Enjoy Not Knowing

Just another American living in Sweden

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precision nutrition

This is a website and nutrition concept I’ve mentioned in the past. Dr. John Berardi and his team take on clients every six months and work with them to figure out just what the best nutritional plan is for them.

The Precision Nutrition team just last week had their pre-release and took on new clients. It is now open to the public to sign up (if it isn’t already sold out). I put my name on the pre-sale list. But didn’t sign up.

PN pic

I was really tempted. I read the entries on the site and have even read their e-book (40+ pages of fun). On their website they often talk about how to change oneself and consciously form habits. this, above all else, is what I am most interested in.

They talk about making small extremely manageable changes, all working towards the final goal. In this case being more physically fit. I really like this whole concept. Have a goal? Write it down. Then consider what it takes to get to that goal. All the steps aren’t necessary, just the first one. The first, super easy step that, of course, is manageable. Start there, see how it goes. It goes great! Continue on to the next tiny, super manageable step. Not working out? Revise the first step, how can it be easier? Does the first step need to be in a slightly different direction?

These things seem so logical to me. Sounds like something I could do. So I really wanted to try it. Even better, it seems like something, a way of working with oneself, that could be applied to any subject matter. It doesn’t just have to be nutrition habits. or work out habits. It can be learning habits. Habits at work. Anything. Not only am I very interested in the nutritional field in general, but habit-forming is something I would love to learn more about. And I wanted to learn it from precision Nutrition.

I’m using the bast tense seeing as I did not sign up for the Lean Eating Program. I was fully ready to do so. But then I considered the price, and where I’m at financially right now, today, this week.

Although I’ve saved up for that big party I mentioned, and although I counted my 25 before 25 goal of saving money as complete, I’m not quite where I want to be. I’ve certainly made some steps in the right direction, but I want my Nest Egg to grow and accommodate an entire years worth of living expenses. I want to have a better cushion, and maybe save for a vacation or two. I examined my finances, and although I can afford the Precision Nutrition coaching, technically, I have decided to wait. At least 6 months.

I’m going to follow my savings plan perfectly for 6 months. If I am able to do so, THEN I will join the next group of Lean Eaters.

I’ll keep you posted.



not dieting/starting again/stopping/then starting again

This probably sounds like a cliché, or an all too often told story. About people who try different fad diets, only to eventually fail at them, to then try some other diet that’s big right now.

That’s not what I’m here to talk about. And, honestly, without sounding to preachy or as if I’m trying to sell you something, I think I’ve found a few things that work when it comes to dieting.

Side bar: I am seriously not going to try to sell you anything. Seriously. I have no money to gain here. It is also probably important to emphasize that I am not in the field of health and nutrition. I have no background education in the matter. I told you all about how I’m a pre-school teacher. What I can say is that if we listened to the pre-schoolers we’d eat a whole lot of candy and cookies. That stuff is tasty! But, I do try to limit the advice I take from 5 and 6 year olds. (Though at times they are truly inspiring.) I’m rambling, the point here is don’t by anything from me, and take my advice with a grain of salt. Do your own research, and find out what works for you.

PN plate

found here

That being said, I think I’ll say it again. I really do not think there is anything better when it comes to “dieting” than doing your own research and finding what works for you. I want to put dieting in bunny quotes because what I do I don’t actually feel is dieting. Yes I am changing my diet. But ideally I am changing my diet for good. For the forseeable future. My personal goal, when I say I want to get fit (and yes I believe a big part of that is through making conscious decisions about one’s diet), is to find a diet that works for me and the lifestyle I want to lead, forever.

THAT being said, I’m here today to tell you a little about what I have found works for me, and my own personal experience with changing the way I eat (more commonly known as dieting).

Start slowly. I’ve read a million articles online about diets that are guaranteed to work, and just follow these easy 10 steps to a healthier you! (It was a million, I counted.) The problem is, it is almost never that I find all the “steps” in all the different “processes” to be simple. I find the biggest problem with dieting is failing at it. That’s why I choose my own steps. In order for this post to stay at a readable length I’m going to list my top three pieces of advice, or first three steps I took when trying to change my diet.

