April Showers Pour

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So many things are flying through my head right now. I am trying to think of what to blog about. There is soooo much going on! This April is probably the craziest month of all time. There are at least 5 huge things going on at work simultaneously that I have my feet dipped into that will no doubt be putting me in overtime these next couple of weeks. I wrecked my car, then bought a new one all within 4 days. I fractured my elbow and while I am happily out of my splint, I am still healing and have my follow up appointment on the 30th. My new car payment has inspired me to look into consolidating my college loans, which I am going to apply for as soon as I get some spare time in my day. I am still trying to hold on to getting some household goals accomplished before this month is over in spite of my elbow setback. I’m hoping to paint my kitchen so that when our new patio glass sliding door is installed in May, it will give the space a brand new face lift!

I find myself wishing April away and looking forward to May. I instantly feel guilty afterwards and remind myself to embrace the moments, no matter how chaotic they are. I’m sure May will be just as crazy in its own way. It will be right before June which is a very busy time for me at work, I have two weddings to attend to and a trip to Atlanta with the family. I am so lucky to be feeding myself whole foods that give my mind stability during crazy times like these.

In spite of eating whole foods, I still had another nut-case fiasco two days ago, where I decided to finish a bag full of sea salted almonds with a spoonful of sunflower seed butter. Luckily, it wasn’t as bad as that other time I ate too many nuts. No doubt the urges to binge eat on something fat-dense was from little everyday inklings of stress growing on me. I can actually feel the anxiousness right now as I type. My husband is pacing back and forth in the kitchen while watching Jeopardy and it is making me so damn uneasy. That sounds so ridiculous, but it is true! And you know what? I really want to eat some fat-filled coconut butter and nuts.

That would just be a temporary distraction though. I am going to instead choose to stop typing, put my laptop away, and leave the room for some me time. Maybe run a bath? Ciao!

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Going NUTS!

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I don’t know what has happened but the past few days have been a nut fest. I never thought I had an issue with nuts. I have enjoyed sprinkling them onto dishes for added fat and texture. If I ever eat them by themselves, I use the Emerald Mixed Nuts snack sizes that are already prepackaged to make sure I don’t overindulge. However, lately, I have been going nuts…quite literally! I have been eating pecans, almonds, pistachios, and cashews by the bagful. NOT good…Not even nut good…. After browsing the Whole30 Forum, I take solace in the fact that at least I am not the only one with this problem. But, I don’t want to ignore my history with disordered eating; so, I am going to eliminate nuts for a while.

This hopefully won’t be a problem since I’ve already consumed all the nuts in the house with the exception of my husband’s roasted peanuts. At least I didn’t eat anything off track. I thought about just eating something sweet which is what I was really craving, but the nuts at least kept me from straying too far off path. It could have been worse. So, I will chalk up this nutastrophe as a learning lesson…not to go nuts about nuts.

In other news, I have been Whole30 compliant for over 2 weeks now (with the exception of the nuttiness). I didn’t really intend to do it, but it just kind of happened, so I am going to milk it! I am going to aim for a Whole45 and add 3 more days on the end of it to make up for my 3 nights of nuts. That should hopefully kick my sugar/nut/wheat/ dragon in the ass. Here’s to a Whole45 that includes a nut-free Whole30!

Whole30 Results!

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I feel like I say this every damn time I start a blog post, but man it has been a crazy week….and it’s only Wednesday! Good thing I’ve got tons of stored energy to get me through this week (and next…because I’m already managing my time for when it arrives)! I’m happy to be writing right now. It has become such a huge stress reliever for all the built up craziness that ensues throughout my day. Well, lets jump right in, shall we? Mama’s got a hot date night downtown with her Valentine from two weeks ago. I am curling the hair and putting the lipstick on and going all out since our date nights for the past 30 days have consisted of me cooking us dinner in leggings and t-shirts.

