04 Sep

Waist Goals Update 7–One year later

This time last year I was feeling uncomfortable with my body and less than optimally healthy. I set a goal for myself–my waist goal— to lose 6cm from my waist.

Goal: 77cm at waist; 85cm at belly button.

Progress: (the measurements are waist/belly/weight)

Aug 15: 83cm/ 91cm/ 166.8lb
Sep 10: 83cm/ 89cm/ 166.2lb
Oct 10: 82cm/ 89cm/ 166.6lb
Nov 15: 81cm/ 87cm/ 169.4lb
Dec 1: 82cm/ 88cm/ 170.2lb
Jan 1: 82cm/ 88cm/ 169.4lb
Feb 1: 84cm/89cm/171.8lb
Mar 15: 83cm/88cm/170.0lb
Apr 15: 82cm/ 88cm/ 170.0lb
May 15: 82cm/ 87cm/ 170.8lb
Jul 1: 79cm/85cm/ 164.0lb
Aug 1: 80cm/85cm.163.4lb
Sep 1: 80cm/86cm/164.4lb

So I haven’t quite hit my goal yet but I made some great progress this year and I am much happier with my body today than I was one year ago. The change isn’t drastic but that’s the point. The more slowly I change my habits the more likely I am to maintain them.

I feel stronger, more limber, healthier, and happier with how I look and feel so, for me, that’s a win.

For most of the last year my weight was hovering around 170lb and my waist was 82cm belly zone. My last update, immediately after returning from 3 a week Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) intensive, saw my weight plummet 7lbs and my measurements to drop by several centimetres. I wasn’t at all surprised to see that drop happen in July but I was very surprised that I didn’t gain it all back in the last 2 months given that I haven’t been sweating my ass off in twice daily yoga classes.

I paid a good deal of attention to my measurements since July and they fluctuated throughout the months and while I expected them to go up and stay there, they always seemed to return to the post YTT numbers.

Aug 31Aug 31Aug 31

The Start – Taken Aug 31

Jan 28 (1)Jan 28 (2)Jan 28 (3)

Halfway Through the Year – Taken Jan 28

2013-06-30 (1)2013-06-30 (3)2013-06-30 (4)

Last Update – Taken June 30

2013-09-01 (5)2013-09-01 (6)2013-09-01 (7)

Current – Taken Sep 1

My Game Plan:

My game plan to whittle my middle was to:

-opt for high intensity exercise
-increase my protein
-cut out white carbs
-plan out my late night snacks
-include a cheat meal every week (with dessert and/or white carbs)

How I Followed Through with my Game Plan:

Over the course of the year I slowly lost track of nearly all of the items in my game plan. Last fall I was much more diligent about following through with my original game plan, but along the way I learned some things about what works for me and changed my tune.

High intensity exercise has been awesome. This is something I did stick with (but sticking with exercise isn’t much of a challenge for me). In addition to my strength training I’ve been getting a lot of my cardio in by just lifting weights faster, which is more fun than a long run on a hamster wheel.

I started by tracking my macronutrient intake diligently and aiming for more protein, but I then found out (as I mentioned in my March and May recaps) that I function much better on a higher carb diet so I scrapped that idea.

I quickly added white carbs like bread and pasta back into my regular diet. I have made sure that they’re not dietary staples that I eat frequently at home, and so I don’t worry to much about them.

Late night snacking has really curbed. I used to nosh a lot in the evenings but now I do so less and less. I allow myself something sweet at night if I feel like it. Just the knowledge that I can basically eat what I want at night keeps any cravings away.

I eat a cheat meal or have dessert daily and try not to over-indulge on any given day. If I save it for once a week then I feel too deprived during the week and go overboard, turn my cheat meal into a craptastic free-for-all.

Going Forward . . .

Maintenance.

I like that I have reined in my eating without being restrictive.

I like that I get regular exercise and am growing stronger all the time.

I like that I have a consistent yoga practice.

I like that I eat dessert every day.

I like how my clothes fit.

I like that I am happy with my body.

I like where I am right now and I’d like to continue doing what I’m doing just to stay here.


