Whole30, Day 14

Yesterday was a rough day. Low sleep combined with being cold all day (not even cold enough to notice and go turn up the thermostat, just cold enough to be a constant low-level discomfort that I wasn't even aware of until later on) and the usual stress levels led to a very rotten 2-mile run/walk. Lots of thinking about tax firm hours. Can I stick it out at 20 hours a week this year, even? I only have 2.5 more weeks, and it's very hard to walk away from the cash...March's check will be a gross of just over $1000. But is it worth it? No decisions made yet.

After the run I was so mentally beat up that I decided to take the rest of the day off. I took a 2-hour nap with my two snuggly kitties, and that was wonderful. But my brain didn't really get the needed boost. Biggest reason: constipation. I can't believe I'm even sharing this with the whole wide world, normally being very private about these things, but any time it happens, it has a monstrously huge impact on my brain. I feel absolutely disgusting, and that very quickly sends my brain in a spiral. So the nap wasn't as good for my brain as normal, but I sucked it up and put in my time at the tax firm. I then got to bed a half hour early, took 2 Benadryl, and spent a blissful 8.5 hours in bed! Didn't even set the alarm, just wanted to get maximum sleep. And today? I am almost a brand new woman. It's wondrous what enough sleep (and a properly-functioning digestive system) can do!

Anyway, let's talk food. Since I was at home yesterday I was able to make a bunch. All of this took maybe 30 minutes of prep total (mainly the salads) between making it & packaging it up:
-4 tilapia fillets; I just tossed all 4 in the microwave for 2 minutes; when ready to eat them, microwave 1 minute & they are done! One fillet was seasoned; the rest I will top with Bourbon Smoked Paprika & Bourbon Smoked Sea Salt as I eat them.
-In one slow cooker I put a ham steak, seasoned with Tastefully Simple's Everyday Grillin' Seasoning mix.
-In the other slow cooker I made half a chicken (from my mom's flock), and 5 packages of frozen veggies from Ploughshare Farm's super convenient winter share (selected 5 packs at random & got tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage, green beans, spinach).
-I cut up the veggies for 3 big salads of spinach, carrots, cauliflower, & bell peppers.
-I thawed & microwaved a pound of eggplant (also from Ploughshare Farm's frozen share).

And here's what I ate. Yesterday was supposed to be a low-calorie, low-carb day, but given the state of my brain, and the proximity of a bag of super incredibly delicious irresistible mixed nuts (you know it: NutsOnline.com) I eased up and indulged some.
5a-huge omelet (3 slices bacon, c asparagus, .5c dried mushrooms, .5c dried spinach, c egg whites), c regular coffee, 3 fish oil, dandelion root
6a-c decaf coffee
6-7a-oz mixed nuts, c decaf coffee
8a-oz mixed nuts
930a-oz venison jerky
11a-oz mixed nuts
12p-salad (1.5c spinach, medium carrot, c cauliflower, hb egg, 2T balsamic), 3.5oz tilapia, small banana, c decaf coffee, 3 fish oil, dandelion root
5p-salad (1.5c spinach, medium carrot, c cauliflower, bell pepper, hb egg, 2T balsamic), .5 turkey patty, c eggplant w/ T balsamic, c decaf coffee, .5oz mixed nuts, 3 fish oil, dandelion root
TOTALS: 1802 calories, 94g fat (19 sat), 131g carbs (38 fiber), 128g protein

Dustin wants me more moderated in my calorie levels anyway, more of a consistent small range averaging 1900 than my wild swings from 1400 to 2500. So, here's my plan for the rest of the week to put me right smack at 1900: Thursday 1821, Friday 1700, Saturday 1900, Sunday 2400 (long run), and Monday 1600. Monday is still a bit lower than he'd like, I'm sure, but it's much better than the 1400 I have been pulling. And it depends entirely on how I do over the weekend. Sunday is a tough call because of the long run, but I know I can get by at this level if I make sure to manage the post-run intake a little - no free-for-alls!

Acne, after two weeks: still not really improved. So my original plan was to ditch nuts & jerky at this point. I posed a question to Whole9 folks about this topic today, and I got a response! Dig it:

Love Facebook so much!

