Whole45@45 – Day 3

compass

“Fear is not your enemy. It is a compass pointing you to the areas where you need to grow.” – Steve Pavina

I came across this quote today and it stopped me. I shared it in yoga. I felt compelled to share it here. But I can’t exactly explain why it resonated so much with me. I’m wondering if I just needed to hear it, or maybe someone else needed to hear it. Or perhaps I’m denying just how relevant it is to me right now because that’s sometimes hard to face.

I tend to be a sporadic blogger and I really don’t mean to be. I think consistency is considerably better. But I also have a really private side to me and putting things out here isn’t always the easiest to do, so I look for ways to share information or recipes or something of value, while not wanting to entirely open up. What if I say something ridiculous? Wrong? Boring? Negative? Sometimes what I want to say is more, deeper, heavier, more truthful, more vulnerable – and then I don’t. It occurred to me, though, that the most impactful thing I can do is share from the heart because there is always more information or knowledge to be found elsewhere. Here, I’m just sharing me and what I’ve experienced or come across. With a couple days of blogging done, I started worrying. Thank you for the comments, private messages, and support I’ve received – you keep me going.

I want to say a thing about carbs. There’s a lot of stuff floating around about low carb, keto, no carb etc. Each person gets to make their own decisions about what works best for their bodies. I found that keto didn’t make me feel my best so I’ve shifted back to a more traditional Paleo way of eating. In the past I’ve generally tended to keep my carbs a bit lower, maybe having a starchy carb at lunch or dinner only. This week, however, I’ve been having plantains or sweet potatoes at meals and or snacks more frequently because I know that my mind will be looking for the carbs as I transition into eating cleaner. What I don’t want is to be fighting my mind over bread or sweets so I’m using this week to test how it feels to take in a few more carbs but from sources that support my health. Depending on how I feel, I may keep the extra carbs or not. I need to see how I feel with my workouts and the regular day to day, as well as cravings and mood swings, which I haven’t had any of so far. According to the Whole30 Timeline, Days 4-5 are moody and angry days. If a little sweet potato helps stabilize those hormones then I’m in!

I’m still not feeling 100% after eating today but I don’t think it qualifies as full-blown carb flu or anything like that. I just feel bloated. Kind of like my gut biome is adjusting to the change and hasn’t fully transitioned yet. It’s still early though. And I took a nap. Just 15 minutes, but it felt so incredibly luxurious to rest a few moments. I will be curious to see if the nap goes away with steady energy throughout the day or if it stays. Naps are so good! And I work at 5am and then again in the evening so it helps keep me feeling fresh. But really, no excuse is necessary. Entire countries take naps and I think we really should too. Sleep is so important and we are often short on it.

Food Scene

Breakfast – 2 eggs with sautéed cabbage, avocado, kraut, plantain

Lunch – Barbacoa salad with tons of veggies and vinegar and oil, a chunk of sweet potato (like 1/3 of a cup), kiwi

Snack – Cherries, couple bites of turkey and spaghetti squash casserole

Dinner – I work at 5:30 so this is a weird day for me. I usually eat more during the day or dinner at 4:45 because I don’t like to eat right before bed. I’ll probably have some spaghetti squash casserole and call it good.

Exercise

I thought I’d add a little bit about my exercise so that I can see how my eating is affecting it or how the exercise is affecting my eating. The last two days were HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts that definitely kicked my butt.

Today…yoga. Probably a walk with the dog in the evening. It’s 100 degrees right now so my dog doesn’t think we should go out. 😉

Shine bright. xo

 

Whole45@45 – Day 2

San IsabelSometimes things come along that are unexpected and if I let my “needs-to-have-a-plan” side get in the way, I forget to live life to the fullest. A girlfriend of mine went camping not too far away and asked if I could come up for the evening (couldn’t stay more because I work in the morning). I said yes and then proceeded to have a bunch of thoughts about how my day was really busy and we wouldn’t have much time and I didn’t want to get home late because I work at 5am, etc. But I silenced those thoughts and just went. It was a really lovely evening and I have been wanting so badly to get into the trees and have a campfire and it just hadn’t happened yet. I am so grateful.