Waist Goal Recaps:

My Waist Goals
Waist Goals Update 1 – October 2012
Waist Goals Update 2 – November 2012
Waist Goals Update 3 – January 2013
Waist Goals Update 4 – March 2013
Waist Goals Update 5 – May 2013
Waist Goals Update 6 – June 2013 – Yoga Teacher Training edition

07 Jul

Waist Goals Update 6–Yoga Teacher Training Edition

Every month or so I check in on my waist goals that I set in September to lose 6cm from my waist.

Goal: 77cm waist; 85cm belly.

Progress: (the measurements are waist/belly/weight)

Aug 15: 83cm/ 91cm/ 166.8lb
Sep 10: 83cm/ 89cm/ 166.2lb
Oct 10: 82cm/ 89cm/ 166.6lb
Nov 15: 81cm/ 87cm/ 169.4lb
Dec 1: 82cm/ 88cm/ 170.2lb
Jan 1: 82cm/ 88cm/ 169.4lb
Feb 1: 84cm/89cm/171.8lb
Mar 15: 83cm/88cm/170.0lb
Apr 15: 82cm/ 88cm/ 170.0lb
May 15: 82cm/ 87cm/ 170.8lb
Jul 1: 79cm/85cm/ 164.0lb

Holy hell that’s progress! I actually hit my belly goal!

I wasn’t really surprised to see my weight and measurements plummet so much after spending 3 weeks of doing yoga twice a day, eating only 2 fistfuls of food at a time, not snacking between meals (okay, not really snacking), and soaking my clothes with sweat multiple times a day (I’m sure a lot of my weight loss is water weight).

My body was loving the 170lb and 82cm belly zone, but my change in eating and exercise habits over 3 weeks really had an impact on my body. Because these changes aren’t sustainable for my normal life (at least not the twice+ daily yoga part) I fully expect to put on some size and I won’t be disappointed if I do.

In fact, in the week since taking these measurements I’ve already added 2lbs and 1cm to each my waist and belly button.

Aug 31Aug 31Aug 31

The Start – Taken Aug 31

Jan 28 (1)Jan 28 (2)Jan 28 (3)

Halfway Through the Year – Taken Jan 28

 

2013-06-30 (1)2013-06-30 (3)2013-06-30 (4)

Current – Taken June 30

I definitely notice a little less softness in the belly region since my May check-in.

My Game Plan

My game plan to whittle my middle was to:
-opt for high intensity exercise
-increase my protein
-cut out white carbs
-plan out my late night snacks
-include a cheat meal every week (with dessert and/or white carbs)

How I Followed Through with my Game Plan:

I didn’t. At least, not intentionally.

Exercise was, obviously, not high intensity but 2 yoga classes a day was tiring and challenging and left me sweating buckets. I got a hell of a lot better at chaturangas but my weightlifting has suffered as a result. It’s funny how quickly you can lose your strength gains when you stop lifting for just a few weeks. And by funny I mean really depressing.

I cut out all meat from my diet (not that I eat a lot anyway) except fish. I wasn’t tracking my macronutrient intake but I know that it was very low in the protein department. But, as I mentioned, in my March and May recaps, I function better on a higher carb diet anyway.

Most of my meals were white carb free, so I did follow that protocol. I ate lots of beans* and vegetables and whole grains. I was eating really healthy! . . .Okay, so there was that one time that I bought a box of oatmeal cookies and ate them all in 2 days. It was only, like, 40 cookies though, you guys!

*For the record: beans + yoga are a dangerous combination

The biggest thing that changed for me was eating ‘Yoga’ Meals which have 6 guidelines:

-sit down
-don’t talk & chew at the same time
-take only 2 handfuls of food at one time and wait 5 minutes before going for seconds
-avoid distractions
-swallow fully before taking the next bite
-wait 2-6 hours before your next meal

I struggled with the swallowing before the next bite which sounds simple enough but not when you’re the type of person that just shovels food into her mouth like a garburator. The “2-6 hour” rule definitely put a kybosh on my frequent snacking.

For me exercise is easy to follow through with. I’ve added a tonne more yoga to my weekly exercise and, of course, I can’t say enough about the awesomeness of  that I’m working through right now.

I’m making some ridiculous strength gains and weirdly I’m not bored of doing the same exercises all the time. . . likely because I switch it up with all the high intensity cardio-style lifting I’ve been adding to the programme.

Going Forward . . .

Obviously I won’t be doing twice daily yoga practices anymore, but I will make a point to get in 3 practices a week, even if one of those practices is doing a few sun salute B’s in my living room before bed.