So I'm nixing the husband's homemade jerky (since the additives are basically the same as store-bought [which I already eliminated]) but I'll keep the nuts. For now.

I'm also adding back my Vitamin D and getting a few of the supplements that the Whole9 folks use, specifically zinc and magnesium. I've also seen zinc recommended for acne, and the need for consistent sleep surely makes magnesium an appealing addition. All three of these are quite low from food alone, according to my SparkPeople food log.

And so, that's where I am today. Doing good nutritionally, feeling good physically, doing well mentally, and not-so-quietly counting down the [16] days until the end of tax season!

Never give up

Marsha of Strong is the New Skinny shared an absolutely incredible video in her blog post today. The message is "Never give up" - but that doesn't do it justice. The video itself is worth about a bajillion words. 

I guarantee it's worth 2.5 minutes of your time. Go watch it now.

You go there. I'll wait here.


Positively amazing, isn't it? It sent me into tears, and quickly. And it inspired the hell out of me. How many ways can I apply this lesson in my life? My nutrition! My running! My pull-ups! My job! Most importantly of all: my attitude!

How many ways can you apply this lesson in YOUR life? Pick one thing, right now, one goal that has you struggling, and think about it for a couple of minutes. This goal is something you want, right? Otherwise you never would have set foot on the path of completion. Now why, if you want this goal, why would you let one little stumble completely derail you? Why not pick yourself back up and keep moving? And why not do it every single damn time you fall?

"Never give up" is the true secret of success.

Lift up your head, focus on your goal, and remind yourself that it's worth the sacrifices.

Then pick yourself up, brush yourself off, straighten your shoulders, and get your ass moving.

Right now.

"I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."
-Michael Jordan

Whole30, Day 13

Yesterday was a high calorie/carb day, so I ate very well! Target of 1900 calories, 150-200g carbs:

6a-fried egg, chicken sausage, 2 sl bacon, 1.5c yam, 2T apple butter, c reg, 3 fish oil, dandelion root
715a-c decaf
8a-1.5c reg
9a-oz venison jerky, hb egg, 2oz freeze dried blackberries (from NutsOnline.com; delicious, but not as good as the grapes, and they stick to your teeth!)
11a-turkey patty
115p (PWO)-hb egg, c celery strips, small carrot, .5 turkey patty, banana, 3 fish oil, dandelion root (a snacky lunch; finishing with the banana made it very satisfying)
330p-med apple, 2oz mixed nuts (I eyeballed the nuts, and based on my later measurement at home, I was way off - had I gotten this right, I was exactly at 1900 calories!)
615p-turkey patty, c cooked cauliflower, c asparagus, 3 fish oil, dandelion root
TOTALS: 2078 cal, 91g fat (23 sat), 193g carbs (45 fiber), 132g protein

I weighed in with Heather and didn't look at the numbers, let her send them straight to Dustin. I was quite tempted to ask her if I was at least down, but I figured that just in case I was up, I had better not ask. I actually feel fairly good about body comp at this point, siting at temporary acceptance (though not satisfaction) (thank you dandelion root!), so I might as well just keep that happier state of mind and ignore the numbers.

Body comp acceptance aside, I was still pretty disappointed in my BRAIN; in the morning I was still beating myself up a little bit over the Sunbutter binge. Trying to forgive myself and move forward, but struggling to do so.

Then I had my session with Dustin, and all was made better! We took the first 5 minutes for therapy, discussing the lessons learned in the run (Dustin's prime takeaway: speak the hell up!), and that the Sunbutter binge is a common one (well, for normal people it's PB).

Dustin thinks the Whole30 experiment is probably contributing to things like the Sunbutter binge, due to feelings of deprivation, and he actually suggested I quit it. But I honestly don't feel deprived on a normal basis. I think the binge was entirely a result of spending all of Friday feeling totally rotten; all my binges have tied directly to a physical ailment of some kind. Anyway, I’d rather tough it out and stop hating my face (hopefully); it’s far more important that I reach such a point than to eat some stupid bread. (Side note: I once more swore off all nut butters until tax season ends and perhaps I find self control again. But what arrived at my house Monday night in my Nuts Online order? More damn Sunbutter! But I’m not opening it until after April 16th. It’s staying snug in its bubble wrap and everything! If I get too tempted to open it, I have the option of placing it in Heather's possession. What a fabulous FAB!)