This friend is also one that I typically enjoy drinking wine with. So here I was on Day 2 being faced with an evening around a campfire, which is typically not the healthiest place. But really, isn’t it about the company and the experience? I do know this, but “the experience” has also been tied to cocktails in the past. Habits are funny that way – once they form they can become deeply rooted. But instead, I took a bunch of La Croix bubbly waters, which I love, grabbed a bag of snap peas out of the fridge, made a quick tomato/basil/sweet onion salad and headed out. It was wonderful! Spontaneous, special, easy, and zero cravings or regrets.

I think it’s really important to remember that life is about experiences and connection with those around us. If I had hesitated and let my schedule or normal mid-week patterns dictate what I did, I wouldn’t have had such a gorgeous evening fishing, chatting, and sitting by the fire. I’m so glad that I said Yes!

Before I go, somebody asked me to keep posting about what I eat so I’m definitely going to do that. If you have anything you’d like me to talk about or any questions, please post them in the comments and I’m super happy to tackle anything!

Breakfast – Eggs, zucchini, avocado, 1/2 a plantain, sauerkraut (Bubbies brand is so good and full of live cultures and probiotics!)

Pre-workout snack – HB egg + blackberries

Lunch – Big salad again with some Cuban meatballs, lettuce, tomatoes, bell pepper, avocado, mango, and a creamy garlic dressing. Sometimes I have some strange combinations because I really just open the fridge and decide what might taste good. The addition of mango today was delicious! Plus a chunk of sweet potato.

Snack – 1 last meatball, a couple ounces of chicken, cherries

Dinner – Brat, tomato salad, and a ton of snap peas

I felt pretty hungry today and then would eat and would be almost too full. I think it’s actually the shift in the foods that I’m eating, including exponentially more fiber than I was getting these past few weeks. Sometimes I’ve been a bit uncomfortable, but I’m sure that’ll wear off in a week or so. Maybe even sooner.

So there’s my day. I’ll be back tomorrow. Shine bright! xo

Whole45@45 – Day 1

A single step

Day 1 of any challenge tends to be an easy one because you have all of the enthusiasm and mental energy behind getting started. I like to use the early days, like yesterday and today, to make sure that I’m prepared for any surprises that might come up as the week goes on.

For example, yesterday I made sure that I had some protein cooked and available, like some barbacoa that I made the other day in the slow cooker, some hard boiled eggs, a few roasted sweet potatoes, and some roasted veggies. I also went to the store and stocked up on snap peas and fruit so that I have something to grab if I need it. I always make sure to have some leafy greens on hand like washed kale or spinach to throw into eggs in the morning as well as some premade slaw. These are the basics for me.

I got a good workout in this morning but I felt so sluggish it was really frustrating. I had to actively use positive self-talk to work through it, reminding myself that it was temporary, that I knew I could finish it, that I would feel better when it was done, etc. Coming off too much wine and sugar makes it really hard to feel great in the gym, plus when I’m carrying more weight, it is actually just harder. I tried not to beat myself up too much; I know that I’ll feel better and more energized in a few weeks. Berating myself for decisions that have already been made is totally useless so I just got on with the job and made sure that I took a few extra breaks to catch my breath and I let that be okay.

Here’s a quick snapshot of what I’ve eaten today: Breakfast – 2 eggs with spinach, 1/2 plantain, 1/4 avocado, sauerkraut; Lunch – Big salad with barbacoa, 1/4 avocado, tons of veggies, a little mayo/lime/chili powder dressing; Snack – Cherries; Dinner will be – Chicken and spinach spaghetti squash casserole.

I haven’t felt hungry at all today. My first thought when I woke up this morning, though, was that 45 days is going to be so long! But one day at a time, right? I’ve got to start somewhere and I know that I will feel much better soon. Anyone else start today?

Remember to stay positive and focus on what you’re adding to your day, rather than what you perceive you are taking away. Perception is key!