  1. Make it easy for yourself. I believe that successfully completing your goals sets you up for future success. Therefore, when beginning a new project (any project really) I start as small as possible. Miniscule. I make that first step seem like the easiest thing in the world, that I can definitely accomplish. Then comes the important part, that once I do accomplish my easy first step, I go on and make another step in the right direction. (But again, a very, ridiculously, awesomely easy step.)
    For example: If I want to eat less sugar, first I’ll take a look at what my sugar in take is currently. Let’s say I eat a good amount of sugar every day and want to reduce that. So I’ll first just look at one meal. Every morning I put two tea spoons of sugar in my tea. My super easy step then could be to only add one teaspoon of sugar. I think I can manage that with 100% success, so that’s what I choose to change.
  2. Keep track of what you’re doing. There are a bunch of apps out there, or you can go the old write-it-down-with-pen-and-paper rout. Whatever you do, keep track of what you’re doing and how you feel. If you keep track you will be able to easier tell what is working, and what isn’t. (Hint: this can even be one of your first small changes – make it easy for yourself!)
  3. Be allowed to cheat. They say (by they I mean the internet) that your “diet” will be successful if you follow it 90% of the time. That’s pretty sweet I think. If you eat 6 meals a day for 7 days a week that means you eat 42 meals in a week. That means you only have to follow your diet for about 37 meals. That’s 5 meals/week that you get to eat whatever you want. (Within reason and portion size.) I’m fairly sure if you eat seven pizzas for four meals a week you won’t be getting any fitter, regardless of what you eat the other 37 times.


How do I know that these steps work? Like I said, I’ve read approximately 1 million articles online regarding changing the way one eats. In the internet wonderland I have found these ideas, and I have tested them myself to see what works best for me.

yummy fruit

found here

To be honest, it hasn’t been a perfect run, as the title of this post would suggest. I’ve fallen off the bandwagon. Dropped the ball. Let it slide. Whichever idiom you like. That’s why I find it important to have my three steps. When it starts going less well, I can take it back to the basics. Back to what I know works. (And keep track of what hasn’t work, and maybe even ponder why it hasn’t worked.)

I tried to keep this short and sweet, but certainly have more to say on the topic.

Stay tuned.


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and the winner gets…


You heard right. Blueberries. Don’t worry, this isn’t a repeat of the strawberries post. There isn’t the same level of commitment between Swedes and blueberries. Unfortunately (?).

Just because the love (addiction) isn’t the same, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t indulge. The blueberries are flourishing because of the crazy rain we’ve had. So strap on those rain boots and hit the forest!!

After step one is complete (the strapping of boots) take the nearest 10 minute walk into the woods. 15 minutes if you live in a large city center. Do your best to avoid mosquitoes (which surprisingly like me less in Sweden) and ticks (which terrify me) and jump in! If you’re fortunate you’ll quickly find a large patch of blueberries to scavenge.

When Evelina and I ventured into the woods it had just rained, which unfortunately prevented me from “pulling a Sal”. Yes, I am referring to the great literary work by Robert McCloskey. Spoiler alert! Sal finds the perfect blueberry patch to sit down in and eat blueberries all the livelong day. Which was my goal.

picture credit: amazon.com

Another obstacle in my Sal quest which I didn’t foresee was the size of blueberry bushes in Sweden. First, you should know blueberries in Sweden are smaller than the ones commonly found in the US. When I was young every summer we would climb “Blueberry Hill” and pick (eat) our body weights in berries. (I recently found out this mountain has a real name, but it’s way lamer than Blueberry Hill, so we won’t use it.) At the top of the hill you could plop yourself in a blueberry thicket and be set for the day picking blueberries the size of pennies. That is not the case here in the White North. Blueberries grow very close to the ground, the little bushes really don’t reach higher than my ankles. The blueberries are consequently of proportionate size. Plan to hide in a bush and eat berries: out the window.This turned out to be a good thing, once my initial goal was moot (or moo, any Friend’s fans out there?!), I made a new goal. Pick the most blueberries ever. This evolved into a promise to myself that I wouldn’t eat any blueberries until we were done picking.