I don’t even know where to begin. If you’ve been following along with me, then you know that the most important change that has occurred has been my psychological relationship with food. I feel like I’ve taken back the reigns of my life in some sort of way. I don’t feel powerless and afraid anymore. I feel like I’ve come back to myself. I’m more me; the best of me if there is such a thing. After having such an emotional roller coaster of a year, feeling this way means so much to me.

With that said, I also reaped some other pretty awesome benefits like:

  • Hair: My hair is shiny and healthy! I’ve had 3 different people in the last week positively comment on my hair-blog post coming in the near future on this!
  • Nails: My nails are hard and thick now! And I am a biter! But, I was always led to bite my nails usually because they always chipped and cracked. My nails are strong! I even scratched my inner thigh in the shower when I was using my hand to scrub with a loofah. I am not used to such sharp talons!
  • Definition: Now that all of the initial bloat and inflammation is out of the way, I’ve got my abs resurfacing, my quads shaping, and my arms toning!
  • Inflammation: Gone! My ankle’s swelling and throbbing went away right in the first week and has held up since, even with all of the high impact workouts and running. I haven’t even used my ankle brace! I would also always get back pain as well after running or doing a lot of jumping. I had to spend a lot of time stretching before and after workouts…and I have not had any at all. It is pretty awesome to not feel like your an old and decrepit  woman when you’re still in your 20’s….Plus, my engagement ring and wedding band have been much looser since. I love this feeling, because it was really starting to tighten up toward the end of last year.
  • Sleep: I’ve recapped on sleep pretty often. It’s great! An interesting side note though-this past Monday and Tuesday night I have not been able to sleep in due to my hectic schedule and I can definitely tell when I’m not getting enough sleep now throughout the day. Will fix this immediately!
  • Attitude: Happy! I’ve got a pep in my step. I’m extra friendly and bubbly. Like I said, I feel like myself and this is worth everything!
  • Energy: No more ups and downs throughout the day. My husband said to me the other day “slow down and pretend like you wanna be by me.” I felt so bad! I was just walking so much faster than I usually do. It feels like I have all these stores of energy that I can tap into whenever I want.
  • Fitness: Not only do I feel like I am able to push myself more with workouts, but I also feel much more in tune with my body. I am learning how to let myself rest and recover when my body needs it. I can definitely tell an improvement in my fitness because I recover much faster from workouts without the pain of soreness bothering me all day. I also ran every Sunday during my 30 days and my runs improved with longer mileage and faster pace each time. My first Sunday run was 2.57 miles at a 12:05 min/mile pace and this past Sunday was a 3.91 mile run at a 10:35 min/mile pace. Now, I gotta get a sub 10 pace and I’ll be good for the 5K I’m scheduled to run in March!
  • Cravings: Gone, nada, zilch! I am still not going to test out any unleashing of a sugar dragon. I have a pretty nasty addiction with the stuff so even though I am happy to report I don’t crave any sugar, I am not going to risk it for a while.
  • Skin: I’ve luckily always had pretty clear skin. I had a few blemishes throughout the second week and afterwards my skin looked better than ever. Today in the mirror while washing my hands I couldn’t believe how clear and healthy my face looked. It looks “fresher” if that makes any sense.
  • Libido: This is pretty self-explanatory. It was an unexpected but welcomed side affect.
  • Relationships: Not only has my relationship with food changed, but also with my husband. I eat to eat now. This past weekend I forgot to eat lunch! I quickly scarfed something down when I realized I went on a run and had been doing yard work for an hour on Sunday–not because I was hungry but because I knew that I needed to give my body nutrients and energy quickly since I missed out on lunch AND a post-workout meal (woops!). I enjoy cooking meals for Hubs and I. We get to spend that time at home and eat dinner together which was something we never really did. I’m a happier person and now I get to share myself more with my husband because I am present!
  • Weight: Unfortunately, I did not take any before measurements. I wish I did, but it was something I just simply forgot to do. I did take measurements on my 30th day so that I can now keep track from here on out. However, I did lose 16.4 lbs! I’m pretty psyched about this. It is a great start.

