Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Whole30 Days 2 and 3

The crankiness is setting in just a smidge. Or maybe that's just my brain telling me to take advantage of it while I have an "excuse."

Drinking iced tea instead of coffee in the morning. I tried hot green tea, but it was nasty without honey or sugar. I'm fine with unsweet tea -- that's all I've had for years -- so it's a little bit of caffeine to keep the headaches at bay.

I've tried some fun new recipes, mostly from Well Fed by Melissa Joulwan. Last night was Pad Thai. I took a picture but apparently it didn't look very appetizing, so I'll use Melissa's instead. That way you can get the recipe, too.
Melissa's pic. Mine tasted great, but I'm no food stylist!
Tonight was an easy frittata, because I thought I would be leaving the house tonight. I planned an easy meal with beef I'd already cooked earlier this week. It turned out good, too.

Basic recipe from It Starts With Food.
I just grabbed some frozen California blend, nuked it for a couple of minutes, cut it into smaller pieces and threw it in the pan with the pre-cooked meat, chopped onions, and some coconut oil. I used about 10 eggs, whisked with salt and pepper, and  poured it over the meat and veggies. 15 minutes in the oven and it was done. I'll make this again with whatever ingredients I have around. It would be great with sausage.

I've definitely not been hungry so far. What I'm not doing as well with is the recommendation that you don't snack (much) between meals. The point is to satisfy yourself with good food at each meal, reducing the need for snacks. I also don't eat breakfast as early as I should -- within one hour of waking. It's so out of my habit that I have to really force myself to eat breakfast sooner. That probably contributes to the desire to snack, actually. So I'll keep working on it.

I AM doing better about going to bed earlier. I've had 8 hours the last two nights and I'm headed to bed shortly. It's amazing the difference that makes in how I feel overall.

Wish me luck with the three day weekend coming up. It's going to be really hard not to want the wine while hanging at the pool!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Whole30 - Day 1

Day 1 is done and I'd call it a success. No coffee, but I survived.
Breakfast: 2 eggs scrambled with turkey and spinach, couple of strawberries and handful of raspberries
Lunch: Paleo chicken salad
Dinner: Smoked pork loin with zucchini noodles, and a couple slices of bacon as they came off the grill
Throughout the day: 2-3 raspberries at a time (I'm addicted), a small handful of almonds, unsweet tea.

We just got back from walking the dogs, and even that little bit made my knee twinge. I'm not supposed to ramp up the exercise this week, but I'm going to do something each day to try to get some strength back in this leg.

All in all, a successful day 1. I wasn't TOO cranky (it was Monday, after all) but I am going to bed shortly -- about an hour earlier than usual for me. That's one of the goals - to listen more to my body for waking and sleeping. Right now it's telling me to go to bed!

Whole30(r) -- The beginning

I've mentioned the Whole30 Program I'm starting today. The creators of the program explain it way better than I ever could over on their site. I got Dallas and Melissa's book, It Starts With Food, and devoured it in two days. (See what I did there? Ha.) They give the science behind their philosophy, which is very much Paleo, with a little bit of other stuff thrown in. The Whole30 Program is basically a "reset" of your system -- designed to heal, "restore metabolism, and end unhealthy cravings, habits and relationships with food." Reading their research and experiences further convinced me that Paleo is right for us, and now I know a bit more about why.

Here are the rules, and they are non-negotiable for these 30 days:
YES: Eat foods that make you more healthy (what the first half of the book was about) - meat, seafood, eggs, lots of vegetables, some fruit, healthy fats.

NO: Do not consume any added sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, or dairy.

NO: Do not attempt to recreate junk foods or desserts by using "approved" ingredients.

NO: Do not step on the scale for the entirety of the program.

Guess which one of these I'm dreading the most? Not that one. The LAST one -- no scale? What? Why??

I am doing a quick before picture today (I forgot yesterday). But I was so glad they explained that last rule. This is from the ISWF book:
  The Whole30 isn't just another weight-loss diet. The program is designed to jump-start optimal health for the rest of your life....get off the scale altogether for the first thirty days because scale weight tells you almost nothing about your overall health -- and is one of the fastest ways to lose motivation....

They go on to say that most people do lose during the thirty -- so for me, I'm reminding myself that at my current rate, over four weeks, at most I'd lose 4 pounds. I'm not changing that much over what I've been doing for 4 months, but I've never done a true Paleo start. The big item for me:
  • No coffee, because I won't drink it black, and no Splenda or creamer is allowed.
I'll wait a moment while those of you who know me process that.

Yep, as of yesterday, my morning coffee is gone. I don't drink soda, so that is really the only artificial sweetener I ever have, and I don't like what I'm hearing about the effects. Whether true or not, any one food/drink that has that much control over me can't be a good thing.

