Friday, March 31, 2017

Whole30 - Final Stretch - 2 Days Left

It took a LOT of willpower to sit back while my family pigged out on burgers, fries, and cupcakes for my husband's birthday.

I am almost done with my second Whole30 and for all the reasons I started it, I feel great. I feel like I have less stress, less cause for stress, and more control over my body, my mental health and my choices (both with food and otherwise). I wanted to feel like this, and I'm very happy I do. The only thing that makes me anxious is the possibility that when I'm done, I'll immediately go back to my old ways with food (I still crave junk food), which will end up erasing all this progress.

But I have a plan, and I'm feeling confident about it.

Only one indulgence a day (as small as a hershey kiss or as large as a cookie from Barnes n Noble, but only one...everything else I consume on said day has to be healthy and nourishing). Alcohol only on Fridays or Saturdays...even if I have a super stressful Tuesday, that's no excuse to crack open a bottle of wine. Every other meal/snack throughout the week should be nutritional.

I'm not gonna lie, I am very excited to reintroduce indulgences like a pastry or a glass of wine, and I'm feeling strong and confident that I'll be able to keep the indulgences in the parameters of the above plan. I'll also reintroduce sweeteners in my coffee/tea, because I really can't handle a cup of tea without honey or a coffee without a little bit of creamer. They'll be within reason and I think I can manage cravings otherwise even with a lightly sweetened English Breakfast tea at the book store.

Other benefits I've had from this Whole30...I've lost weight and inches. Maybe not as much as I did the last time I did Whole30, but I was breastfeeding then and weighed more when I started, both I think helped contribute to 10 pounds lost...this time it might be about half that much, but I'll report the total when I'm officially done on Monday morning.

It's nice to know I can come back to this "reset" every time I feel out of control. Now if only I could focus as much energy on other areas of my life (writing/jewelry)...I know I can, I just wish it was a consistent thing for, my ideal life would be to have 10 extra hours per day so I could evenly split my time between family, work, writing and jewelry.  But sadly, that's not likely to happen.  If I could commit to allotting my time and making a habit of spending a little bit of my free time every day towards writing and building the jewelry shop, I'd feel accomplished. But it's so difficult to dedicate that kind of time every day. I've come to the conclusion that while my kids are young, I basically have to just stay up later than my husband and the girls, but when 10 PM rolls around and I have to decide between staying up an hour later than everyone to write or going to bed, bed usually wins out.

I'm going to boost my shop up again because it's easier for me to do jewelry related things with distractions than it is for me to write or edit.

Hoping this healthier mindset keeps me motivated and focused!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Past Halfway - Whole30

I feel so much more mentally strong at this point. I'm hardly craving anything at this point...once in a while I get a very brief, very tameable urge for something like a 5th Avenue candy bar or a bite of my kids' cereal, but they are more like muted suggestions now. Like my "sugar dragon" (that's what Whole30 calls it), is now more like a cute little puppy I can easily say no to. I'm starting Day 16 today and I've learned more tricks this time around than I knew back in 2014. For instance, in 2014 I bought Ghee and it grossed me out every time I used it. This time I made clarified butter and it's much more tolerable. I also started following Whole30 on Facebook and set it so their feed shows up first when I go on...which has led me to discover even more helpful tips to get me through this. For instance, they advertised a compliant brand (Primal Kitchen) of mayonnaise and ranch dressing and I found a local grocery store that sells it. They both taste like the regular stuff...well, except the fact that the ranch dressing is WAY better than Kraft. I'm already almost a third of the way through the bottle in just a few days. 

I can tell I've lost a descent amount of weight and inches because my clothes are all looser and my belt is down more than a belt loop. I have steady energy every day and my emotional state is much more stable, which was really my main motivation for doing this. I'm not stressing out over little things as much and I'm able to move on from minor issues quicker. 
In other, unrelated news, my sweet husband got me an Apple Watch (I may have done quite a bit of badgering for it, because it wasn't like I needed it, I just really, really wanted it). My Garmin VivoActive HR was and is awesome, but I love gadgets, and I love Apple products because they offer reliability and functionality and good quality (if you're saying to yourself "I love my Samsung Galaxy, it has always been reliable" then you're either lying to yourself or you're a lucky anomaly). The only thing that has been making me hesitant about purchasing the Apple Watch was the battery life...and I've finally just gotten over it. The Garmin lasts up to 6 days, which is awesome, but the fact that I can download music/use Siri/set reminders/check my email/scroll through Twitter updates/play games/etc. with the Apple Watch finally outweighed my issue with having to charge it every day. I don't use the sleep function on my Garmin never seemed accurate since there were nights I knew I woke up at 2 AM and couldn't fall back to sleep, then looked at my stats the next day and saw it reporting that I slept until 7 AM. I can monitor my sleep quality/quantity without a device. 