So, what now? Now, I plan to follow a Whole9 lifestyle. My 30th day was Monday and I have stayed compliant. I plan to take it day by day and stay on course as close as I possibly can and only straying when it is absolutely worth it, and only absolutely worth it!  I’m sure I won’t be perfect at this right away, but I hope to get better and better at it with time as I not only build my confidence up but the trust I have with myself. I am definitely a work in progress. The Whole30 has already given me an amazing head start on my whole-kind-of-life plan. I will elaborate more on some personal goals I have for the Whole 9 Factors. Now, I must go get ready for our date! And, just for the record, I am sampling a beer tonight. And I do think this one is absolutely worth it.

Day 30!

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I can’t believe today is Day 30! I seriously feel like I’m just beginning; yet I also kind of feel like a bad ass pro at the same time. I woke up super excited that today was my 30th day. Maybe even a bit too excited?

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I especially feel like a bad ass pro after the surprisingly challenging day I had….Ironically enough, my last day of the Whole30 started off its morning with a staff retreat to a cooking class! We knew we were going somewhere, but no one had any idea what we were doing until we pulled up to the location. Ha! The menu items were a crusted quiche, cornmeal fritters with bacon and corn, followed by the ooziest-gooiest cinnamon rolls. Half the time was spent cooking and the other half of the morning was eating at a family style table. Ha! I couldn’t believe the irony. I got my hands dirty and helped roll and slice the cinnamon rolls. After all, I am still a kitchen queen and I do not diet discriminate.

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The other half was a little uncomfortable. I waited for everyone to ask why I wasn’t partaking in the fruits of our labor. It was awkward being the only one not eating but it wasn’t hard at all. In fact, I didn’t once give into thinking of off-roading. I could have easily talked myself into eating with everyone else by ending my Whole30 a few measly hours early, but the thought of how I would feel afterwards trumped any mouth-watering that my have occurred. I knew how sluggish and gross I would feel afterwards. I wouldn’t want to be productive once we returned to work. I wouldn’t have any motivation to exercise because I would be too full. I was having none of that! So, it really wasn’t hard. The experience actually has given me a lot more confidence in officially finishing my 30 days and starting to transition into a more balanced day-to-day life. Perhaps, there will be a moment that arises and it will most definitely be worth it to off-road. But today was not that day. And tomorrow doesn’t have any prospects of looking that way either (unless there may be another work surprise I don’t know about).

I couldn’t even eat their fruit salad because it was glazed with honey! There were a few grapefruit and orange wedges I was able to at least nibble on. I honestly wasn’t even hungry, but I felt like I should be chewing on something along with everyone else.

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So, after I dodged my Day 30 Bomb, the rest of the day fell right into place. Once we returned to work, my co-worker and I worked out right away before I locked myself into to my office to play catch up for the rest of the day. I made a delicious salad for lunch with my own dressing.

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I took the leftover Chile and Lime Chicken I grilled the other night and sliced it with some Bibb lettuce and cherry tomatoes. I used a magic bullet to make the dressing: cilantro, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, a dash of jalapeno pepper, garlic clove, lemon juice, and avocado. It was super easy! While eating my lunch, I was so grateful I pushed throughout the morning. I enjoy the food I eat now so much and am so happy I didn’t settle for the lack of quality in nutrients I put into my body. By the way, how pretty is Bibb lettuce?! It’s so wavy!

The rest of the day flew by while playing catch up. I made myself eat a serving of mixed nuts before I left work to go to my 5:30 gym class. I blew off some steam and lifted some weights and then finally came home. I didn’t feel as good as I thought I would coming home though. I feel a little bit anxious and sad. I have no idea why. Because my Whole30 is over? Because I am scared about what will happen next? Because I felt strong this morning when I thought I wouldn’t? Not to get too deep and philosophical here, but I kind of feel like this morning was a huge stepping stone for me. I have not been able to trust myself in so long. Self-sabotage was weekly, if not daily. Even though today was a success (Hell, these past 30 days were a success),  it has been a long journey to get to where I am now, mentally. I am scared about what will happen next, but today has also made me really realize how strong I am going forward.

