Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Whole30, day 30

Last day. November has felt like it was flying by sometimes, and at other times it felt like December may never come. For breakfast today I'm enjoying green beans, asparagus, sweet potato, and two eggs. For lunch I have leftover compliant sloppy joes, and for dinner we're having leftovers, so I'm going to have salmon and salad. I have olives and red pepper with me to snack on.

If you are considering a Whole30, here are some insights I can offer.
-Really dig deep and think about why you are doing a Whole30. Keep your 'why list' close to you the whole time. As you get closer to the finish line, this will help keep you motivated.
-The holidays are not the right time to do this if it's your first Whole30. You need time, you must be prepared, and the fewer temptations that are around you, the better.
-It's not about what you can't have, it's about what you can have. There is so much food out there waiting to excite you!
-Think positive. If you don't go into this with a positive mindset, it will be more difficult to get through it.
-Try some new recipes before you start. Don't go into a Whole30 thinking you're going to try all new recipes every night. You are going to need to experiment with what works for you based on your lifestyle. I work full time so it's necessary for me to spend time on the weekend prepping for week night meals. Make meals ahead, cut veggies, do what you can on the weekend to save precious time on the week nights.
-Tell the people around you what you are doing. When someone knows you are making changes in your diet, they are apt to help you out and encourage you. This also makes it easier when you attend parties, gatherings, or host people in your home.
-Don't stop at the end of 30 days. I don't mean to eat your whole life Whole30, that's not realistic. What I mean is, don't see this as a quick diet, a 30 day plan that ends and you go right back to your ways. You will learn a lot about what you eat and why, so if you're not ready to make some long-term changes, wait until you are ready.
-I stood at the store once looking for quick snack foods, and quickly realized I was looking at foods that I never eat normally. Don't grab for a food just because it is compliant. Do you *need* it, or are you looking to fill a void or satisfy a craving? Did you eat enough at your last meal? Are you really hungry?
-Drink water.
-You *can* live without coffee. I finally realized that I drink my coffee for the creamer. 30 days without it was not that bad, and I know I purged my body of a lot of sugar, even if you're like me and drink coconut or almond milk creamer instead of the commercial brands.
-You *can* live without alcohol. Honestly, there is clarity in not drinking alcohol. It's pretty awesome, actually.
-You can do this.
-You don't know until you try.

Would I do this again? Hell to the yes. I would probably choose a month where there isn't a major holiday, and when I'm not in high gear training for a race. February comes to mind, as I could begin at the end of January, or go a couple days into March.

One thing to consider if you're thinking about a Whole30 is the end - what do you have going on after your Whole30 ends? Reintroduction is important, you need to go slowly in order to identify how your body handles different foods and ingredients. If you end right before, let's say, Easter, you'll sit down to that meal and unless you prepare, your body just might not enjoy the feast as much as you hope you might.

All that said, I have been drooling in anticipation of a nice cup of coffee tomorrow morning. I can almost taste that warm cup of creamer coffee, feel it in my hands....

Nevermind. Day 30 is here, and I must savor this final day!

Monday, November 28, 2016

That was just a bump in the road, right? Three.more.days.

A summary of my weekend's transgressions:

Thanksgiving - one glass of wine, a splash of Bailey's in post-dinner coffee, a few bites of stuffing
Saturday night - one glass of wine, some summer sausage
Yesterday - a couple fries

I am OK with these. Am I proud? Hell to the no. I did not feel well after the wine and stuffing incident. I learned the art of control, though. It all happened because I wasn't sufficiently prepared. OK, that's mostly a lie. I brought homemade ranch and veggies for an app, I was armed with my sweet potato dish for dinner (which was amazing, BTW), and I went in knowing what I needed to do. Two words - family, Thanksgiving. I was not W30, but, I was not gluttonous as I would have been otherwise.

The wine, well that was a matter of willpower (how do you say no to this?), but I used control! I did not keep on, I stopped. This is something I've always found to be a challenge, but I feel like I've got a handle on it now. I could never have had just a glass of wine before. Probably a problem, but, I can happily limit, or even pass, now.

I am wearing pants today that I haven't been able to fasten in almost a year. The Vera Wang pants I got at Kohl's last winter are now too big for me. I have a clear head, energy, and desire to do things. I could not have gotten all that I got done this weekend if I'd not cleared my mind and body like I have.