There are some limitations with the Watch that I wish were more accessible. For instance, you can really only put music on the Watch itself, so if I want to go for a run sans phone (since there is GPS), I can't listen to a podcast or audiobook, both of which I love listening to while exercising. I found a workaround though. There's a free app called WatchPlayer that lets you find and download single episodes of favorite podcasts, and it also allows file sharing on iTunes so you can drag and drop mp3 audiobooks.  I had a bunch of glitches with it yesterday but today I wiped it and slowly downloaded files (patiently, it takes a while) one by one until I got the latest audiobook I'm listening to on there along with about 7 episodes of podcasts I listen to. I plan to listen throughout the week, then wipe it again next weekend and add fresh stuff. If I get this to work, and can get a good music playlist on there, it's going to be so perfect. Even if I don't, I still love it a lot. 

Now I need to go parent and clean...husband gets back from a Vegas trip in about an hour and I plan to take the girls to see Beauty and the Beast in theaters today. That smell of popcorn is gonna be rough.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Week One Done, and Weekend Two Almost Done...onto Day 9

So there were a few major hurdles....for example, Day 5....but now I'm already into my second week and starting to notice all the major benefits of this program. I haven't had alcohol for 8 nights, for instance...which for me is a big deal. I'm definitely the type who enjoys a glass of wine or a beer with dinner, but I'm also the type that indulges in those more often than I'm proud of.  I wake up feeling guilty the next day because I usually also make other bad decisions after the beer, like eating too many chips, or having a lot of chocolate with that wine. 

My waistline is slimmer, noticeably, after just over one week.  My belt loop is down one notch. My energy level is getting higher (it's not incredible yet, like people on this program sometimes claim, but they're usually a little further in than I am now). To be honest, my energy level was never really the problem in the first place...I still exercised about 6 days a week, which I think contributed to my regular energy level. 

My main issue has been my relationship with food. When I did Whole30 back in 2014, I was better about my food choices for a long time afterward. I made it a point to strive for healthier foods and be more mindful about my eating. But these past several months have been the opposite. I know I should be eating healthier but I'm choosing the worst possible food choices almost in spite of the healthy choices. So that's what I'm really working to fix this time around. It's working, I think, because I see the unhealthy foods and still want them and then redirect my brain to what I can eat and not those unhealthy choices I want to eat. I'm hoping that doing this for another 21 days will help condition my thinking to stop automatically choosing those unhealthy foods and will be a bit better at automatically choosing something healthier. Or at the very least, not eating either and not constantly craving something to consume. 

My skin is feeling clearer, my sleep is like the dead, my mood is improved, and I'm pretty sure I've lost at least a few pounds (but I can't check that until day 31).  Hopefully I'm feeling this positive for the next 21 days! 3 weeks left!

Scallops, mushrooms, green onions, minced garlic and salt/pepper in Olive Oil...yum
While family had pizza and husband drank beer.  
I had a Perrier lemon sparkling water, which was also yummy.

This is a Pamer's Chef ceramic egg microwave your scrambled's awesome.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Almost Done with Day 5 - Whole30 Craving Woes

For most of each day, I'm proud of myself almost all of the time, but there are moments where I get such insane cravings that I feel like I might actually literally lose control and eat a gummy bear or bag of goldfish or my arm sprinkled with sugar. I'm usually not hungry and I'm 90% sure I'm eating just about the same amount of calories as I was before this program, but my body really really wants those processed, sugary, indulgent more damn grilled chicken! 

These cravings, though they're tough and really making me test my willpower, are reminding me that this program is working. There's a conditioning going on in my brain that is resetting the thoughts that tell me: "eat it, you deserve it, you work so hard and it makes you happy, so just do it". With enough days in a row of telling those thoughts "no, find something else to help you unwind and de-stress", I think I'll be able to process stress and emotions with ways that don't involve food or alcohol.  I hope! That's the plan, at least. 