I’ve already jumped back into the 5/3/1 weightlifting programme that stole my heart these past few months. It’s been a struggle, but I’ll have to build up some of the strength I lost these past 3 weeks, and then, of course, build some more!!

I really want to keep up these yoga meals. I was a little skeptical at first but I think they’ve really been good to get me to stop eating so much, so quickly and mindlessly.

Mostly I want to keep myself level headed. I can’t allow myself to be disappointed if, in my normal life, I gain back what I lost (both in weight and size) in my teacher training life.


Waist Goal Recaps:

My Waist Goals
Waist Goals Update 1 – October 2012
Waist Goals Update 2 – November 2012
Waist Goals Update 3 – January 2013
Waist Goals Update 4 – March 2013
Waist Goals Update 5 – May 2013

13 May

Waist Goals Update 5

It’s been 2 months since my last waist goals update, ie. my September resolution to lose 6cm from my waist.

Goal: 77cm waist; 85cm belly.

Right now I’m feeling awesome. My weight had been spot-on 170 the last 2 months but has gone up a pinch in May as my waist size has gone down.

I’m only 2cm away from my belly’s goal now but my natural waist is thoroughly enjoying an 82cm girth. :-/

Progress: (the measurements are waist/belly/weight)

Aug 15: 83cm/ 91cm/ 166.8lb
Sep 10: 83cm/ 89cm/ 166.2lb
Oct 10: 82cm/ 89cm/ 166.6lb
Nov 15: 81cm/ 87cm/ 169.4lb
Dec 1: 82cm/ 88cm/ 170.2lb
Jan 1: 82cm/ 88cm/ 169.4lb
Feb 1: 84cm/89cm/171.8lb
Mar 15: 83cm/88cm/170.0lb
Apr 15: 82cm/ 88cm/ 170.0lb
May 15: 82cm/ 87cm/ 170.8lb

Since March I’m down 1cm in both waist and belly. Fab!

Aug 31Aug 31Aug 31

Taken Aug 31

Jan 28 (1)Jan 28 (2)Jan 28 (3)

Taken Jan 28

2013-03-17 (1)2013-03-17 (2)2013-03-17 (3)

Taken Mar 17

2013-05-14 (2)2013-05-14 (3)2013-05-14 (4)

Taken May 14
. . . why hello there, shoulders and triceps.

As a refresher, my game plan was to increase my protein, cut out white carbs, plan out my late night snacks, include a cheat meal every week (with dessert and/or white carbs), and opt for high intensity exercise.

How I’m Following Through with my Game Plan:

So, umm… basically I’m not. I haven’t been following any sort of protocol in April and May.

I’ve easily decreased my protein consumption to about 50-70g per day (~15% of my calories) and my calorie intake dropped naturally (though not significantly).
As I mentioned in my March recap, I feel and function better with more carbs in my system.

Those carbs that I like so much are usually in the form of beans and vegetables, which make up most of my diet. I’ve continued to limit my intake of refined carbs, but not to the point that I’m only eating them once a week. It’s more like 3-4 instances per week of either pasta or bread or rice. . .

. . . as for dessert though, I’ve been eating it daily, so there’s that.

For me exercise is easy to follow through with. I’ve added a tonne more yoga to my weekly exercise and, of course, I can’t say enough about the awesomeness of the 5/3/1 programme that I’m working through right now.

I’m making some ridiculous strength gains and weirdly I’m not bored of doing the same exercises all the time. . . likely because I switch it up with all the high intensity cardio-style lifting I’ve been adding to the programme.

Going Forward . . .

I really think I have to rein in my sugar consumption. Maybe I’m not getting enough calories so I go for the quickest, easiest source? Or maybe I just have a sweet tooth (…it’s probably that).


Waist Goal Recaps:

My Waist Goals
Waist Goals Update 1 – October 2012
Waist Goals Update 2 – November 2012
Waist Goals Update 3 – January 2013
Waist Goals Update 4 – March 2013

26 Mar

Waist Goals Update 4

I haven’t given an update on my waist goals since the end of January. It was my resolution in September to lose 6cm from my waist.

I hit a snag in December with the delicious vicious holiday chocolate and cookie spreads I could hardly say no to but I’ve slowly made a comeback.

Progress: (the measurements are waist/belly/weight)

Aug 15: 83cm/ 91cm/ 166.8lb
Sep 10: 83cm/ 89cm/ 166.2lb
Oct 10: 82cm/ 89cm/ 166.6lb
Nov 15: 81cm/ 87cm/ 169.4lb
Dec 1: 82cm/ 88cm/ 170.2lb
Jan 1: 82cm/ 88cm/ 169.4lb
Feb 1: 84cm/89cm/171.8lb
Mar 15: 83cm/88cm/170.0lb

1cm down in both waist and belly. Minor improvement, but I’ll take it.

Aug 31Aug 31Aug 31

Taken Aug 31

 

Jan 28 (1)Jan 28 (2)Jan 28 (3)

Taken Jan 28

2013-03-17 (1)2013-03-17 (2)2013-03-17 (3)

Taken Mar 17

You can’t really see any differences in the pictures, but that’s because I haven’t made any major progress.

 

As a refresher, my game plan was to increase my protein, cut out white carbs, plan out my late night snacks, include a cheat meal every week (with dessert and/or white carbs), and opt for high intensity exercise.

How I’m Following Through with my Game Plan:

Start the Day with Protein

Usually eggs or a smoothie are my typical breakfasts but on the days that I wake up in a rush to get to work (which is relatively often) I’m also been inclined to settle for some toast and butter, which I know isn’t really doing anything for me.

Going Forward: Give myself ample time to prep breakfast.

Overall though I’ve slowly been decreasing my protein intake and I must admit that I feel much better as a result. I think I need a high fibre diet to feel feel my best which is hard when you’re shooting for a high proportion of protein in your macronutrient split.

Cut out processed food and white carbs.

While I’ve cut way back on sugar because of Lent I’ve been baking some white bread and cooking pasta a little more often than I should be.

Going Forward: Plan weekly meals that have less refined starchiness and more protein and vegetables.

Cheat Meal

These last few weeks of Lent I’ve been having sweets on Sundays which has been working out pretty well.

Going Forward: I’d like to continue to limit my sweets to once per week.

High Intensity Exercise

As of last week I restructured my accessory lifts in the 5/3/1 Programme for weightlifting to be complexes and high intensity lifts (a la crossfit) to get more cardio in.

For example, yesterday after heavy deadlifts and sumo deadlifts I did:

5 rounds, as fast as possible, of:

– 10 Inverted Rows
– 15 Swings (40lb)
– 3 Burpee Broad Jumps

in 8:40.

Going Forward: I’ll keep this up for at least the next 3 cycles of 5/3/1

Plan Night Time Snacks

Yeeeeeeaaaah, umm, this had completely slipped my mind.

Going Forward: Calculate calories throughout the day to either allow for a late night snack or to make sure I don’t eat one when I’ve overeaten throughout the day.


Other waist goal recaps:

My Waist Goals
Waist Goals Update 1
Waist Goals Update 2
Waist Goals Update 3

18 Nov

Waist Goals Update 2

Remember my waist goal resolution that I set in September with my hopes to lose 6 cm from my waist? Vaguely? Yeah, me too.

I do have to constantly remind myself “You’re trying to lose inches remember?” because my goal hasn’t exactly been at the forefront of my mind. My last check-in was at the beginning of October, so I figured I was due for a post on my progress.

Progress: (the measurements are waist/belly/weight)

Aug 15: 83cm/ 91cm/ 166.8lb
Sep 10: 83cm/ 89cm/ 166.2lb
Oct 10: 82cm/ 89cm/ 166.6lb
Nov 15: 81cm/ 87cm/ 169.4lb

My weight is usually very consistent at 166, but weirdly enough it shot up 3 pounds and yet managed to lose 2 cm from my waist and 4 cm from my belly. (Further proof that it’s not about the number on the scale, people) I’m well on my way.

Aug 31Aug 31Aug 31

Taken Aug 31

Nov 18 (1)Nov 18 (4)Nov 18 (5)

Taken Nov 18

How I’m Following Through with my Game Plan:

Start the Day with Protein

I’ve been lazy getting up lately so my egg breakfasts have been pretty rare. I’ve been opting for smoothies with protein powder, yoghurt, or cottage cheese with frozen berries and honey.

I’ve been pretty consistent about taking protein after every workout too which is great. My health calendar has been helping me keep that on track.

Cut out processed food and white carbs.