One other thought Dustin brought up during my workout was that I should reconsider working at the tax firm next year: weigh the pros & cons, the benefit of money vs the detriment to my mental & physical state. I had already started thinking about how I will survive this again next year...I don’t think I could walk away entirely, knowing how valuable I am to the firm, but I will definitely reduce my hours some. Maybe two nights per week instead of three, plus Saturday. It’s really the weeknights that kill me, because then I don’t get enough sleep; I don’t mind the Saturdays one bit. I don’t know. Heather suggested starting with only Saturdays, and adding nights as I go, if I can. We'll see. Something will have to change, particularly if I'm also training for Boston next winter (eeeep!).

Anyway, the workout itself gave my mental state a fantastic boost. It went well, I felt good, and I did a back squat of 115x3, EASILY. What a great feeling! Then back at work I had an afternoon that was a bit stressful, so I took a good hard look at my calendar, got a meeting canceled, and I'm working from home today. Not only did that give my brain a boost then & there, but at home I was able to put off all my chores (that's what today's break times are for!) and veg on the couch with my husband & cats. That kind of mental boost is flat-out immeasurable, my friends!

Part of the goal with working from home was to sleep in. I did not set an alarm and anticipated 9 hours of blissful sleep. However, the cats & hubster were all restless & flailing starting about 4am. Ugh! I got up at 5, an hour ahead of normal. But since I have wonderful bosses, I can both start & quit work an hour early (at both jobs!), and get to bed an hour early. (And hope this time I get to sleep until 6am!)

Whole30, Day 12

Typical Whole30 participants experience a higher energy level at this point. I would say I'm not typical, given the tax season situation, but I was really hoping for more energy to kick in anyway. I struggled yesterday to find any energy whatsoever.

Part of this is mentally beating myself up over the Sunbutter binge, part of it is mental exhaustion with tax season, and part of it truly is physical. I get to the tax firm and I don't want to be there; I want to be home vegging. It's really a great place to work, a fun, easy second job, but I simply don't have the energy for it this year. Why it's such a drastic change from last year, I honestly don't know, but it's killing me. I love the people and I know they need my help, and that's frankly the only reason I'm still doing it. I could walk away from the money easily, but I could never leave them all in the lurch. I did leave early last night (8pm), and went straight home, to the shower, and to bed. Unfortunately I started waking up in fits & starts at 5am, so I only got about 7 hours of decent sleep. I desperately wish that were enough for me to get by with!!

Food was not ideal. I was trying to make up for my Sunbutter binges so I ate very low carb, and low calorie:
530a-2 pancakes, 3T apple butter, oz venison jerky, c regular coffee, 3 fish oil, dandelion root
7a-c decaf coffee
745a-1.5c regular coffee
9a-turkey patty
11a-turkey patty
1p-medium apple, turkey patty, 3 fish oil, dandelion root, 1.5c regular coffee
330p-turkey patty
545p-chicken sausage
9p-3 fish oil, dandelion root
TOTALS: 1380 calories, 65g fat (17 sat), 51g carbs (9 fiber), 140g protein

Fish oil discovery: my brand (Origin double strength, from Target) contains soy. It is not actually listed in the ingredients, but the allergen statement does not indicate it is a soy-free product. Are you kidding me?! That shit is EVERYWHERE, yo. I ordered Whole30's recommended brand, but meanwhile I am still taking the Origin stuff; I figure the anti-inflammatory benefits outweigh the bit of soy. I hope.

Whole30, Day 11

This day did not go as well as planned.

I had a long 15-mile run scheduled, so my breakfast should have been optimally designed to fuel it. And it was. But then, for reasons I can't fully explain, I finished off the jar of Sunbutter. Before a 15-mile run. It does not make a bit of sense, and the only thing I can come up with? Self-sabatoge. I was going to be running with two fantastic runners (IMO) and feeling a bit intimidated. I was also asking them to hold me to an impressively fast pace, and I think, looking back, that subconsciously I had decided that the Sunbutter would give me an excuse NOT to be able to maintain the pace, a reason I could point to at failure, rather than simply, "I couldn't run that fast for that long."