Speaking of going forward, I had the best dinner to top off my 30th day. This past weekend I bought some Sunflower Seed Butter on sale at my local coop. I’ve never tried it and have always wanted to. Trader Joe’s sells a product, but it has cane syrup in it. This type just had one ingredient: raw, organic sunflower seeds.

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Hubs put some beef tips in the fridge to defrost this morning. We also had a bag of frozen veggies: carrots, sugar snap peas and water chestnuts. I tossed everything into the cast iron with some diced onion. After my medley cooked a bit, I mixed the sunflower seed butter with coconut aminos, lemon juice, coconut oil, and garlic clove. I dolloped my sunflower sauce on the stir fry and let it all simmer.

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Then I added salt and pepper and topped my bowl with some raw cashews.

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This was probably one of my favorite meals. I am kind of mad it took me so long to make this. Oh, I just remembered that I did just find the sunflower seed butter the other day. Good thing I have a whole jar to keep playing with!

I will post my results sometime this week. Tomorrow is my crazy busy day. Wednesday night is our concert date night. We will also be going out to eat Wednesday night for dinner. I plan on drinking a beer Wednesday night, but that is it. Hopefully I will have successful follow ups to report later this week! Happy Day, Whole30ers.

Week 3 Recap!

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I can hear the birds chirping outside this morning! I hope they are giving the groundhog a big middle finger and singing little birdy songs about warmer weather coming soon. I really would love to get a nice run in today and keep up my Sunday running streak. We will see! Now that I have just typed that out, I will hopefully make myself do it!

This week has been full of the most energy I have felt since starting. There are no spikes or drops in my day, I have been able to push myself in workouts even if I have felt a little tired before starting them, and I feel like I’m able to be more productive and clear headed at work.

  • Energy: I know I just described how great my energy has been this week, but this topic definitely deserves its own bullet point to elaborate. When doing day-to-day things like going to the grocery store or walking from the office to my car I crave running or jogging. At work, I sometimes have to remind myself not to run in the facility in front of visitors because one of our rules to the public is no running in the building. Oops! With this said, I actually have not been on a legit run since last Sunday (with the exception of treadmill sprinting for 10 minutes on Tuesday night). I am curious to see how my endurance and pace changes (hopefully for the better) on my next run.
  • Body: I am definitely noticing changes in my body. The other day I reached for something in the kitchen and my hand brushed by my other arm and I was surprised to feel muscle definition there- without trying to look for it! I have some ab definition finally coming back into sight after months of bloat. In a gym class the other day I noticed how my quads were looking more defined too. My finger nails are growing faster than ever and aren’t chipping like they usually would after growing past a certain length. I trimmed a little bit off of my pointer fingers earlier last week and they are already growing back in. One other awesome thing is that I don’t feel sore the next day after hard workouts because my body is recovering quickly. And, I have absolutely no tenderness in my right ankle! I’ve still been able to run on it, squat on it, jump on it, and lunge on it which were the higher impact exercises to do without it throbbing or swelling. I haven’t really even been checking if it has been inflamed or not because it feels fine and I forget to do so!
  • Sleep: Sleep has been great all week. I am pretty much fighting to stay awake around 9ish and in bed by 9:30. Some mornings I wake up earlier than others. Yesterday I woke up at 6 in the morning to feed Lady and couldn’t go back to bed, but I was happy to be up considering I still got 8 hours of sleep. Today I slept until Hubs woke up to walk Lady at 7 and I still got around 9 hours of sleep last night. The self-sabotaging binge dreams have subsided for now; however, my dreams are still pretty active and vivid. I had a crazy one last night that involved drug smuggling in a movie theater.
  • Attitude: I feel happy. I feel like myself again. I reflected a little bit about this in my last post, but I had a crazy year in 2013. I just got engaged, became a first time homeowner, was still getting comfortable in a new full time job position, and all while planning a wedding. I had so much on my plate and wanted everything to be perfect that my eating habits and overall well-being plummeted. After the wedding was over and we returned home from the Honeymoon, I thought I would instantly go right back to my old self. Instead I actually fell into a depressed funk. I suddenly didn’t have any creative outlet like a wedding to plan and I felt super sad that all the family and friends that had come to visit us for the wedding were now gone. I felt guilty that I didn’t spend enough time with everyone. This funk lasted for a few months, really until I did my first Whole30 right before Christmas. I didn’t want to wait until after Christmas because I was sick of not feeling like myself. I’m so glad I did it right then and there. And I’m so glad I’ve decided to do it again! Yesterday’s visit with my mom really gave me perspective on how far I’ve come. This whole experience is truly an eye-opener on how much food can have an overall effect on me.