For anyone who is reading this thinking I'm crazy, that's okay. I probably am in some areas. I'm not going to debate the merits of grains/legumes/veganism/whatever with anyone over this. Neither of us will enjoy it and neither of us will change our minds. What I've figured out in the last 4 months, and expect to confirm without a doubt over the next 30 days, is that I'm not eliminating foods from my diet on a whim. There's a reason, and I want to see how I feel at the end of this. Sleeping through the night, clearer skin, no digestive issues -- all those are legitimate expectations I have. I don't want to have another birthday where I regret wasting another year being overweight, counting calories, or living any way I just don't want to live.

And it's not like I'm suffering:

Ginger-Lime Grilled Shrimp and Scallops, mashed cauliflower "potatoes," and avocado.
So no weigh-ins on Tuesday for a few weeks. I've updated my numbers to reflect as of this morning, and I'll get some pictures ready for a reveal. Instead, I'm going to have food pics and notes on how I'm feeling as I do this. It could be a smorgasboard of moodiness!

Tonight, it's grilled pork loin with zucchini noodles and almond green beans. Come back to hear how it's going. How do you feel when you start something new?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Menu Planning. With a purpose.

I really am not good at meal planning. I thought I was, but I've spent about 4 days thinking before going shopping and looking through recipes and trying to figure out what I could buy that I'd cook before I had to freeze it, blah blah blah...

Anyway, it took me FORever to get to an actual menu. This should not be that hard, but I have a new respect for all those bloggers who put together menus and shopping lists for their readers.

This is not that blog.

I said a couple of days ago that I'm getting ready for a "Whole30" experience. That's what is all about -- for the next 30 days I'll be strictly meat, veggies, and fruit (Paleo). I know my success will be based on a lot of planning, and very little wiggle room in what I have around the house to eat. I'm technically not starting until Monday, but today was shopping day, so cooking started today.

In planning what to cook when, I was trying to consider the fresh meat and veggies I just bought -- I really hate freezing meat for two days just because I'm not sure I can use it before it's past prime! When that meat is grass-fed beef, I want to use it as best I can so the menu plan becomes really important. I think I did an okay job, as long as I don't start adlibbing as the week continues.

Saturday (today) -- grilled chicken, for dinner and as a cook-up; will use in chicken salad for lunches, and in chicken Pad Thai later this week.

Sunday - Ginger-lime shrimp and scallops on the grill, with almond green beans and mashed cauliflower

Monday - grilled pork loin, for dinner and for stir fry later, with zucchini noodles

Tuesday - chicken Pad Thai

Wednesday - Frittata with ground beef

Thursday - Pork fried rice (cauliflower rice) using the pork loin

Friday - Salmon L'Afrique with butternut squash and roasted carrots

Saturday - meatza!

I've GOT to make sauteed kale soon -- I just haven't figured it into the schedule yet. I'm not letting another batch go bad before I cook it!

Lunches will be chicken salad, possibly tuna salad, and chicken soup I'm making midweek. I've got several sauces to make on Sunday to get ready for the week.

I love when my fridge looks like this!

Now I just have to stick to it and start the Whole30 off right.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Week 33 Scorecard. And other stuff.

I'm back! We had a great time at the beach and would have loved to stay longer.

The seagull misses us.
We had amazing food while there -- every family was in charge of one dinner, picking the menu and cooking it. We had a shrimp boil - potatoes, corn, sausage, and shrimp boiled together. Seriously yum. [Only half Paleo - didn't care.] Next night we had "Juicy Lucy" burgers. Apparently Tony watches Guy Fieri's Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives and got inspired. It's a bit of hamburger meat wrapped around a chunk of cheese (Velveeta, no less), then that's stuffed inside a 1/3 pound or so of hamburger and formed into a patty. When you bite into it, cheese runs out. Yes, I'm serious. In consideration of a few of us, he DID make some plain ones. We managed to snag the leftovers to bring home. On our night, we made chicken and beef fajitas with all the fixings -- rice, refried beans, guacamole, pico, onions and peppers. I had riced some cauliflower before we left because that's what I use at home in place of real rice, and brought it along. I didn't know that we would be cooking the last night, or I might have had a different strategy.

Have you ever put cauliflower in the food processor? It. Stinks. A lot. When you then put that riced cauliflower in a container, transport it 7 hours in an ice chest, then stick it in the fridge for two days, a chemical process apparently occurs that turns this completely edible vegetable into the most foul stink from hell. The lid got bumped in the fridge, then the door was opened, and immediately everyone wondered who'd just gotten sick/passed gas/killed a skunk. It was crazy! Even after cooking it with all the seasonings, there was this smell...but to my friends' credit, those who wanted to try it still did, and it really does taste good. But I will never take it on a trip again. That stuff has to be cooked immediately so you only deal with the smell once!