Shine bright. XO

My Whole45@45

let adventure begin

I turned 45 last week. For some reason it felt even more momentous than turning 40. I’m not really bothered by age, exactly. I don’t get sad or upset by it, but I have noticed that a very distinct aging process began after turning 40. My recovery slowed, injuries were a little more worrisome, wrinkles appeared, gray hair. None of this is awful and it’s all how it’s supposed to be, but at the same time, I came so late to the healthy, fit, active lifestyle that I have that I really don’t want to lose it.

On top of that, for the past year or so, I have been really inconsistent with my healthy habits and it’s taken a toll. Lately, especially, things got a little crazy and I basically ignored all signs from my body and just let go. We were in CA for some emotional family business and then had company for a week or so and I’ve just been living like it didn’t matter. Only it does. And I feel it.

I decided that a great way to usher in this new year for me would be to do a Whole45. It will get me refocused on the healthy food choices that make me feel energized and vibrant and amazing, while also reminding me how capable I am of making a change. I often think about one of the adages of the official Whole30 – This is NOT hard. Eating delicious, whole foods that fuel my body and mind is actually easy. Really. True, getting over some hurdles that my brain throws at me because it really likes sugar and an evening cocktail or two might present some challenges, but I need to get over that.

The other reason that I decided to do this is because one of my friends was recently diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that might benefit from following a less inflammatory diet and I told her about Paleo. I am doing this, and blogging about it in, support of her.

I honestly don’t know if I’ll have anything new or revelatory to share with all of you out there and if it frustrates you to have blog posts without recipes, then I apologize in advance. In my experience, though, even when I know something, sometimes someone will remind me of it at just the right moment, and it helps me shift. That’s my goal here. I plan to share what’s going on with me through this journey, a little about what I’m eating and how I’m feeling, as well as anything that comes up along the way. Hopefully it will resonate with a few of you or maybe you’ll hear something that inspires you to do something for your own well-being.

If you do feel inspired to do a Whole30 or 45 or whatever, or make your own shift according to what works best for your body, then please share! Be a part of this, feel free to comment, ask questions, talk about your own experiences, all of that. I would love it!

I can’t wait to have you along for this adventure – because that’s really what this is. It’s life…one day at a time, learning and experiencing and connecting with those around us. Here’s to recommitting to health in order to live our best lives! Shine bright!

Ditching the Old Ball and Chain (my scale, that is…)

scales-ball-and-chain

I’m a total scale addict and it’s time I let it go. The true confession is that I get on it all the time but I actually could probably tell you how much I weigh at any given moment. In fact, I sort of guess before getting on and it is confirmed more times than not. I also know that it fluctuates based on fluid levels, time of day, hormonal shifts, and other things. I don’t feel crazy about it…exactly. It’s sort of like a scientific experiment and most of the time it doesn’t affect my mental state. But then sometimes it does.

Lately, I feel like it’s having a negative impact on how I view my body and, therefore, my value and self-worth. (If I could put giant arrows with blinking neon pointing at that last statement, I would. This is where my real work needs to happen. So know that the arrows are there and that we – all of you amazing people out there and I – will be embarking on a bit of a journey to explore this.) I haven’t been crying over it or really even changing my behaviors based on the number, but I am absolutely internalizing it and I hear and feel the self-recrimination based on the number.

The reality is that over the past year I have seen some changes in my body and muscle growth that I like. Some of that will definitely show up in the numbers on the scale. But I’ve also not had my best eating habits, and that shows up too. The scale is just a number, just a record of what is happening with my body. I totally get this and hope that others out there understand that too. It’s a measure of gravitational pull – NOT value as a person or worthiness of love or a determinant of my ability to succeed. All true. Except…I feel something is off.

I’m going to listen to that intuition and get rid of the scale. I need to spend some time learning how to love and appreciate myself just as I am. This doesn’t mean that I don’t still have some body composition and nutritional goals that I want to work on. On the contrary. I’m actually feeling very excited about the aspect of exploring those things without being tied to their numerical representation.

I want to FEEL amazing. And I also want to look good. I nearly apologized for the shallowness of that desire. I am working hard lately to accept myself as I am and it’s funny to me where the insecurities show up. I feel extremely insecure admitting that I want to look attractive, according to my own aesthetic. I feel like I should be ashamed of that but I’m just going to leave it out there in honor of vulnerability and self-acceptance.

As I’ve thought more about self-acceptance lately, I’ve realized that I harbor a lot of judgment around the desire to be physically attractive and I’m not entirely sure why. I feel like I should only love my body for all that it is capable of regardless of how it looks. I DO truly love the FEELING of energy and freedom that comes from fueling my body right. The by-product is how my jeans fit. I honestly seek both and I’ve realized that at certain weights, I don’t feel right in my skin.

Now…that’s always been tied to a number. My question is, “How do I feel when I don’t know what that number is?” Because it really doesn’t matter. It’s just a number. So what if I focus on truly taking care of my body, mind, and soul? Then what? If I look and feel strong and confident and vibrant and sexy but I’m 10 lbs. heavier than I’d “like” to be – what does it matter?

And that’s what I want. Strong. Confident. Vibrant. Sexy. Luminous. Alive. Bold. True.

None of those are determined by a number on a scale.

So it will be gone this Saturday. I’m starting the Whole Life Challenge which looks at paying attention to a variety of lifestyle factors – Food, yes, but also Sleep, Hydration, Movement, Mobility, Lifestyle, and Awareness. I’ve never done it before and I’m excited. I like having a challenge to work on to help focus my attention and I am super-excited to see how the challenge impacts other, less quantifiable, aspects of my life. That’s why I’m getting rid of the scale. I am eager to embrace more intuition in my eating/movement/rest patterns and get a little better at listening to my body and following its lead.

Honestly, I don’t give my body enough credit. When I’m mad at the number on the scale or the fact that my pants fit a little tighter or that my tummy is squishier than I’d like it to be, I’m really doing it a disservice. I am so lucky and seriously, deeply grateful at the many gifts it gives me. I can hike for hours and exercise with an intensity that feels good to me. It cooks for my family and friends, does yoga, walks for miles and dances (on occasion) for hours. It’s run three 1/2 marathons, sleeps soundly, and knows how to laugh until I cry. And it adores a good cuddle. So I’m not complaining. In fact, it’s all of those things that I want more of and I don’t want my love for them muddied up by decades of internal dialog that make me doubt it.

I’ll leave it at that. If you have experience ditching the scale or working through body image and self-worth issues, please comment and let me know where you are in your journey. And if you are in the thick of it, know that I am sending you all kinds of love.

But is it YOU? – Keto update

be-youKeto lasted two and a half weeks for me. I got into ketosis, I was feeling okay, but it just wasn’t sitting right with me. I found myself looking at a bell pepper and wanting to eat it while thinking that I should be looking for some bacon or something fatty instead. If you know me at all, you know that’s a little bit crazy.

It’s not that I don’t like bacon – I do! But I love my veggies even more. If I don’t have enough of them, I begin to get antsy. The official “rules” of a ketogenic diet say that you can eat as much as you want/need of non-starchy vegetables, but I couldn’t get my head around that. With the amount of veggies that I feel good eating, I was popping out of ketosis quickly because I go over 20g of carbs really fast.

It wasn’t all bad, though. Often I felt really indulgent because fat is delicious and I would load up veggies with grassfed butter or pastured animal fats, and I would add extra avocado or a slice of bacon to things, which was fun. And, actually, this is something that I can totally do following a Paleo eating style too. It just felt more deliberate rather than natural.

Probably my favorite thing about trying this style of eating was that my cravings for junk food were completely replaced by cravings for vegetables. I wasn’t dreaming of bagels or bags of chips, I was completely fixated on giant salads with as many different veggies as I could put in or grabbing a handful (or two) of cherry tomatoes.

In the end, it became kind of an obsession and it didn’t feel healthy for me. And  honestly I didn’t feel any more energetic or clear than I do when I’m sticking to Paleo. I’m not saying that keto is bad – I’m just saying it’s not for me. And finding what works for you is key.