So I swear to god, I was just browsing Google Images for a funny image to plug into this post when I found this:
Clearly the Day 5 cravings are normal

Now it's time for some Whole30 dinner ( least I don't have to cook! That's been half the battle so far for this girl who usually never steps foot in the kitchen for anything other than a "quick snack" from the cupboard or a cup of coffee/wine).

Maybe I'll just go to bed really, really early so I can be on Day 6's gonna get easier, it has to, ha.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Whole30 Round Two!


I started my second round of Whole30 on Saturday. I'm just about done with Day 3 and I'm very happy with my progress so far. Granted, 3 days isn't a huge deal, but when you're going from eating HORRIBLY since the Thanksgiving holiday to consuming no sugar/dairy/legumes/processed foods/alcohol for 3 days in a row, the fact that I'm not crawling in misery to the cupboard for something with chocolate in it is impressive (to me). 

On Day 1, I hadn't yet had a chance to get compliant food so I made do with what was in the house before heading up to Denver to visit a friend and her son with my girls. It would have been easy to just change my start date to Sunday but I had Saturday set in my mind because it was the first full day of my 34th year and also happened to be March 4th, so I stuck to my guns and made egg whites with veggies and olive oil for breakfast and a salad with 2 hard boiled eggs for lunch...I even packed the lunch and snuck my salad into IKEA. I'm most impressed that I made myself get up to make the eggs and get my food ready after a night of drinking more than a bottle of wine and eating WAY more than normal just to really indulge one last time before this second Whole30 journey. 

I'm really happy I'm doing this. I needed to cut back on alcohol, sweets, snacks, unhealthy habits and even though "making healthy choices" was one of my New Year's Resolutions, it was like my mind gave in to every single itty bitty craving almost in spite of my good intentions. This was the perfect time for a Whole30. 

So in other news, I got a bicycle for my birthday (like, I literally went out and bought it for myself on Saturday, after the Denver trip).  Since I'm very wary about riding on the road (I'm convinced a car will hit me), I went for the cheapest possible bike so, in case I don't use it much, I won't feel as bad. It's a Terra (I think) 24"...for girls...haha. Turns out 26" wheels are just a little too intimidating for me and my 5'3" frame. It was only $99 and I wasn't getting my hopes up that it'd work well but I went for an 8 mile ride yesterday and loved it. I went up sidewalks until I got to Sand Creek trail and rode that for a few miles until I found a nice place by a beautiful pond and a bunch of ducks...sat there for a break and a snack (mixed peanuts...and raisins). Then I rode back home and I feel like the bike in combination with the healthier diet has boosted my mood a ton.  I've been in the worst slump of my life these past few months. I finally feel like there's a light at the end of the tunnel. I hope it stays that way.

These are a couple of meals I made so far...I'm not used to cooking so I've been experimenting and am about 2 for 4 on yummy results. I'll only show the meals that turned out good:

Grilled chicken with spices, Whole30 homemade mashed potatoes (with coconut milk, garlic powder, salt and pepper...turned out pretty good)...salad contains olives, cucumber and mixed greens.

All Whole30 compliant "spaghetti & meatballs"...the meatballs are ground turkey with spices and coconut flour and an egg and the "spaghetti" is cauliflower and mushrooms and a jar of spaghetti sauce from Target that's compliant (no sugar/weird preservatives/soy/things like that)

I'm looking forward to the next 27 takes my mind off of my mind. Working from home gives me way too much time to beat myself up about every little thing, so this is a very fulfilling distraction. 

Time to read to the girls before bed!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Jewelry Updates (and a Contest)

I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned it before, but I have a blog for my jewelry shop.  I don't post there as often as I should, but over the past week or two, I've been creating a lot of new stuff so I've been adding photos and details about the new jewelry.

Since I really REALLY like the new rings I've been making (like, a lot), I am running a contest on my other blog.  Here's a link to go check it out:

I've never done a contest before but I thought it might be a good way to boost views on the rings. I just want to believe I'm not crazy for thinking my jewelry is something people would want to wear.  It's like when I'm writing something fictional...I can go back and reread it and think "this is great" but then doubt myself when I get rejections from querying agents and wonder if maybe I just have really sucky taste.