In my Week 2 Recap I never listed any of my favorite things from that week. So, I will post a few now for weeks 2 and 3:

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I found these little packets of Artisana butters at my local Co-op. At first I thought I’d buy them and then research what recipes to use them in but then I just ended up eating them by themselves. They were the perfect emergency on-the-go “snack.” Holy Hell, if you haven’t had coconut butter yet, you need to try it ASAP. My other favorite was the Pecan Butter. I’d like to use more cashew butter in recipes; I think it would be delicious in a chicken stir-fry.

Emerald 100 Calorie Pack Walnuts & Almonds, Natural, 0.56 Oz, 7/Box

These little packets of walnuts and almonds have come in handy! They save me time on dividing out a bulk bag of nuts to take with me for pre or post workout meals. I don’t really trust myself yet with eyeballing a proportionate serving size of nuts with my meal (I’m scared I will just end up eating the entire bag), so the fact that these already come in a serving size are perfect for me. They are also the perfect addition to my meal before band rehearsals on Tuesday evenings since I won’t get home to eat anything until after 9 PM.

I’ve been reading Robb Wolf‘s book The Paleo Solution these past few weeks. I rented it from the library to give me another perspective on the paleo diet that is NOT written by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig. Don’t get me wrong, It Starts With Food was such an important read for me and became a huge asset in the success of my first Whole30. However, I am nearing the fourth week of my second Whole30 and I want to be able to transition more easily this time around into a paleo lifestyle afterwards. In fact, I have been thinking about rereading It Starts With Food sometime again, but for now Robb Wolf’s book is just what I’m looking for. I am not even halfway through (I don’t get too much down time and if I try to read at night, I fall asleep!) but it is really helpful with reiterating some of the more science based facts on why nutrition is so important. Plus, Robb Wolf was an inspiration behind the Hartwig’s Whole30 concept. Hopefully I’ll finish it before the library sends me some nasty-grams via email.

Oxo Plastic Avocado Slicer - Green

This bad boy is pretty self-explanatory. It is a 3-in-1 Avocado Slicer. It splits, pits, and slices! I received it at my bridal shower and I have never used it so much! However, you must note that it only works well when the avocados you buy from the grocery store are ripe enough to actually slice. I hate buying avocados that look ripe enough and end up being duds! Why must they be so fickle?!

Alright, well I am all blogged out for today. I’ve got to start my Sunday routine which includes lots of grocery shopping and food prep in the kitchen. Hopefully a run will make somehow make itself in there too. Here’s to a great start to the fourth week!

Eating Out

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Today marks the end of week 3. I can’t wait to recap on all of the amazing changes that I’ve felt this past week, but I will save that for tomorrow. My mom came down to spend time with me today. We had initially planned to do this 3 weeks ago, but first there was the snow episode (from two weeks ago) and then she had to be out of town last weekend. I am really glad she came down today. I love spending time with her and she is seriously my best friend. She brought me a Valentines Day present which was a bottle of red wine. I love red wine. I will hold onto it until I can have a glass! Luckily my husband is a beer connoisseur instead of a wino.