I've had some of the best running in November. It's wonderful run after a good night sleep, to not be bloated, for my running tights to actually fit. I haven't talked myself out of a single run due to a headache, sore gut, or fatigue. I feel good, and I feel good running. Yeah!

I have formed new relationships with food. I have developed new ways of thinking about eating, cooking, and the 'why' behind it all. I am slowly learning what makes me feel good, and what drags me down. I will continue to learn as I reintroduce foods post-Whole30, and beyond.

Three days left. Thursday morning I get my Dunkin' french vanilla with coconut milk creamer, though, and that's helping me out this last few days.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

To my daughter upon turning 12

Dear Ethel,

Twelve years ago, you made me a Mommy. The last 12 years have gone by quickly at times, and I often wish I could hit a pause button so I could enjoy some of those times for longer. As much as I want it to sometimes, time doesn’t stop, and you have grown into a beautiful, funny, smart, and happy young lady.

Nothing has made me more proud than being your mom. Watching you take your first steps, get and lose your first teeth, start your first day of kindergarten, and eventually get on the school bus headed for sixth grade, it’s all magical to witness as a Mommy. You have always handled new adventures, challenges, and stages in your life with determination and confidence.

I want you to always know that I love you and I am proud of who you are. We have our difficult times, but we have fun times, too. I treasure all the times we have together. I enjoy seeing you with your friends because it is very clear that they enjoy your company, they respect you, and they know what a good friend you are to them.

You are sensitive, kind, empathetic, and loving. You are confident, proud, and strong. You are funny, quick-witted, and smart. You are learning some independence and showing more responsibility at school and at home. It is exciting to watch you develop and grow into the person that you are, and to see your extreme interest in the world around you. Your imagination and sense of humor are a joy and amaze me every day. I adore that you love astronomy and the universe, you get great enjoyment from music, and both of those things open up a whole world of opportunity for you.

I hope that you enjoy your 12th birthday and all the birthdays that lie ahead. I am excited for all that your birthdays have in store for you as you continue to grow. May all your birthday wishes come true, baby girl. Remember, Mommy loves you. I always have, and I always will.


Monday, November 21, 2016

Day 21, Interlude day - nine.more.days....

There are nine days left in this Whole30. Nine.days.left. It feels odd to be saying that when all month long it's felt more like a month left every day. The end is near. It's almost bittersweet. I'm settling in to the point where I almost wonder how to eat any other way. Well, let's not get wild. I am really looking forward to my morning coffee and coconut milk creamer, and the ultimate pay off - a glass of wine. For now, though, I've found some new recipes and love what I've made, and I enjoy looking for new stuff to make and I look forward to eating it.

I'm not ready for a summary just yet, but I can say these few things about the process so far:
  • Overall bloating is way down. It's incredible how used to being bloated we get without realizing it.
  • My watch is loose on my wrist. See above point.
  • Prosciutto. Need I say more?
  • Sleep is sooooo much better. Without the uppers (coffee) and downers (alcohol) to fuel the daily duel, it's amazing how good sleep can be. Except, of course, if your cat sleeps on your head like mine does. 
  • Steamed brussels sprouts. Who knew?
  • I have so much more energy. Wow.
Two tidbits I do have at this stage, however, should help you decide if fall is a good time for you to try a Whole30.

  1. There is a reason they don't encourage you to do a Whole30 at/around the holidays. One word - Thanksgiving.
  2. Fall time change. Yikes. I hadn't anticipated my changing energy levels in conjunction with the time change. It's midnight before I leave work at 4:30PM.
Tidbits and challenges aside, I truly enjoy the way I'm feeling and the way my clothes fit me now. I look forward to getting things accomplished on weekends because I know I won't be dragging in the morning from eating like crap the night before or having too many glasses of wine.

Nine more days. No biggie, right?

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Smack dab in the middle

Day 16
Right now I really want to sit down with a glass of wine and a big chocolate chip cookie.

In reality, I'm eating grapes the size of my thumb, drinking lemon green tea, and trying to hold off eating my almonds.

