’ve now realized, if you just cut it open and smash it real good with a fork, it doesn’t need anything else on it! It’s smooth and full of flavor just by itself! One of my favorite foods!



Weight Watcher’s Points Plus

I can eat 26 PPV a day.

I can earn Activity Points by doing exercise, and eat them if I choose.

I have an allowance of 49 extra points that I can dip into throughout the week if I choose.

I should drink a minimum of 6 (8 oz) glasses of water each day.

My Weight Watcher Week Begins on Friday’s


Breakfast =  Egg Whites, Almond Butter Toast (4)

Lunch = Tuna Salad, Smoothie (5)

Snack = Apple Snacks, Blueberries (3)

Dinner = Salmon, Sweet Potato, Asparagus (11)

Total = 23

Exercise = Yoga Class

Activity Points Earned for the Day = 3

Activity Points Earned This Week = 3

Activity Points Remaining This Week = 3

How many ounces of water I drank for the day = 100+

Remaining points from my 49 Points Allowance = 49


This is What I Will Accomplish in 2015

  1. I will choose one occasion per month for Social Drinking
  2. I will go no more than two days in a row without some sort of exercise. (unless I’m sick)
  3. I will track every single day for the entire year. No matter what. I’ll track if I eat 26 points, I’ll track if I eat 76 points.
  4. I will RUN in a minimum of six 5K’s



“love the life you live, live the life you love”



3 responses to January Challenge, Day 31

  1. julesfarm@yahoo.com February 2, 2015 at 4:45 am

    You are right. There is a lot of information out there.

    I feel like as long as I’m eating a good balance of whole foods in moderation, and I feel good, then that’s what matters.

    Have a great week!

  2. Ooops–blogger is A House in the Hills

  3. The more natural the food the better for us.
    But then I read how we need to be more careful how we combine are meals because some foods are not good together.
    And it goes on and on.
    Read a funny (but sad) article by House On the Hill (1-27-15).
    There is so much information out there and what should we listen to??