Needless to say I’ve been baking a lot of whole wheat and whole grain breads lately. Except maybe for those kaiser rolls. My meal planning for weeknight dinners revolves around vegetables, protein, and whole grains.

Cheat Meal

This is still an issue, as usual, mostly because of the desserts. On my Health Calendar I think I have only 2 days per week where I didn’t eat dessert (my goal is to only eat it once per week), but it’s still better than multiple desserts every day, right?

High Intensity Exercise

This has been going really well. I finish my workout with circuits and complexes with high reps and minimal rest. Of course I always start out with some Olympic lifts or heavy lifting (deadlifts, bench presses, chin-ups, and various forms of squats) and my strength has been improving.

I have managed to eek out a 135lb bench press and 185lb back squats. Beast Mode.

I was doing 4 weightlifting sessions a week, but I’m going to cut it back to 3 and add more cardio. Starting this week I’m going to be reworking my exercise schedule to something like this:

Mon: Full Body Strength Training with High Rep/Low Rest Circuits
Tue: Tabata sprints (20s sprint + 10s rest) or Sled Work
Wed: Full Body Strength Training with High Rep/Low Rest Circuits.
Thu: Tabata sprints (20s sprint + 10s rest) or Sled Work
Fri: Full Body Strength Training with High Rep/Low Rest Circuits.
Sat: Easy Yoga
Sun: Long distance run or Rest

I’ll try posting a .pdf of my new routine this week.

Plan Night Time Snacks

My late night snackiness has continued to be suppressed, probably from all the protein that I’ve been eating. If I do crave something at night I’ve been having some casein protein with yoghurt or some dried or fresh fruit. It’s a little better choice than hot chocolate or cookies.

08 Apr

day 72: week 10 check-in

So I guess my weigh-in wasn’t as bad as I had anticipated it would be after all my holiday weekend eats.

I haven’t lost any weight in the past 2 weeks, but at least I haven’t gained any either:

146.4lb and 30.2% body fat (or 44lb or body fat)

34.3% muscle (or 50lb muscle)

My body fat percentage is much higher on my home scale than on the bioimpedence analysis that the naturopath gave me. But at least my home version gives me a frame of reference for my week to week check-ins. When I go back to my naturopath in 5 weeks I’ll have another bioimpedence analysis done with more accurate results.

Tonight I went on a bit of a health food shopping spree at Enchie Mart and the Bulk Barn. My intention was only to buy wheat berries to make sprouted grain bread this weekend, but left to my own devices I spend far too much money on health food.

When I got home I topped some mixed greens with some of my purchases: flax oil and apple cider vinegar, bee pollen, chia seeds, pepitas, dried mulberries, dried goji berries.

Bee pollen is new to my pantry. I’ve never tried it before. It tastes like honey and chamomile. I wouldn’t want to eat a spoon full of it, but a sprinkling on my salad is something I can take.

Bee pollen is flower sperm. It’s true. Pollen fertilizes the ovules of the flower. Now I don’t know anything about the nutrient benefits of sperm, but when it comes from bees, apparently, it’s “nature’s most complete food”. Evidently everything you need to sustain life (amino acids, vitamins/minerals, and enzymes) is all there stuffed into little tiny granules the size of coarse salt.
An added bonus for vegetarians and bee-exploiting vegans alike (and for my poor B-vitamin deficient self) is that it is a source of B12.

How do you take your pollen?

19 Mar

day 52: week 7 check-in

Today has been a good day for me. I went out for lunch (which I NEVER do– seriously. I can’t remember the last time I went out for lunch.), I got a raise at work (yippee!), and I had some great weigh-in results!

So I finally weighed in this morning and here are my kick-ass (albeit belated) results from week 7 (+2 days) of the bikini birthday plan:

Down 2.2lbs and almost 1% body fat.

Up to 34.3% muscle mass from 33.9%.

I was pretty surprised because before getting on the scale I guestimated my weight at 148lb. What a pleasant surprise 🙂

I have a goal this week to lose 2lb. This will put me at 8lb lost in 8 weeks. It might be tough because of weekly track record of lose 2lbs, gain 1lb but I think I can do it. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can. . .

Happy Friday everyone!

03 Mar

day 36: week 5 check in

Yahoo! I’m so stoked with my results this week. I practically leaped onto the scale this morning because I just KNEW I would have good results. I could feel it and I could see it.

No cringing or groaning necessary. I lost 2lb of fat! Last week I was 150.6lb and 31.7% body fat (=47.7lb of fat) but this morning I was 148lb and 30.7% body fat (=45.4lb). I’ve been pretty pleased with myself all day.

On the down side I’m already nervous for next weeks weigh in. Since I was so happy with this weeks results I’m afraid of a let down next week. Hopefully if I just keep doing what I’m doing my body will keep showing me results.

Here’s why I think I was so successful this week:

– My Lent green smoothie weekends are stopping my weekend cheating cold. Yesterday Estela tackled this issue in her blog. She basically described me to a T right here:

We are supposed to follow rigid guidelines all week and then have that one-day where we can eat whatever we want.  What this can do is eventually lead to an all out binge day…  We feel we have to eat everything we can’t have during the week on that one-day.

– Since my Naturopath visit on Friday I have been eating a cleansing diet: excluding things like dairy, red meat, eggs, peanuts, gluten, and natural sweeteners. This is definitely helping, primarily because of my reduction in peanut consumption. While I have had an unopened jar of pb in my cupboard for about 3 weeks now, I had turned instead to the source: the delectable peanut. Matt and I eat about a pound of peanuts in a week and far too many of them end up in my belly.

Although it’s halfway through the week and he’s already halfway through the container. Hmmm… maybe he’s eating my share to compensate. Busted Matt, busted.

24 Feb

day 29: month 1: over

I didn’t to a weigh in last Wednesday because I was afraid that weighing in the morning after Fat Tuesday would be a bad idea. So I waited until this morning to step back on the scale.

Here are my results:

Start: Week 1: Week 2: Week 4:
Weight 153.6 lb 150.0 lb 150.8 lb 150.6 lb
Body Fat % 33.0% 31.5% 31.8% 31.7%
Muscle Mass % 33.0% 33.7% 33.6% 33.6%
Waist 81 cm 79 cm

Overall, from the very start of the month, I am really happy with my results. But all of my gains were in week 1 and I haven’t seen any results since. Is it possible to hit a plateau after one week?

Let’s reflect on the past four weeks shall we?

Things I haven’t done that need work:

– eat 1700 cal per day — I’m closer to 2000
– drink one or two glasses of water before each meal
– eat mindfully — I’m improving, but I still find myself in the kitchen grazing from time to time

Things I have done that I’m proud of:

– lifting heavy weights — I’m kicking ass and taking names at the gym… and I’m sore as hell.
– cut back on sugar and eat more veggies — especially because of Lent
– stopped binge eating — I only did this once in the past 4 weeks.

So I’m sorta half doing an okay job at changing my lifestyle. Does anyone have any tips on how I can jumpstart my progress again??

10 Feb

Day 15: Potato Leek Soup

Okay, so I had no progress this week. I actually took a step backward: +0.3% body fat, +0.8lb Boo 🙁

So I failed on my goals to lose 1lb and 0.5% body fat. Looking back at my caloric intake, I was eating 1900 cal per day instead of 1700 as I had planned. I did eat more vegetables and less fruit but it didn’t seem to help very much.

I feel a bit like Melissa on last night’s Biggest Loser. What did I do wrong?

This week I plan to be more strict about my calorie intake — this is going to take a bit more planning than I’m used to (primarily because I’m not used to planning). Also I’m restricting myself to 1 tbsp per day of peanut butter. This sounds like a lot, but I eat A LOT of peanut butter. I probably don’t need all that fat.

In other news…

Last night for dinner I made my famous potato leek soup. Famous to me and my husband, at least. …And I’m giving up the recipe:

Potato Leek Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 leeks chopped (white part only)
  • 1/2 a red onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 new potatoes cubed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves

(Yesterday I also added a can of white kidney beans, which I don’t normally add– the taste honestly didn’t change much)

Directions

Heat the oil in over medium high heat in a large saucepan.
Add the leeks, onions, and garlic and cook until the leeks are soft and the onions are transparent.
Add the potatoes and add just enough water to cover them. Stir in the salt, pepper, turmeric, thyme, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil. Reduce to low heat to simmer for 40 minutes. (If adding beans, I added them after 20-25 minutes.)
Using an immersion blender blend the soup to a smooth consistency, adding more water if necessary. (I like my soup really thick, so I never have to add extra water.)