This didn’t exactly pan out either. Hint: When your blueberry-picking-parter asks “How many blueberries have you eaten?” You can’t reply with “None.” Your face turns blue. In case you forgot. Which I did. Trying to pretend your cold when called out on this doesn’t work either. Good try though.

In case you’re not convinced of the endless fun that’s associated with blueberry picking, I recommend you, upon immediate arrival in the woods, shout “I’m gonna win!!” and make a bee-line into the forest. Because, yes, this is a competition. Then pick berries like a mad-woman!!

hint: look for these little guys

For Evelina and I this was just a friendly afternoon of berry picking. But halfway through the afternoon I decided it was a competition, without telling anyone. And, y’know what, I’m pretty sure I won. What does the winner get you ask?

PIE that’s what. Crumble pie. (Direct translation from the Swedish smulpaj – not sure if it’s a thing in English…but it’s like a cobbler.)

It’s ridiculously easy. Put the blueberries in a pie form. Then mix together 75 grams of butter, 1.5 dl flour, 1.5 dl oats, and a tablespoon of sugar. I like to just pour sugar in until I feel it’s enough (this is how you can tell my diet is going so well). And yes, these are metric measurements. I recommend converting them online, or hitting up your nearest IKEA to get your own deciliter measure (totally worth it). I mix these ingredients with my hands, and then crumble the topping over the pie. Like you’re making a drip sand castle. If you don’t know what that is, I really can’t help you.

yes, strawberries were added to this pie — Swedes……

Heat at 175 (that’s right, degrees Celsius) for about 25-30 min, checking around the 15 min mark. I like my blueberry pie with vanilla sauce. (The kind you buy at your nearest ICA grocer). Evelina likes the vanilla sauce whipped – which takes an unreasonable amount of time to do. It’s also great with your favorite ice cream flavor, or by itself. If you can get away with it, I recommend eating the entire pie yourself. But the delectable smell of pie in the oven will probably bring people running from a 10 mile radius (US mile this time), so good luck to you.


it has begun

It has begun. The diet. Ew.

As part of my 25 before 25 list I included number 6, get fit. In this light I have officially started the diet. I am not excited about this. Mostly because it involves my being hungry, which I do not enjoy. So far it hasn’t been so bad, actually. But seeing as the start date was April 23rd, I haven’t really been going that long. I also have admittedly not been 100% faithful to said diet (I’ll work on it). In addition to the diet. Off ice workouts started the first week of May, but seeing as they haven’t been going on that long I’m not exhausted AND hungry. . .yet.

This will be me, any day now . . .

 First, I want to say that I’m not exactly on a diet in the traditional sense – it’s more of a diet in the dictionary definition. 1di·et noun \ˈdī-ət\ 1 a: food and drink regularly provided or consumed b: habitual nourishment. I particularly like b. It is a change from how I have been eating recently, but what I’m looking for is more of a way of eating than a ‘diet with a start date and an end date, with x number of lbs (or kilos) lost in between’.

I am very glad to have a partner in this experience. They recommend you ‘diet’ and workout with a partner (I’m not convinced this is necessary…but I really like it). Mostly it gives me someone to complain to when I’m hungry, but have to wait another hour to eat. (I’ve actually decided to make an active effort not to complain, but we’ll see how well I succeed in this.)

Evelina and I aren’t following any of those crazy diets. (Crazy in my opinion, people who do them claim they love them – I question their honesty.) We’re not Paleo/HFLC-ers. It’s not our style. I would describe out diet as a combination of things we’ve learned. In college Evelina was given a diet from a strength and conditioning coach designed to reduce fat and increase muscle, with a final goal of getting to a desired body mass index (BMI). It basically includes eating 6 times a day at 3 hour intervals. So, 6:30, 9:30, 12:30, 15:30, 18:30, 21:30 for example. Three of which are meals and three of which are snacks. All of which are of appropriate portion size to estimate a lower calorie intake than calorie expenditure for the day. The foods we aim to consume are low sugar,unprocessed foods. An increase in vegetables at every meal – it is very hard to consume too many vegetables. White rice/breads, potatoes and in general carbs consumed in a lower quantity than your average Jane, but they’re not forbidden per se. I’m actually going to continue eating, well, whatever I want.

Something I’m bringing to the table is the idea that you’re allowed to cheat, while dieting, 10% of the time. So 6 meals a day 7 days a week, means that for 4 meals in one week you’re allowed to cheat. As in eat foods that we’re trying to reduce our consumption of. There are no limits in what you eat on a cheat meal, only a limit in quantity. you can’t, for instance, have a cheat meal for dinner of 29 hot dogs. That’s unnecessary, although quite impressive. You still have to maintain portion size. I learned this idea/technique of allowed cheating from precision nutrition. A great website with a ton of free info on dieting/exercising. (They also have a number of products and programs – none of which I have purchased or partaken in, but they do have a particular cook book which is definitely on my wish list.) It seems like a very well-rounded, knowledgeable environment. I imagine those who partake in the programs the offer are very satisfied with them.

The most important thin I’ve learned from my not-so-extensive reading on precision nutrition (as well as an array of other diet/strength and conditioning forums) is that you must find what works for you. And it is perfectly okay to adjust your diet and exercise schedules over and over until you find the best option.

A huge aid in this search for the best diet/exercise combo is recording what it is you are doing. The ‘precision’ in precision nutrition refers to this. They argue that it is difficult to identify what you want to change, and by how much, if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing. In that light Evelina and I have measured ourselves and recorded the data. I’m going to start a food log, and I really want to buy a scale. Evelina is against it. (Hence why we measured and didn’t weigh.) I mean the ultimate goal for us isn’t necessarily a number on a scale, but a satisfaction with our outward appearance, a diet that keeps us happy and healthy, and, well it wouldn’t be so bad if I could squat 10-20 more kilos by the end of the summer. So, I suppose we cans tick tot he measurements. It’s a more exact way to measure muscle growth and fat loss anyway. I’ll just have to accept that we’re not going to be ‘scale people.’ (Did anyone else just get images of green reptile-people covered in scales? Just me?)

This is what we measured (edited for content):

We’re going to take measurements every two weeks. I feel this interval is far enough apart so that you might see some small adjustments from date to date, but close enough that later when I make a graph you can really get an idea of the degree of the changes. (Oh yes, a graph is happening!) We also took before pictures, but I wouldn’t want to subject you to that. Nor do I want to lose my few faithful followers (who I appreciate dearly!!)

If you’re interested, I absolutely recommend checking out what hey have over at precision nutrition. If you’re looking for workout routines I definitely recommend crossfit – this is what I want to do when I quit playing hockey. We’ll see if I have the stamina. Or ability to do 100 pull ups. I can tell you now, I do not.

(picture credit)

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diet coke is cola light

I should start this post by clarifying that in Sweden when you order a Coke you just call it a cola. There isn’t any other logical option. Of note: Pepsi and other off brands do exist, but you don’t have to concern yourself with that. Coke is King. (Alright Karl Gustav XVI is King, but he would happily share his throne with the best cola – I asked.)

Now I want to get into the matter at hand. They don’t call Diet Coke, diet. It’s Light. So if you’re trying to order a Diet Coke (which I don’t – I prefer the full sugar version **note no corn syrup is used in Sweden in the makings of soda**) you ask for a Cola Light. During which you, of course, put on your best Swedish accent so they can’t identify you as a native English speaker. Which undoubtedly fails.

What I’m wondering is who was in charge of deciding that it would be called Diet Coke in the good ‘ol U.S. of A? I rather enjoy the sound of Light Coke. Diet makes me feel like I have to be on a diet to drink it…or at least be consciously thinking about what goes into my diet…which is ne’er the case. Light makes me feel like I’m already there, no need to diet, when you’re light, right?!

Moral: when in search of your favorite diet cola beverage in Sweden, ask for cola light. You’ll get a Diet Coke every time.