Want to know the first thing I ate when I decided that returning to Paleo was a better fit for me? A giant salad with chicken and celery and dried fruit with a creamy curry dressing. I settled right in to it and I felt more in line with my own principles.

Food inspires me. One of my great pleasures is sitting down with a new cookbook – or any number of the ones I have and love already – and flipping through to find fun things to cook and eat. When I was meal planning, I actually got discouraged because there were so many recipes that looked delicious but that I was skipping because they had too many carbs or some fruit or butternut squash or sweet potatoes or carrots or celery. Feeling sad when I’m meal planning is definitely not me!

I believe our bodies need more veggies, not less. I also believe my muscles need ample protein and I never quite knew if I was going over (which impacts ketosis) or not. Making the switch back to Paleo didn’t feel like I was slipping back into old, bad habits either because I am not chowing down on things I know that my body doesn’t like. It did feel like my body gave a big sigh of relief, though, when I had a handful of blueberries after lunch.

So that’s where I am right now. I’m deeply focused on giving my body, mind and soul what it needs to feel nourished and cared for. I’m about feeling a sense of clarity in my goals and delight in my choices. I’m about slowing down a little bit and loving the journey towards greater health for what it is. A journey. One that may be filled with missteps, experimentation, big wins and back tracking, excitement, and most importantly love for life and joy in the process. That also means healthy choices. It’s not a free-for-all at the buffet but truly tuning in to what makes me feel my best.

Every day is a new adventure and an opportunity for growth so don’t be discouraged if you try something and it doesn’t work for you! Just take a deep breath and decide what it is you want to change. Ask yourself, what worked for me today? What do I want to do differently? And never, ever leave out YOU.

Sometimes It’s Hard

126895-don-t-give-up

Yesterday I was thinking about how easy this has been. No cravings, things are going well, my energy finally picked back up; the only thing I was a little frustrated with is that I’m not seeing the weight loss that I was anticipating. I was okay with that. Sort of. Bodies respond differently to things, it can take time, it’s really only been two weeks, what was I expecting? So some frustration, but overall still going strong.

Then I woke up this morning and my hardest day showed up. All of a sudden, I was having cravings galore and nothing seemed to satisfy my hunger. Eating this way is supposed to take care of all those things, but I haven’t experienced that yet. In fact, it’s been the opposite. I’m not craving sweet things, but I just can’t seem to feel satisfied. I don’t think that means keto doesn’t work, but rather that I have to continue on until my body settles down. It’s only been twelve days and when you’re talking about healthy habits and weight loss, twelve days is hardly considered a consistent pattern of eating. The funny thing was that I also recently saw the Whole30 Timeline again and it has these few days as being the hardest because our minds want to return to the old way. Consistency is important when beginning a new habit so I am definitely not giving up!

Now that evening is here, most of the cravings and concerns have dissipated, which is a relief.

As for today, here are a few things that I did to help work through everything:

  1. I meditated early on. I also focused my meditation on accepting the feelings that I was having instead of letting them overrun me and my actions. Once I acknowledged that I was having all kinds of cravings and that it was really frustrating, I just let it go.
  2. I had a good breakfast with all the right foods. Super important to set the tone for the day.
  3. I ate, probably too much, but I stuck to the foods that are a part of my goals. Even though eating throughout the day and snacking are not how I want to be on a regular basis, it was what I needed to do today. Staying away from carbs right now is more important than eating too much on this day.
  4. I reached out for help. There’s a Facebook group that I am part of that focuses on Paleo and Keto. I put out there that I was struggling and got a lot of support.
  5. I reconnected to why I am doing this…I want to feel amazing and I believe that this way of eating might give me that energy and ease.

It’s important to realize that some days are harder than others. Sometimes there will be setbacks. And sometimes, like today, we might be filled with doubt about our decision to focus on a particular habit. If it’s early on in the process, that’s really the time to dig in and keep moving forward. More than likely, the shift is just on the other side of the hard days. Given that, I’m looking forward to tomorrow!