In other areas of my life...I had bloodwork done last week because I've been feeling so off the past couple of months (anxious, not as excited about things as I usually am, feeling just blah most of the time...I'm still able to get myself out for a run most days and make jewelry and write, but I don't really feel the same about any of those things. It's like I feel less happy...and I want to make sure it's nothing medical before I go the mental health route).  The damn doctor never called me this week so I finally gave up and called them. The medical center here at Peterson AFB made me call a nurse line that reads (and generally...borderline rudely, interprets) the results.

I have higher than normal bad cholesterol. So that sucks.  And I had abnormalities in my urinalysis but she can't tell me what. I asked if I should expect a call from the doctor and she said the labs go to the doctor and if they think I need to start any medications, they'll call me, otherwise I won't hear from them at all.

What the fuck?? Sorry for the language, but how frustrating is that?? I may have borderline high cholesterol, but if it isn't high ENOUGH, I won't even get a call?? Disregard the fact that I might want to start changing my diet so the problem doesn't get to the point where I need to start medication, though, right??  Dicks. Military healthcare like this is the worst.  I totally appreciate that it's free, but if it's doing nothing to keep me healthy, then I guess I get what I pay for, right? I'm sure if it were my military husband, he'd have gotten a call right away. But screw the dependents.  Who cares if they're healthy?

Ugh...see what I'm saying? Maybe it is mental health...but I'm also crabby that I have to change my diet. I was already planning to do Whole30 on 3/4 (have I mentioned that? I did, right? See..memory is failing me too).  Now I'm slightly paranoid a diet with a lot of protein and fat isn't such a good idea. I'm still doing it. Cutting out alcohol and eating way more vegetables will benefit me more than worrying about in comparison to my diet now, it'll definitely still be healthier.

I sound like such a gluttonous bum. I swear, I'm not severely overweight, I'm just an emotional eater. And lately, my emotions barely have to fluctuate for my healthy motivation to disappear.

So if you've read all the way to this point, thanks for listening to me vent. Working from home makes it tough to vent to actual people, so this helps a lot.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Catching Up and Stuff

My daughter colored this (she's 6...I'm super impressed!)

I'm eating a small heart of Russel Stoffer's chocolates that I traded a cupcake for with my daughter on Valentine's Day.  I'm also drinking a second glass of wine.  Healthy choices quickly became less desirable when I realized that meant less (to no) chocolate and wine. My mindset isn't on the right track to make healthy choices so I'm scheduling a Whole30 reset starting the day after my birthday.

My first full day of being 34 is on March 4th and I will start 30 days of no wine, (or alcohol of any kind), no chocolate, (or sugar of any kind), and no dairy/legumes/grains/etc, for 30 days.  Basically I can eat meat, nuts, fruits and vegetables. And eggs. I did a Whole30 in 2014 when my second child was less than a year old. I was still breastfeeding then so I got away with snacking a lot more than is typically condoned on the plan, but I still lost a ton of weight and kept it off for a long time.

I'm just in such a slump.  I know I want to eat healthier and be healthier, but then I cave under the tiniest of cravings. I don't want to eat a ton of high calorie, low nutrition meals and snacks, but then one tiny craving and I'm like "why not, I deserve to eat what I want" and all the good motivation goes out the window.

I feel like it's contributing to my poor mental health. I have this daily irking feeling in my gut that won't go away no matter how much I exercise or write or meditate or relax. It's just there all the time. It's slightly muted over the past couple of days but only because I'm forcing myself not to overthink anything. I almost feel like I have PTSD or something but I have no trauma to be post-stressing over (other than the fucking current state of our political climate, which truly gives me daily anxiety).

My doctor suggested anti-anxiety medication but I'm still mulling it over. I've always been a mentally unstable person but it's something I've kind of liked about myself. It makes me feel more unique.

But recently it's different..I have less desire to make myself healthier (mentally, physically, etc.) and that's really not normal for me. I had lab work done today so hopefully it doesn't turn out to be some medical thing.

I'm feeling very ready and excited to do the Whole30 again.  It was really hard the first time but I definitely needed it then. I read somewhere on their website back then that: yes, it's hard, but lots of things are harder. Like childbirth. Or running a marathon. Or moving your family every 3 years to places that are out of your control. Or writing 50,000 words in 30 days.  I can do all of those things, so I can do this. And I need to reset my mindset.

Just over 2 weeks from now. Last time I did it, I started it about 3 days after I decided I wanted to do it. I'm not sure if having extra time is good or bad. I'm afraid that this extra time will use up all my positive "you can do this" vibes before I even start changing my diet.

Here, this makes it super legit: