Whole45@45 – Day 26: Cravings, Part 2

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Let’s go back to cravings a little bit, particularly with how it relates to this challenge or a health and wellness goal you might have. I fundamentally believe that food is supposed to be fun and joyful and delicious. We need it to survive and therefore our brains are designed to help us seek out that which is most pleasurable and rewarding about it. All that is well and good, but I also think that our society has created so many foods that are distorted variations of the real thing that it can be confusing to sort through what our bodies actually need to thrive.

Enter into that a whole lot of social conditioning and rituals or traditions and it can be nearly impossible to navigate a path solely based on health. But personally, I don’t believe that we need to. I really believe there is also room for indulgence purely for the sake of pleasure and a deeply felt sense of contentment that comes with enjoying something fully for no other reason than it is delectable.

Bridging these two ideas can be a challenge sometimes because I feel like my old habits strive to override new ways of feeling deeply contented. What we do consistently is more impactful than what we do once in a while so change takes time. The difficulty with things today is that so much is designed to be easy, and as humans we gravitate towards this naturally, but easy doesn’t necessarily mean better. Then once we are on the path of easy, it becomes a habit. If we want to change that habit because we intellectually believe a different way is better for us, that takes work. And work isn’t easy – so we’re back to some pretty significant signaling from the brain.

I committed to 45 days of this challenge not because I think 45 days is a magic number or because 30 isn’t long enough to begin to see some benefit or because 60 days is insane and obsessive. I picked 45 days because I knew that it would be a challenge in some way and I also knew that I’d need some time to really feel a shift in my perspective. The challenging part has come along but I don’t know that the shift in perspective has arrived yet. Even if I felt that it had, I committed to 45 days and need to see what that’s about, if only because I’m curious. And really, this isn’t hard and that isn’t long.

Yesterday I talked briefly about how I am a grown-up with the ability to make my own choices. I don’t have any significant food sensitivities, an auto-immune disease, or anything that might lead me to be 100% strict with my eating. (Knock on wood…) I’m super healthy from the day-to-day perspective and from the doctor’s reports. Even my weight, although I’d like to see a change, is actually a healthy weight for me. So what’s the big deal?

The big deal is that I decided to do this 45 day challenge in order to discover something on the other side. I’m not to the end yet. Frankly, I don’t even know if I’ll have any earth-shattering change or discovery. Maybe I won’t. But that’s the thing – I’m here to find that out, not to assume that I have already gleaned what there is to learn. So these past few days when I’ve been wondering why I wouldn’t just loosen the reins a little bit, the answer is because I’m not finished yet and I don’t know what that looks like.

I also committed to the time and to you and to me. When we make a commitment to ourselves, we owe it to show up and do the work. Our minds know when we give up – this is, by the way, completely different from choosing to go a different way. A few months ago, I tried a more ketogenic approach and ended up moving away from that. The reason was that I could feel it messing with my head in ways that I didn’t like. It wasn’t making me feel more healthy and aligned with my self and was, instead, making me feel unsettled and unwell. So I chose to move away from it. On the other hand, when we give up on a goal that we really believe in just because it gets hard, then we’re telling ourselves that we’re not worth the effort. When in fact, not only are we worth the effort but we are totally capable of working through challenges and overcoming obstacles. Every single one of us is, without a doubt.

Right now I’m feeling healthy and aligned and the pull is to move back to something that doesn’t feel aligned. It really feels like I’m a toddler in a candy store throwing a tantrum and my mind wants to give me the candy so I’ll be quiet but the body is helping me to let it go because there’s something better out there.

So while I fully recognize my right to have a glass of wine, eat the chocolate, settle in with some cheese, I’m choosing not to and I feel better for it. I feel proud, strong, capable, a sense of accomplishment and ownership of my goals. And even though it’s still a little tough, I feel like I see the top of this particular hill and it really isn’t that far away at all.

I’ve already made my decision and now I’m just letting it play out. Thank you again for being there for me as I process this part of the journey. I appreciate you.

Shine bright. xo

So what did I eat today?

Breakfast – 2 eggs, zucchini, salsa, sauerkraut / Bell pepper with avocado

Lunch – Salad with grilled pork chop, beets, onions, avocado / Sweet potato chunk

Snack – Carrot sticks / Cherries

Dinner – Moroccan lamb and cabbage sauté / Melon

All the cravings were gone today. I feel totally balanced and good to go for the next little bit. I feel like I overate at dinner tonight though because I’m sitting here a couple hours later and still feel full. I was hungry and it was really good so I think I just ate more than I needed. Or maybe it was too much cabbage for my system. Not sure. But it’s interesting how this feeling of fullness is becoming uncomfortable to me. Just twenty days ago it was the feeling I was often seeking.

Staring down the end of the first 30 days feels pretty good.

How did I move today?

I didn’t get a full workout in but an abbreviated MetCon happened this morning. I also did yoga and took the dog for a walk. Feeling good.

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Whole45@45 – Day 25: Cravings

This-Too-shall-Pass1Oh. My. Gosh. Stupid cravings. I’m trying not to call them stupid because they are probably signaling something either physical or emotional that I need to deal with, but they feel stupid. Because I don’t want them. And I feel a little cheated that after 25 days of no alcohol, added sugar, or grains, I am still having cravings. I kind of feel like this should be a thing of the past and I should just be happy and thrilled that I’m eating all things that are good for my body. But actually, today and yesterday, I’ve been mostly just wishing I weren’t. I’d like to go get frozen yogurt with my kid and open a bottle of wine tonight. It doesn’t seem like too much to ask. And I’ve had 25 days of really clean eating so you know what I feel? I feel like I deserve a break. And I feel a little like it sucks that I have 20 more days to go before that can happen. And that is making me feel rebellious because I’m a grown up that can choose to eat or drink whatever I want and really, this life, MY life, is about balance and enjoying the small moments that come around every day and if that is a part of how I enjoy life then I should just relax and do it.

Only this. I feel better when I don’t drink and when I’m not crashing from added sugar. I feel better in my body and mind and soul when I’m treating it right. My energy is more stable and my thought processes are clearer and more measured when I’m not on some food induced chemical roller coaster.

So what is happening here? I’m sure it’s a combination of things, many of which I’ll never know for sure, but my best guess is that my brain kind of likes how things were before when I would just follow every little urge down its path and not worry about the outcome. It was easier to not have a goal or something that I want to accomplish. Choosing to eat a certain way, striving to create my healthiest and happiest body, making decisions that are not rooted in instant gratification – all these things can be hard at times and I guess I’m in one of those times.

I’ve got some things on my heart and mind and I don’t have answers for them right now. Personally, that’s a tough space for me to be in because I’m a fairly decisive person. Uncertainty is not my favorite space. In fact, if I don’t know the right thing to do, sometimes I’ll just jump anyway so that at least I’m dealing with a concrete set of circumstances and can put my action oriented self back to work. Just being with what is and not knowing what comes next, or even what I wish to come next, that’s tough for me.

In my experience, cravings and urges are two different things. An urge comes on suddenly, like someone mentions frozen yogurt (my son yesterday) and suddenly something that wasn’t even on my radar looms before me as a giant desire. Or you’re not even hungry but the dessert cart comes along and suddenly you really think that piece of cake is the most amazing thing you’ve ever seen.

Urges tend to pass rather quickly. If you can distract yourself for 15 minutes – go for a walk, meditate, get involved in a craft or project, lose yourself in a conversation or book – the urge will generally move through and you can go on about your day.

Cravings for something specific, however, tend to linger a little longer. Sometimes for days or until the craving has been addressed. You might be craving pizza or cookies or chips, for example, and it goes on for a while. Another characteristic of a craving is it is usually quite specific. It’s not any cookie, it’s a chocolate chip cookie warm from the oven or your grandma’s snickerdoodles. Or maybe it’s BBQ Lays or that one coffee-candy drink you love or something like that. In the case of a true craving, sometimes the best solution is to satisfy that particular craving in the best way you can. This might mean finding the healthiest version that will still satisfy the taste and texture sensation, particularly if you have a food sensitivity, by maybe creating a Paleo version or hunting down a close representation. Or it might mean indulging in exactly what you’re craving but being very aware of how much you eat and how it affects your mind and body and truly savoring the experience.

Sometimes, though, the key to handling the craving is to dig a little deeper and uncover the underlying FEELING that you are trying to satisfy. Because, really, the body isn’t looking for the nutrition found in that chocolate chip cookie – it simply doesn’t need it. It, or your mind, is looking for something else. So what is it?

Sometimes my thoughts get busy and a little obsessive on a topic and what I’m seeking from wine or over-indulgent food is actually a sense of relief and space from my thoughts. I crave numbing out so that I don’t have to face head-on that I don’t have an answer for a particular situation and I also don’t have a next best move. That maybe I’m in a space of waiting and releasing control and allowing life to unfold. In that space of uncertainty, I’m looking to wrest some control back and take charge or to escape the discomfort of not having the answer. The problem with indulging in this way is I turn off my ability to discover and feel and my body doesn’t love what I put in it when I do this.

Or maybe I’m looking for that sense of carefree liberation that I feel when I’ve had a glass or two of wine and am indulging in whatever pleases my senses. It’s a playful state, a celebratory sensation, something that feels totally good and joyful. This release from responsibilities and duties is so relaxing and I believe this state of being can be one of self-care. The trouble with it though is that I sometimes get confused and believe the playful, joyful, relaxed sensations come from the food when in reality they come from the mental place of letting go and fully immersing myself in the moment while releasing the hold that any expectation of how things should be has.

There are a million other feelings that you might be craving that you are confounding with food cravings. What is it that you truly desire and how might you satisfy that feeling? Once you discover this, and satisfy it, if you still want the food then go for it. But maybe, just maybe, you fulfilled your need for love, adventure, connection, relaxation, rebellion, celebration, delight, release, playfulness, or whatever in a way that actually, truly nourished your soul. And maybe, just maybe, it felt infinitely better than a cookie.

Shine bright. xo

So What did I eat today?

Breakfast – 2 eggs, zucchini, 1/4 avocado, sauerkraut

Post-workout lunch: Grilled pork salad with beets, tomatoes, avocado / Sweet potato / Cherries

Snack – Strawberries

Dinner – Grilled tri-tip / Sweet potato / Cantaloupe / 1/4 avocado

I decided to add some sweet potato into my day in case I was needing more carbohydrates. It seemed to help calm the cravings but I also think that this morning’s introspection helped too.

How did I move today?

A lot! Metcon that included lots of push-ups and squat jumps inside burpees plus some heavy bent-over barbell rows.

Tennis with my son – just a few more days of summer vacation left!

And then an hour walking around the track with some friends while he had football practice. I am toast!

Whole45@45 – Day 23

paleo pyramidSometimes when I talk to people about Paleo, they think that I eat totally weird stuff. I mean, maybe I do, but I don’t think it’s the Paleo part of it. I think that’s more because I love unusual flavors and tons of variety. In reality, I feel like I eat mostly the same as everyone else, only minus a few things. So it’s not that Paleo food is so different, it’s just that it gets arranged a little differently than you might expect.

Instead of always having something starchy on the side, those options are a little more limited or we just leave them out entirely. Instead of something with cheese, we eat it without the cheese. Sandwiches? No bread. Okay. I admit that sandwiches are a bit hard because they are so much about the bread, but usually if there’s a sandwich, you can have a salad instead. Or make a salad out of the insides of the sandwich.

The real fundamentals of eating Paleo are this…if it comes from the ground or an animal and not a box or bag, you’re pretty much good to go. Meat? Yes. Fruits and veggies? Yes. Nuts and seeds? Yes. Fats? Mostly, but these are a little trickier.

Then as time goes on and each individual learns more about what suits them, things get added. Maybe rice, maybe lentils or beans, maybe cheese or yogurt. Because you see, Paleo isn’t a prescribed diet, it’s a philosophical way of looking at our current food and lifestyle and asking the question – What does my body need to be its healthiest and feel its best? I’m all about total adherence to the picture above right now as my body finds its rhythm, but in the future maybe dairy will come in a little and maybe lentils because I actually already know that my body tolerates them pretty well. Same thing for rice. And for sure an occasional treat or cocktail.

If you look back at what I’ve been eating, it’s lots of salads, for example, but not because I have to. It’s because I really love them. I eat burgers and shrimp and grilled meat and tons of veggies. I think it’s more about what I don’t eat that worries people. Pasta, lasagna, fried food, pizza, Chinese food, ice cream…it’s true that these are difficult for me to work in because of all the wheat and sugar. But when I really think about it, those foods don’t make me feel my best anyway. They generally make me want to lie down and take a nap – almost immediately. My body totally crashes and feels lethargic and tapped out. But maybe sometimes I’ll eat them, especially ice cream, and maybe I won’t. I’m open to moving forward in whatever way feels best for my body as time goes by.

If you are worried about jumping into a Paleo lifestyle, things have really changed in the past five years. Many restaurants are gluten free or have Paleo options, there are ready-made products at the store and online that can make the transition easier, and so many blogs and cookbooks out there to help you stay motivated. And if it turns out that you feel more energized, balanced, lighter and happier when you eat this way…what have you really got to lose?

Shine bright. xo

What did I eat today?

Breakfast – 2 eggs, zoodles, 1/4 avocado

Pre-workout – A few bites of curry chicken and 1 Lebanese meatball / Cherries

Post-workout lunch – Chili on a bed of slaw, 1/4 avocado / Cherries

Dinner – 1/2 a pork chop with a beet salad / Banana with almond butter

Okay – yesterday I may have said that I was over the fruit thing and mostly I am, except cherries and other summer fruits are not here long and they’re my favorites. I’m not going to miss out on summer’s bounty because I think I would regret it. Maybe the banana with almond butter was a bit of a treat but it felt great.

How did I move today?

First off, yesterday’s workout didn’t happen but sometimes you just need to listen to the body and let it rest.

Today was a MetCon day. I did a 30 minute workout that had me dripping with sweat. It involved hill sprints, weighted walking lunges, plyo lunges, thrusters and burpees. Lots of them. Then I went to yoga in the evening and walked my dog after dinner.

Guess what? It’s raining again right now and I’m outside under my sweet little lights relishing another summer storm. I wish some of you were here with me. It’s pretty awesome. But then I might want a glass of wine so maybe next time.

 

 

Whole45@45 – Day 22

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I had a beautiful day today. I connected with a friend and felt love and loved. Mondays are also when I work with a number of different women and I saw them connect as well and support one another and be there for each other. I was reminded today, and deeply moved, by how our humanness brings us closer together. When we feel safe and are able to be vulnerable, to share the softer, less secure side of our selves, we have the chance to know our own hearts better as well as allow the other person across from us to bridge the gap with their understanding and acceptance. To be seen with the gentlest eyes is such a gift. I wish everyone could experience it. It says you are missing nothing; you are whole and accepted just as you are. When I see this, when I feel this, I breathe and cherish the moment.

I am moving headlong into the second half of this journey. My hunger feels totally manageable now. I’ve always wondered about people who claim that they forget to eat – I can’t imagine how that’s possible. I certainly don’t forget to eat, but there doesn’t seem to be much urgency behind it. I really have to go a long time before I’m ravenous. It’s super interesting to me and I wonder if some of it is the hormonal shift the other way. I guess I’ll find out in a few weeks. Right now, six or seven hours between meals isn’t hard. I also don’t feel like I’m overeating as much as I did in the beginning when I was trying to feel satisfied. Now I eat what looks normal and then I’m done. Fruit also seems to be taking a back seat. In the beginning I either ate, or at least wanted, fruit after every meal and I wanted to snack on it too. I think I was adjusting to the decreased sugar intake. Today, it just doesn’t seem as important. Tomorrow will test all this a little bit because I have a crazy day ahead, but we’ll just see how it goes.

I’m off to work. I hope you feel love today in any of its various beautiful forms. I’m glad you were here.

Shine bright. xo

What did I eat today?

Breakfast – 2 eggs, zucchini, 1/4 avocado, sauerkraut

Lunch – Salad with grilled pork chop, tomatoes, beets, avocado, sweet onion, mustardy vinaigrette

Dinner – Chili on a bed of slaw

Today’s workout?

I’m sending this a little early. I’m planning to get a back workout in, but I’m not sure it will happen. It will depend on what I feel like doing after work. Either way, it’ll be okay today.

 

Whole45@45 – Day 21

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Yesterday was an amazing day! I had the opportunity to take a yoga training class at a studio that feels really special to me. It’s not near where I live so I don’t get to practice there very often, but when they hold a special event, I try to attend. Yesterday’s training was about assists. The concept of assisting someone so that they may more fully enter into the experience they are already having is beautiful to me. It’s not about changing where someone is or “fixing” them in any way because in yoga, as in life, nothing is missing. We already have all that we need inside of us. Sometimes we simply need help remembering.

I love going to trainings and seminars. Learning something new always feels exhilarating to me. It’s probably something that I should try to do more often because it makes me feel connected to myself and the world around me in a different way. Maybe that’s why I’m enjoying this process so much too. Having to reflect and share with you what I’m going through has me looking at my eating and health differently. I have to say, though, I might only blog daily up to 30 days and then slow it down a bit. This level of analysis of my food doesn’t seem all that balanced to me.

But seriously! Already 21 days done? Crazy. I would be entering into the final countdown if it were a Whole30 and I am so glad that I extended it. Honestly, I don’t think I’ll be stopping at 45 days either. I am thinking maybe something like 60. While I don’t believe that living this rigidly around food is how I want to live all the time, it hasn’t really felt that rigid yet. I have really been loving what I’m eating, how it’s fitting into my day, how I feel in my mind and body and everything about this process so I want to go a little bit longer before making a change. I plan to reintroduce foods carefully to see how I feel with each addition and I’m even looking forward to that process too. But we’ll see how it all plays out – I’m only half way done right now so I might change my mind.

The Whole30 Timeline talks about Day 21 being a hard one because food boredom sometimes sets in and people just get tired of the process. I’m wondering if I experienced a little of that on Day 19 when I was craving chocolate and super hungry.

Yesterday I was hardly hungry at all. I’m sure it’s because the body has the ability to balance itself when we feed it the right foods. If we’re constantly bombarding it with hyper-palatable packaged products or tons of sugar and non-foods, then it’s impossible for it to signal that it’s done eating because it keeps seeking out more nutrients. And then today, I just felt normal. I was definitely hungry by lunch, which was a little late, but felt pretty steady all day long. Simply being in rhythm.

Nothing much to talk about today. I’m just really enjoying the weekend, relaxing, doing chores around the house, and right now typing while a storm rolls in. I kind of love it.

So what did I eat today?

Breakfast – 2 eggs, cabbage, 1/4 avocado

Pre-workout snack – 1 Lebanese meatball / A few bites of beet

Lunch – Steak salad

Snack – Carrots and Kombucha

Dinner – Grilled pork chop / Buffalo cauliflower / Cherries

Snack – 2 kiwis / Collagen tea

How did I move today?

Leg day! Yesterday was a big shoulder day.

Also walked the dog today.

Heavenly Spiced Shrimp

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These shrimp. They are so good and I ate them hot and cold and loved them both ways. I don’t always think shrimp are great as leftovers, but I seriously ate these for 3 days straight. They are heavily spiced, but not too spicy, if you get what I mean. Unless you use hot chili powder and then you’ll get a kick. They have a ton of depth and richness to them that brightens up with just a spritz of lemon juice. I ate them plain, in a creamy sauce, on salad, as a snack…they were great to have on hand. If you don’t have access to a grill, you could probably cook them in a cast iron skillet and they’d still be delicious.

I like to use big shrimp for this, but I imagine you could cook a bunch of medium shrimp like this too and they would be easy to toss into salads or omelets or something. Play around with it. I hope you love them too!

Heavenly Spiced Shrimp

1 lb. extra large shrimp, uncooked but peeled with tail on

1 tsp. olive oil

1 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. onion powder

1/2 tsp. paprika

1/2 tsp. chili powder

1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp. salt

Lemon wedge

Directions

  1. Place olive oil and all of the spices in a large bowl.
  2. Add the raw (defrosted and rinsed if they started frozen) shrimp to the bowl and toss thoroughly. Use your hands and rub the spices all over the shrimp.
  3. Let the shrimp marinate in this dry rub for about 15 minutes.
  4. Preheat the grill, including whatever tray or basket you plan to grill the shrimp on. If you prefer to use skewers, then go ahead and skewer your shrimp.
  5. Place the shrimp on the heated tray and close the lid.
  6. Let cook for about 90 seconds, then flip the shrimp.
  7. Close the lid for another 30 seconds, just long enough to grab a plate.
  8. When they are pink and opaque, remove from the grill.
  9. Spritz with a lemon wedge or two and dig in!

Serves 3-4

 

 

 

Whole45@45 – Day 19

tiredIf I had started my Whole30 on Monday, this would be Day 5 and that’s exactly how I feel. I’m totally exhausted and want some chocolate. Bad. Not sure where all that has come from and I sure hope it takes off soon. I’m so, so tired. I took a nap and still don’t feel awake. I have to take my son to football practice this evening and then I imagine I’ll come home and crash. Sounds like a fine Friday night plan to me. I’m such a party animal…

On top of being tired and craving chocolate, I’ve also been hungry. I did have a pretty tough workout this morning so it could just be that I wasn’t able to fuel that properly. Fridays are another of my strange days due to my work schedule so I’ll need to make a better plan for the upcoming weeks.

I’m glad that I’m still feeling committed to this challenge because otherwise it would be a wine and cheese kind of night. But that’s okay. It’s probably good for my brain to have to work through a tough day or two so I remind myself that these are JUST CRAVINGS. They are not actually in control. I still get to choose.

What did I eat today?

Breakfast – 2 eggs with zucchini in leftover curry sauce from last night.

Pre-workout snack – 1/2 an Rx Bar

Post-workout snack/Pre-yoga – 1/2 an Rx Bar

Lunch – Tuna salad with tons of celery, pickles, grapes, mayo, 1/4 avo / Plum / A few bites of curry chicken

Snack – Nuts and dried fruit

Dinner – Curry chicken / Smoothie

Snack – Nuts and fruit

This little trailmix thing I have going on is about to end. I love it and it’s really hard for me to just have a little bit. It’s such an easy snack to take with me, but I know I go overboard and I think I might be using the dried fruit as a sugar crutch. Time to let it go and set myself up with some actual protein and veggies for my snacks.

How did I move today?

Tough chest workout followed by yoga.