Tuesday, October 25, 2016

You have to start somewhere

I plan our dinners two weeks at a time. I have tried many methods to this madness, as it can be monotonous to keep writing menus for four people with vastly different tasted and preferences. I don't really plan breakfasts and lunches, as I do my own breakfast, the kids eat cereal every weekday morning, and Hot Dad doesn't generally eat breakfast. The kids pack their own lunches for school, Hot Dad usually buys fast food or something, and I pack leftovers, salads, or whatever I can whip up at 0'dark:30 in the morning before work.

This weekend I planned out my two week menu and grocery list so that I would be prepared when I begin this Whole30 next week. I'm gently phasing out my morning coffee, and by next Tuesday I'll be at least four days coffee-free. My biggest challenge right now is the World Series. I've never in my lifetime had to worry about sports in October taking over any aspect of my life, but now the CHICAGO CUBS ARE IN THE WORLD SERIES. Holy mother of pearl. Let's just hope that we don't need those last two games. Please.

While this isn't a huge challenge in the great big picture of life, it just seems contradictory to celebrate or toast the big game (and a big victory) with peppermint tea or a big glass of ice water. I'm fine with the no alcohol part of this whole thing, overall, but, come on, THE CUBS ARE IN THE WORLD SERIES!! If ever there was a test of my willpower, this will be it. No wine. No Old Style. No.booze.at.all. During the World Series. This makes Thanksgiving look like a drop in the Whole30 bucket.

I guess that the World Series isn't my *only* challenge over this 30 day time. I had already accounted for Thanksgiving, but, that one is pretty easy in the grand scheme of things. One day, one big meal, I just planned to come prepared with a side that I can enjoy along with the turkey. Done.

Have you ever decorated a Christmas tree? Are we friends on Facebook? If you answered yes, have you ever wanted to "unfriend" me over Thanksgiving weekend while I spend the weekend dealing with two cats, two kids, two trees, and a zillion stupid lights that only burn out after I've woven them into the branches of the tree(s)? Have you? Do you know how many bloody marys that weekend demands? How many bottles of wine it takes to get through each evening before the tree is finally done and the house looks more like a home than a battlefield of Christmas crap? This is the part that I hadn't taken fully into account when I chose November as my magic month. Decorating for the holidays. November is quickly proving to be a tough time for this undertaking. But I'm up for it. I am.

Want to know why I'm up for it? Because regardless of when it happens, change is hard. There isn't a single month when there isn't *something* going on, and if I wanted until a month without something going on, I would be waiting for the rest of my life. Because I have to shake things up in order to get my brain fully in the game. There's no time like the present.

It begins, for me, one week from today. I am ready. I am excited to be trying some new recipes this week and next. I am excited to start feeling better. I am excited for more energy, to lose a few pounds, and to establish some new habits. I'm excited. I'm ready. GO CUBS!!!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Because elastic pants aren't ideal

My daughter has some sensory things going on, so from a very early age she has worn nothing but leggings. As long as the waist is elastic (no buttons, snaps, zippers) she'll wear it, and Old Navy has leggings for cheap. Done. I am now 44 years old and don't have the same sensory things going on, so I will wear jeans, shorts, or pants with buttons or snaps or zippers.

Over the last two years, my activity level has gone way down. I stopped playing softball, and I have reduced my running to almost a dead stop. After finishing the Grand Rapids Marathon in 2014 I fell into a polar vortex funk, using my newly acquired tendonitis in my ankle and the horrible winter as an excuse for not being more active. I was happy to sleep in on Saturday mornings, stay home with the kids on week nights, and continue with my food intake as if I was still training for the marathon. It was both a blessing and a curse when I discovered that Vera Wang made workplace appropriate pants with elastic in the waist line. Damn you, Vera!

Elastic pants should be reserved for kids like my daughter, toddlers wearing diapers, and adults on Thanksgiving a after the feast. While these pants are very comfortable, I never planned on them becoming such a staple in my wardrobe, let alone the only pants I could fit into for a full winter season. I initially intended to wear them through last winter season and get my butt in gear in the spring so I could get myself back in shape and back into my regular work pants. Then summer crept up, and whadda know - I barely squeezed into any of my summer wear. When you're unbottoning at your desk at work by 10AM, something is drastically wrong. Time to make some changes.

I started by going back to full-on Paleo in spring. Kind of fell off the rails over Derby weekend in May. Got back on the horse some time in June, and have done sort of OK since. I have run on and off during the summer months, but not enough that I'd even say I'm running. My hip took a bad turn, literally, to the point where I could barely walk until I went back to my PT, tail between my legs, and got it set back in place. That was a bit of a scare, I'll be honest. I haven't had a good long run since August 2015 when I was in San Francisco visiting family. It hurts, and it sucks. I need to get back into shape so I can run again, and keep my body from revolting.

Enter - dietary changes. Big ones. I can't ignore it any longer. Enter - exercise. I run, I like it, I can do it, it's easy for me, and I miss it. Running isn't going to get me into the shape I need to be in to stay healthy. My hips aren't going to just magically stay in place without some help. I have to focus on long term health, not just getting through the next marathon, the next 5K PR, or fitting into pants. 
Welcome, my second Whole30. My first foray into Whole30 was in April 2013. I was introduced to it, and Paleo life, by a good friend of mine, and we did the 30 day adventure together with another friend. It was pretty awesome, I have to admit. It changed the way I eat and the way I look at the food I cook for me and my family. I made a half-hearted attempt at it again last November and I crashed and burned. I wasn't mentally in the game, and I didn't plan like I should have. This time is different.

I'm now meeting with a personal trainer to develop a workout plan. I joined the chintzy fitness center at the end of my street so I have a place to go away from the kids, the kitchen, and messy house, to focus on me. I'm declaring my readiness, and making myself accountable. I've set a few short term goals for myself which are realistic and attainable. In the longer term, I'm looking at getting back to marathon training. In the longer long term, I am excited to have more energy, more strength, and less time saying, "I'm injured". No more excuses. Time to prevent the injuries!

I'm only putting this out there because one of the first things I need to do is acknowledge my commitment. I have to make this real. I have to step outside my comfort zone. I have to follow through. I'm not a gym rat, I hate gyms. This fitness center is less of a gym and more like someone's basement that a few people visit on occasion and I like that. It's not crowded. It's not full of skinny bitches, guidos, and sweaty assholes. It's not the most modern facility, but I have to get out of my house and make this happen. Fitness and health don't just happen, you have to make them happen.

I'm excited for this Whole30 because I want to feel better, and I know this will get me there. Nothing is easy, but I know I can do this. You're probably wondering, what the hell is Whole30? All I'm going to say is it's all over the 'web, so I'm not going to reinvent the wheel. Visit the web site, or Google it, and learn for yourself. That's the beauty of the internet!

So there, I said it. I'm doing it. I will begin my Whole30 on November 1st. I'm preparing menus, shopping lists, and I'm preparing my mind. I'm no food photographer, and I don't like to stop and take pictures of every step of something I'm doing. I do need to keep some sort of diary of my progress, and when I think of it and have the time (ie: when I'm not cooking and food prepping) I'll do that here. I'm not one to go shout from mountain tops and tell everyone they should do this, and I'm not here to get anything out of using my blog to track this, only to give my brain a space to unload and share my experience, and maybe some bad pictures of good food. If that's not inspiring, I don't know what is, right?