On a scorecard related note, I was pleased that there was less than a pound gain even though I had some Cheetos, sangria, tequila, and sat my butt in the sand most of the time! I did, however, meet one goal of running on the beach. It was very short intervals -- I couldn't stress my knee and risk being in pain the rest of the trip. But I did about 10 intervals with runs and fast walks on Saturday morning, and it was lovely. That, plus all the jumping in the waves, made me slightly sore and probably kept the damage of the food and drink to a minimum. But mostly, I did this.
Happy Feet, the original
I took almost no pictures. None of the food or drink (for everyone's protection), very few of people, none of the house...I'm a complete failure as a blogger in that sense. But in my defense, there was sand everywhere...and I was lazy about getting it out of my bag worried about sand getting in my phone or camera. That's my story. I'll try to do better.

For those of you who visit to because this is about weight loss, please be sure to come back! Next week I will be starting a significant program called Whole30 to reset my system after a summer of decent, but not great, progress. If you want a head start, go to whole9life dot com. Otherwise, I'll see you all back here in a few days. I've got some meal planning and grocery shopping to do. And I will take pictures!

Have a great week!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Week 32 Scorecard. Finally.

It was beginning to feel like I'd NEVER get here. This week, I finally passed 30 pounds lost!

That's about three weeks later than I wanted, but honestly, I can't feel bad about it at all. I've had very few "cheats" [I don't like that term - another post topic] and, until I hurt myself, was consistently working out.

Now I've got to get back to it. But not right away -- because we're headed to the beach for a long weekend! And the food and beverages will be nothing like what we had in Haiti. This is vacation, baby!

The group: R-Dub and me, Bug and her bestie, my sister and her hubs, my friend and her hubs, and R-Dub's best friend and his wife and their daughter -- 8 adults, 3 teen girls, one townhome with 4 bedrooms+loft+3 bathrooms, and the beach.

I'm not sure I can explain how my summer isn't complete until I sit in the sand and watch the waves. I would love to live on a beach, but that's not in the cards right now. I settle for a few days a year and rejuvenate my soul. This year with this group will be different - hysterical, I'm betting. I'll try to take pictures [and then fuzz out faces].

This was last year, but I expect a repeat.
Have a great weekend and I'll check in next week!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Week 31 Scorecard

It continues to amaze me how quickly a human can fall out of a habit. When I'm that human, I should enter myself in an Olympic procrastination event. I was doing great with my regular postings on Monday and Tuesday, but then I look at the last few weeks...yeah, yeah, I was out of the country, but I've been back almost two weeks, so no excuses anymore!

Anyway, enough whining [maybe]. The update is boring -- I maintained. Given that I'd come back and started eating real food again, perhaps that's not a bad thing. I also haven't been able to get off the couch because the Olympics are on work out because of my knee, so maybe maintaining isn't awful. It's boring, but it's way better than gaining.


On to something more interesting...for me anyway.

Before the trip to Haiti, I'd put some thought into what on earth I'd eat while there. We would have some control over breakfast, lunch would be at the jobsite with no refrigeration, and dinner would be provided to us. In other words, I'm not in charge. I hate when that happens.

Here's what I actually ate (edited due to memory loss) for the week:
Breakfast: two scrambled eggs, a piece or two of beef jerky, and fruit - dried apricots, applesauce, or dates, coffee, and water
One of the guys was an early riser and cooked breakfast every day. On Day 2, he was making pancakes and I told him I'd eat something else. When he found out I don't eat flour, he immediately offered to make me scrambled eggs every morning! Sorry, ladies, he is married, but I got eggs made to order.

Lunch: PrimalPacs bought online - beef jerky, almonds, dried cranberries, mango. These were vacuum packed in serving sizes of about 250 calories. I supplemented with almonds/cashews, applesauce, dried fruit. We ate at the jobsite, and it was pretty warm. I wasn't ever really hungry afterward, but by day 4 I was really sick of jerky.

Dinner: Every dinner had salad (yay) and most had fresh avocado (serious yay!). One night was barbecue chicken legs (very good, and mostly Paleo), and one night was homemade pizza (awesome, and not even close to Paleo - I only ate two pieces.) The last two nights were the most challenging - chicken spaghetti and a Mexican casserole with tortillas, rice and beans baked in. There was just no way to counter the non-Paleo side, so I just settled for only having one serving, and eating as much salad as there was available. No bread -- and, people, THAT was a sacrifice. Haiti is a French country -- FRENCH BREAD. I let Bug have my serving at every meal so I wouldn't even have the option. No dessert -- I really wasn't all that tempted.

