Friday, January 13, 2017

The taking down of the trees...

This weekend, we will be finally stripping the house of signs of Christmas until it all reappears in November. For the record, we did unplug the lights outside, and we were NOT the last ones on the block to do so this year.

The holidays are always fun around our house with two cats, two kids, two adults, and two Christmas trees. Sounds like a land-locked Noah's Arc, doesn't it? I have to admit that it's better now than it used to be, but finding ornaments on the floor, or hearing a rustling from the other room while you're eating dinner are two things I could do without at the holidays.

One of the cats, to remain unnamed, ahem, but who has only one eye....likes to lick, climb, and play with the trees. The two eyed cat likes to wrestle and fight with the one eyed cat...particularly under the big tree. One might imagine fun and folly to ensue, but what really takes place is branches being dislodged and lights hanging lower and lower as the weeks drag on. And let's not forget those poor tree skirts. How many times do I have to fix the damn tree skirts?!

The fallen...

So this week, two eyed cat has decided that, in preparation for the taking down of the trees, it's time to return to her favorite past time - obsessing over the fish. I think she's trying to prove that she has interests that span beyond tormenting the Christmas trees.
Stalker. Or just dedicated.
Each year, the battle between the cats and the trees has its ups and downs. This year was no different. The cats are always up to the challenge that the trees pose with their sparkly lights, dangling ornaments, and cozy skirts. The trees are undefeated, not falling for the cats and their tricks.

And so, this weekend, it all comes to an end once again.

Dear Cats,
Until next time. We won.
The Trees

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

It's 2017 - now what?

It seems as if the new year's arrival brings about a nice time to make changes and set new goals. It would seem that I should be feeling inspired to set such goals and have a sort of plan for the coming year.

I don't.

I don't have a plan. I guess I'm kind of inspired, but not like "fire under my ass" inspired.

After my Whole30 in November, and my last post-W30 blog post in December, I made the most of the holiday season by enjoying sweet treats, imbibing a bit in the drink, and simply doing my best to make the best choices given the options presented to me in a given situation. In other words, I did not try to restrict my diet, but I did choose the lesser of evils at parties and at work, where food and sweets were abundant.
Happy new year!
I finally weighed myself on Christmas Day with our hostess for that evening, and the number on the scale was lower than I'd seen at any time in 2016. The hostess planned to weigh the next day and see what the Christmas dinner gain was, but I did not, and have not weighed since. I don't have a scale.  I kind of like it this way.

The sinus congestion, head cold, icky makes you feel like junk thing that's become so popular this season made its way to our house between Christmas and New Year's Eve and took me down. Just as I was recovering, BAM, the sinus infection set in. I'm on a 10-day course of an antibiotic that's also given to people with acne to clear up their skin. I now have three pimples on my face. On the up side, my sinuses are crystal clear.

Cold. This is fun?
My running shoes are no longer gathering dust like they did for much of 2016. With one race complete, and two future races paid for, I'm feeling like a runner again. Over the holidays when I was off work or working from home, I was able to get out during the week for some early morning runs and build up some miles prior to the new year. I completed, for the fourth time, the horrible, miserable, awful 5-mile S-No-W Fun Run last weekend. In full disclosure, running in the midwest in January isn't really ever promised to be awesome, but this race seems to attract the best of January midwestern weather, with sub zero wind chills and some wind that never seemed to be a tail wind. The plus sides are that it wasn't snowing, so footing wasn't bad, and it was sunny. The resulting party after the race made it all worth it, though, and just about everyone forgot just about everything by 5PM, for various reasons. Good times. I cannot wait to do this one again next year.

Looking ahead, I have a half marathon in March and a 10-miler in May. I'm working toward doing the Fargo Marathon in May, as long as I register by the end of this month, my self-imposed mental deadline. I'm going to begin training next weekend anyway, because that half falls right on a 13 mile weekend on the training schedule for the full. Gotta get to 13.1 anyway! I would love to get a marathon out of the way by summer and not deal with the post-marathon blues that I get in the fall. At the very least, I'd likely recover from that funk better, should it happen, in May than in October. Stay tuned. So far I'm surviving this winter without my usual S.A.D. crap, so that's a good thing.

Our family survived the holidays pretty well, aside from my sinus infection. Not being on our normal schedule for two solid weeks makes the kids feral by the end, but, all four of us managed to sometimes shower, leave the house a few times, and not get entirely pissed off at each other over the two weeks the kids were off school. I'm putting a check mark in the W column.

I'm hoping for a repeat Whole30 in February or maybe March. I am planning to get myself to do some cross training and lose this spare tire and gain some strength so I can break 4 hours in a marathon this year. I thought laughing at myself was good for that. It's not. Turns out, wine also doesn't do as much good as an hour in the gym like those articles all claim.

In all honesty, I'm hoping to make it through each day without causing my children to seek shelter with another family. I strive to make sure they don't tell people at school I if didn't make dinner and sound like it's a habit. Let's be real. Family first.

Do you do resolutions? Do you set goals at the new year? Enlighten me. Should I start?

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Finding that comfort zone

I do not want to eat outside of the parameters of Whole30. I almost don't know what to do when faced with foods that are not W30 compliant. I continue to plan meals and snacks that are compliant and really don't want to stray. I have found comfort in knowing what's in the food I make, serve, and eat. There's comfort in knowing that what I'm eating won't leave me bloated or feeling badly. There's comfort in knowing that I'll wake up refreshed. It's a good feeling.

We had our annual wine and cheese party on Saturday night. I enjoyed some wine and a spritzer I made, as well as some cheeses and other snacks. I did not sit down with a plate full and gorge myself, I was very much in control of what I was taking in. Being hostess helped, too, because I didn't really have ample time to eat. I did eat lunch that day, just an Italian beef, no bun, so I was not starved and craving snacks.

Sunday was clean up day after a very late night, and I admit that I had some leftover taco dip and some cheeses with crackers. When you're too tired and lazy to cook, that's what happens. Plus, I'm a sucker for a good goat or sheep milk cheese. And brie. With apples. See, it was sort of healthy!

Today I was super tired, but I still made myself eggs and veggies for breakfast. I have bacon, but didn't have the energy to make it this morning. Tomorrow. Yes.

Aside from adding bacon, I don't really see myself changing my breakfast and lunch choices. I'm pretty happy eating as clean as I have been, and I like the way I feel when I do so. As drastic as it sounds, even my coffee hasn't been as satisfying as I thought it would be! After a cup or two in the morning, I'm fine, then I'm looking for my hot tea. I'm not going to argue, I'm going to enjoy it.

This weekend I may try to reintroduce another food/ingredient, but I will have to identify that in a couple of days. For now, I want to continue my focus on maintaining the good feeling of healthy eating. I'm also increasing my water intake this week. A few glasses of wine over the weekend and now I can't get enough water!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Whole30: Reintroduction

Let me just say that after 30 days without coffee, I was a super happy camper yesterday morning hearing my coffee maker brewing when I came down to the kitchen. Let me also say that I don't think my feet touched the ground for most of yesterday after enjoying that delicious coffee. Within 20 minutes of those first few sips, I could feel the caffeine coursing through my veins. And I probably could have cleaned my entire house before leaving for work. But I didn't.

That first cup was wonderful, although I admit that it did taste different than I expected, and different than it did in October. Clearly, my tastes changed in the absence of my creamer and sugars in general. Looking back, I used to have a splash of coffee with my creamer, which is part of what led me to cut the coffee out in the first place.

Luckily, I was able to fall asleep without any issue last night. The buzz from the coffee started to subside in the late afternoon, and by late evening I was fine. I am having coffee again this morning and feel OK, but I am definitely jazzed again like yesterday.

I had some smoked sausage last night with W30 compliant French's mustard, and I felt OK this morning. No refulx or stomach issue, no wonky feeling. I'm on to day two post-Whole30, and not adding anything until this evening, when I may try a glass of wine. I must eat tomorrow, as the wine and cheese party is tomorrow night and I CAN'T not eat. I'm going shopping during lunch to get a start on the weekend grocery shopping, and get some stuff for tomorrow that is easy to prepare amidst cleaning and prepping for the party.

Note to self: November seemed like a great time for this W30, but, in the end, the reintroduction is proving more difficult than the month of restriction.

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.