More than half way there. Exactly two weeks left.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Thank you, Veterans

Thank you to all who have served our country, protected our freedoms, and those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

We can still hold hands

At nine years old, I know my days of snuggles, hugs and kisses, and holding hands with my son are numbered. That is to say, I hold no illusion that he'll be letting me give him a kiss goodbye in high school. At least not in public. For now, though, I relish these times when I can hold him and reassure him, kiss him goodbye before school, and have him reach for my hand when we walk together.

This morning on the way to before school care, we were walking in like any other morning. This morning, though, his hand felt different in mine. It felt stronger, fuller, bigger.

"Look that that, your hand is almost as big as mine. Some day it will be bigger than mine."
"We can still hold hands when it's that big, right?"
"Yes, we can, baby."
Smile, look of relief on his face.

And he kissed and hugged me goodbye when I left.

This moment was brought to you by love.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Day nine observations

A couple things I'm noticing already:

My watch is loose on my wrist. It's been on the same hole as always, but, it's looser. Can't get down to the next hole, but this is a nice thing to notice.

Belly bloat is way down. I didn't expect this as much, so I guess I was really bloated and not just fat in that area. I'm not doing any bikini photo shoots by any means, but this is a nice thing to see.

Sleep is so much better. I'm not up as much during the night as I had been. The exception being the other night when a coyote called out at 2:30am. Last night, though, I slept all night long, all the way through to my alarm.

I'm more able to get things done around the house. I have more energy! Evenings this week have been tough, I admit, with the time change and all. I am ready for bed by 8PM. I think that exercise may help this and now that I'm past the first week of W30, I'll get back to the fitness center and get my body moving. Tomorrow night will be the first of these nights. I hope.

Today I want nothing but to dive into a candy bar. I am drinking lots of ginger tea, eating my 4oz. of raw nuts that I brought, and drinking water like a boss.

I can do this.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Week one down, 22 days to go

An easy start to day 8
One week down, only three more to go. Easy enough, right? Not so fast. This is far from easy.

On day one, I had a rush of panic in the middle of the morning. My brain flipped out. Not sure what the problem was. It's not like I've been snacking, eating crap, or binging for any recent period of time, but, knowing that those things are not part of the next 30 days really set in. Day one ended without a cheat or fumble, and all was well with the world.

The World Series happening on days one and two certainly didn't help me, but, I didn't let it derail the train. Luckily for my W30, I'm not a stress eater, rather, I can't eat. My stomach was in knots until Saturday, day five, so any thought of snacking or non-compliant cravings was really a non-issue. I even survived the downtown parade and celebration without even a coffee or adult beverage. How? I honestly don't know, but, my mental game is totally in check at this point.

Go Cubs go!!
 The #1 question I got about my Whole30 at a party on Saturday night was, "Why?". Why am I doing this? Why November? Why not in January? My answers sort of surprised even me. I don't think I'd truly thought too much about the 'why' of it all. Sure, some weight loss and feeling better were benefits, but, really......why?

Why am I doing this?
I want to feel better. I want to learn more about how my body reacts to different things I eat, so I know what causes my bloating, fatigue, and what impacts my ADD symptoms. I want to break some bad habits. It's been over three years since I did my first Whole30, and I've gotten off track with my good eating since then, developing some pretty bad habits in that time. I drink too much too often, and I make poor choices when I am hungry.

Why November?
I've spent the better part of a year now trying to get myself to put my fitness and health first. There is never a "good time". Initially, we didn't have much planned during November. I have mentally prepared myself to do this for a couple of months. We are home more now that it's fall, and I'm able to spend more time cooking and developing better habits regarding what I cook. I knew that by the time Ethel's birthday party weekend (19th) and actual birthday (26th) rolled around, I'd be well into the swing of things, and on my way to the finish line. I am confident that at Thanksgiving, I can handle myself, as well. I know that I can bring a side dish, then I will have turkey and my side, and any veggies or fruit that are there, and I'll be fine. I'm really not intimidated by Thanksgiving this year.

As for the question of why now, why not after the first of the year -
Starting in January seems much harder to me. After the gluttony that surrounds the holidays, it seems that it would take quite a bit more effort to adjust to things like not having my coffee, not having any wine with dinner, and not enjoying some of the treats I might otherwise reach for. I need to reset my mindset. I need to go into the holidays feeling good to start with, not feeling like I'm tired, unable to focus, and run down. With SAD season in full swing, it's also imperative that I keep those negative food influences to a huge minimum. I just felt like if I don't do this now, I know I'll continue on the path I've been on, and will be farther away from my overall fitness and health goals. I want to lose some weight and feel better in my own skin. I've been miserable for way too long.

I'm on day 8, and after a whirlwind weekend, I'm feeling pretty good. Days 6-7 are said to be the days your body wants nothing more than a nap. Well, we just had the fall time change, so mornings are a little easier for the next few days. The evenings and nights are when it's going to be tough. I was ready for bed at 7:30 the other night. After working all day today, tonight should be rather interesting. Today I feel as if I might have lost a little weight. I do see less bloat in my belly, and I do feel "lighter". I feel better. I know it will get worse before it gets better, and I'm just glad that's going to hit during the week rather than on the weekend. I have less access to eating crappy when I'm at work than I do at home.

I really feel that I'll come out better on the other side of this 30 days. It's not rocket science. This isn't an impossible mission. This is a change, one that I needed to make for myself. I am happier waking up not feeling bloated, tired, and unfocused. And now that the World Series is over, I can get back to my normal evening routines and normal bed time!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

It's only 30 days, right?

Halloween has now come and gone and I only ate two pieces of chocolate and a sip of wine. I wasn't able to snap any pictures of the kids in their costumes, a term loosely used this year, and I have no solid excuse. Last year was the first year we didn't go trick or treating as a family. Ethel decided she wanted to go with a friend, and it was the strangest feeling not having her with us. This year she repeated the trend, and we took Fred around our neighborhood. Last year his friends came around and we were able to organize a small posse. This year, he passed one friend and one came to the door later in the evening, but, none to walk the rounds with. We did get to walk with some neighbors and their lovely 16 month old, whom I also did not capture in a picture. Clearly I was off my picture taking game.

I did get this lucky shot of One Eyed Pete. Ethel removed both cats' collars so they could be stray cats for Halloween.

While Ethel, the unicorn, was out with friends, we were out with Fred, the hockey player. He skated around and eventually took a spill and wanted to go home. The magic just wasn't there for us this year, which was fine with me. Ethel, of course, still made candy collecting a sport and duly noted her triumph over Fred in the contest that wasn't a contest. For the first year in recent memory (well, 12 years for us), the weather was wonderful and walking around with the kids was actually pleasant. I did agree to a Butterfinger and some peanuts M&Ms, and a sip of wine from our lovely neighbors. They have learned well from my example, carrying on the "Drink and Treat" tradition that I started when Ethel was a wee one. Well done, neighbor!

Today I embark on my second Whole30. I am not going this one alone, I have two girlfriends along with me for this 30 day ride. We have already exchanged some day one words of encouragement, and we still like each other. We all know what we're in for, and have agreed not to take personally any negativity that any of us may spew between now and November 30th. We are all excited about feeling better, running better, and hopefully dropping a few pounds. 
Can I charge this guy rent?
 What better way to start your day than hearing, "Mommy, why is there a HUGE mosquito on your wall???"? The morning rush is fun enough, why not add a massive bug in the bedroom to the mix?

Despite the large insect in my room, I was able to squeeze out my breakfast and lunch for the day and get them packed. I've fallen for brussels sprouts over the past couple of years. No, it's not chocolate, but, I am not repulsed by them. If that doesn't sell you on trying them, I don't know what will. Anyway, breakfast is a simple combo of sprouts, slaw, red onion, and some diced chicken. Lunch is a Greek salad with tuna. That one I'm super excited to have later on!

I am on day six without coffee. Have you seen me on the news? No, you haven't. There, see? If I can do it, you can do it! I'm adding new focus to hot tea, which I usually enjoy in the winter anyway. The warmer fall we're having is making it a little harder to get into the hot drink spirit, but, I'm managing. Some peppermint tea to start the day is actually a bit refreshing.

My biggest difficulty is around 2:30 in the afternoon when I'm at work. That post-lunch food coma triggers my brain to want to eat everything crunchy and salty that it can find. It's the darndest thing. I've succeeded in beating the beast for the last two or three work days, so I'm pretty sure it's going to be OK. I've got a Larabar to help in case of emergency. Water, water, water.

Don't get used to the pictures or any sort of daily updates. Day one I'm still happy and feel encouraged. My next update may be hateful and angry. You've been warned.