I just read over what I wrote and I really hope it doesn't come across as either 1) I was focused on losing weight while on this trip, or 2) I live in a state of deprivation. Neither one is true. My concern was about my digestive system and feeling as good as I could while away from home. After not having wheat, beans, or sugar in any appreciable quantities for almost four months, suddenly having an overload of that really sounded like a bad idea. Sure, I didn't want to go through the cleansing process when I got back, but I really didn't want to have problems while I was there. More than anything, it was great to know that I didn't particularly want anything I haven't been eating! But, I won't be eating any jerky for a while.

We've got a long weekend at the beach coming up, and for once I'm ready to be in a bathing suit! In public! Of course, it will be with great friends who don't care what I look like, but still! Oh, and Paleo may fly out the window that weekend! We'll see.

I have to stop. It's late and apparently I can't control the exclamation marks anymore.

I promise to get back in the regular posting habit!

One last pic of us in Haiti -- this was standing in the truck that we rode on to the jobsite every day.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Weeks 28-30 Scorecard

It's been a couple of weeks since I did a scorecard, and I couldn't figure out what week number I'm on! Here's what's up.

For about six weeks, I've been battling the same 2-3 pounds -- I had a goal to lose 30 pounds before the trip on 7/19, and I couldn't get over 26. Back and forth, stuck in the low 170s on a plateau of my own making. So when Tuesday the 17th hit, I had no interest in reporting that once again I'd made no progress. I left for Haiti, and didn't worry about it.

Then for a week, I worked harder than I have in a very long time, ate Paleo when possible, and broke the plateau.

As of 7/31, I'm down 28.9 pounds, and I'm in the 160s for the first time in about 15 years! Woot!


If you've read any posts this week, you've seen the Haiti trip report. What I didn't talk about in either of those was the physical part of the trip. I had planned how to eat Paleo when I had no control of my food, and wanted to see how that worked.

This was our Sunday afternoon:

We're headed down here:
The white part is a riverbed. We're headed down the left side of the river,
going up to a waterfall that's around the curve of the mountain.
I really wished I'd worn my Garmin just to see the elevation change! The trail down wound back and forth, and was rocky. It's nerve-wracking to see a drop off on one side and have loose rocks under your feet. Of course, it's also embarrassing to be passed by Haitians walking up the mountain with a load of clothes on their heads, and realize that they never look at their feet.

We made it down the mountain fine, took a 2-minute rest in the shade, and set off to follow the river to the waterfall. The river isn't deep at this point, but the rocks are all different sizes, and choosing footing is important. I'm not sure why I was determined to keep my shoes out of the water -- it was cool and probably would have kept me from what happened next.

I'd just crossed the river and stepped up onto a grassy outcrop with my right foot. I grabbed a branch, brought my left leg up and over, and my right foot stayed right where it was. My knee popped SO loud -- my body had gone left, my foot had stayed right, and now I was in trouble. I could stand on it, but if I tried to push off or lead with that right leg, it would give out (and hurt).

I opted to stay put at the riverbed while the others continued to the waterfall. That seemed like the best option, given that it would just be that much further to come back. This was taken just after I tweaked the knee. Yes, I'm gritting my teeth.

The biggest question was how on earth I would get back up the mountain we'd just walked down? Turns out, up is much easier than down, other than the need to stop and breathe every 3 minutes. It was finally the chance to see the payoff from the runs -- my recovery time when we'd stop to rest was much faster than it would have been 6 months/30 pounds ago. One of the sweet men on the trip stayed behind me the entire way, with his hand on my back, just in case I put a foot wrong -- it would have been bad to have the leg go out from under me when I'm beside a drop off. But I made it up okay, and then had to investigate the damage.

Swollen, but not huge; painful, but not crippling. We had three more days of work before the return trip, and the biggest effect was that I couldn't bend it very well. No squatting to put morter on the house for me! I'd just sit on the ground with my leg stretched out, and work that way. By the time we got home, my left leg was crazy sore from compensating!

I went to my chiropractor when I got home, and she dealt with cartilage and gave me some stretches to do. The worst part is that I need to not run for at least 4 weeks. (She said 6, but I'm a fast-healer. Right.) I can do the elliptical and walk (not that I've gotten off my butt since I got home) but now that I've injured it, my risk of re-injury is greater. I've been stretching and massaging it, and there's been no more swelling.

All this means my workouts coming up will have to change until it's better. I am trying not to get out of the habit, and losing four pounds in a week is good encouragement. Sitting on my butt watching the Olympics? Not much calorie burn there, even though I do breathe really hard for the swimmers.

I'm glad to be back! What have you been up to for the last couple of weeks?