We made plans for her to get here at 10 AM. That gave me enough time to attend an 8:30 morning spin class, get home, hop in the shower, get dressed, and eat a post workout meal. She got in right when I started eating; I even had time to make the bed once Hubs got up to take Lady on a walk. Back to spin class for a second….I had such an awesome workout! More to comment on that though for tomorrow’s recap post.

We went to several consignment shops. I splurged on two pairs of shoes that were pretty pricey, but they were 60% off! One pair were leather ankle boots, originally 80 bucks. I have been itching to buy myself a pair of ankle boots that I can actually walk in. The heel needs to be thick and short to help support my right ankle. These were perfect! The other pair were some loafers that had a wedge on them and were too comfortable not to walk around in all day. They were originally $70. With the sale, I got both pairs for $64. I cringed when she rung up the price, but then I reminded myself that I hadn’t bought myself shoes in years and that the sneakers I still wear to the gym everyday have holes in them that display the socks on my feet to the world.

After some shopping it was lunch time. I had not done any research beforehand on scoping out the most Paleo-friendly restaurant in town. I just figured that wherever we go would be a challenge and that I’d make it work the best that I could. I honestly figured I’d just be ordering a bare minimum salad with the saddest looking naked chicken breast on it with oil and vinegar on the side. Fortunately though, we ate Thai. Thai! I haven’t had Thai food in so long. I’ve mentioned before that my husband has a very “sensitive” palette. Lets just say he drinks Diet Dr. Pepper, because the regular Dr. Pepper is too spicy. Now, I must give him props because he has really come a long way since I have been cooking. Plus, my family and I love spicy food, so he oftentimes will try new things just from the peer pressure that comes with family meals. However, we never go out to eat for Thai, Vietnamese, Indian, or Mexican. We really hardly ever go out to eat at all unless it is to a brewery.

The restaurant was packed. I forgot that the town has been confined to their houses most of the week without power. My mom and I got seated pretty quickly, but I instantly took the menu and looked it over before we were called. The Panang Curry was instantly calling my name. It had your choice of beef, pork or chicken with green beans, onions, sweet potato and coconut milk. I asked our waiter if the menu item had any added sugars or soy cooked with it and he said that none of the curry menu items did. I felt pretty confident with my lunch choice and with the information he gave me (even though it was barely any). I have also read that Thai food is pretty Paleo-friendly considering that coconut is a staple ingredient. Besides, I was staying very clearly away from any peanuts or rice. I started considering in my head the possibility of added ingredients and preservatives to the coconut milk or the refined cooking oil they may use, but then I told myself that I did the best I could. In the end, I am so glad I let myself enjoy the meal with my mom. It was a perfect girls out lunch. I forgot how much I love Thai food!

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I ordered the pork for my Panang. My mom ordered the Yellow Panang that had beef, avocado, cauliflower, basil, onion and coconut milk. You bet I had some of hers too.

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I took the rice and the fancy mints that came with the receipt home for Hubs. I finished about half of the lunch and am going to finish the rest as soon as I finish this post. I may or may not have kept compliant today, but I know that I tried my best to be. I also think that no matter what, I have been successful with the Whole30 today because I thought about what was in my food and I actively enjoyed my meal (if that makes sense). Before the Whole30, I used to stress over eating out. I would experience awful anxiety about where to go out and what to eat there. I have a history with disordered eating patterns (to say it lightly), specifically with this past year. The added stress of wedding planning had taken a huge toll on me most of last year. So, when I say that I really enjoyed this meal out with my mom….I really did. So, whether I was compliant or not–it doesn’t matter. The Whole30 has given me the experience to enjoy my lunch out today with my mom. And I will enjoy the leftovers for dinner!