I did fine on the run, but struggled, for 11.66 miles, when I stopped for water/calories; at that point I walked for two minutes eating/drinking, and then I couldn't finish the run because my left hip flexors tightened up like crazy. Now, the hip flexors are the reason I couldn't finish my 15 miles, but my nutrition choices are the reason that the miles I did complete were a struggle. The Sunbutter binge was rolling through my head repeatedly during the run itself. This is NOT what my brain should focus on and still expect a successful long run.

So I'm definitely beating myself up over the binge, and will not be purchasing any nut butters of any kind (except for tahini, because it's not that good) until tax season is over and my brain seems to be able to moderate intake of treat foods again. I hope that happens, anyway. I used to be able to live with peanut butter in my house and not eat it by the jar. Those were the days . . .

Full report:
7a-3 pancakes, serving (2T) Sunbutter,  c yams, 2T apple butter, 4 fish oil, dandelion root, c regular coffee
745a-c decaf coffee
830a-3s Sunbutter
915a (pre-run)-pancake
11a (post run)-.5c applesauce, 2 pancakes, 4 fish oil, dandelion root
1p (at restaurant)-3-egg omelet w/ ham, peppers, onions, & mushrooms (requested no cheese, no toast), 3 c regular coffee
430p-large raw carrot, .5c cooked cauliflower
630p (at hockey game)-turkey patty (brought in purse!), 2c regular coffee (purchased)
830p-4 fish oil, dandelion root
TOTALS: 2700 cal, 171g fat (21 sat), 184g carbs (46 fiber), 132g protein

Whole30, Day 10

Friday was a miserable day. Felt pretty awful, but I had my eating under control.

I went out for lunch with my husband, selected a restaurant with a salad bar, but it turned out to be pretty lame; all I could eat were a few raw vegetables and sunflower seeds - there weren't even any tomatoes! When I returned to the office, I added protein I had brought with me. I started feeling a little better physically in the afternoon, as my digestive system began working again, but I was still very tired. I left work early and hit Walmart, where I discovered Whole30-approved Sunbutter. I should not have brought this into my house on such a low mental day, as I ate just over half the jar. And I simply cannot explain it. Anyone who has binge-trigger foods should understand that your brain simply ceases normal functioning at these times. I hate it.

Full report on day 9:
1a-oz venison jerky
630a-fried egg, chicken sausage, oz venison jerky, small banana, c decaf coffee, 3 fish oil, FiberSmart
730a-1.5c regular coffee
9a-medium apple
10a-chicken sausage
11a-small carrot, .5c celery strips, .5c bell peppers
1215p-3c iceberg lettuce, c raw broccoli, .5c radishes, ~15 baby carrots, .5oz sunflower seeds, 3T balsamic vinegar
1p-turkey patty, hb egg
6p-salad (1.5c spinach, .75c celery, large carrot, Brussels sprout, .75 sweet peppers) w/ hb egg & 2T balsamic, 3 fish oil, dandelion root
630p-4 pancakes, 9 servings Sunbutter
TOTALS: 3531 cal, 215g fat (27 sat), 213g carbs (59 fiber), 205g protein

Day 10
This was spent at my company's all-day retreat. I knew we'd be provided with fruit & rolls in the morning, a Mexican buffet at lunch, and that I would be joining friends in the bar afterward to meet a pal's new boyfriend (this meant I'd be home after 7, so supper had to be covered as well). So I simply brought along quite a bit of my own food, and it worked out just fine!

Full report:
7a-fried egg, chicken sausage, c regular coffee, 3 fish oil, dandelion root
8a-c regular coffee
9a-.33c cantaloupe, slice pineapple, 1.5c regular coffee (all provided)
10a-chicken sausage link
12p-3c iceberg lettuce, .25c black olives, .75c tomatoes (from buffet), .5c bell pepper slices, c carrot slices, c celery strips, chicken sausage link, 1.5c regular coffee, 3 fish oil, dandelion root
2p-turkey patty, .5c carrot slices, .5c celery strips
4p-oz pecans
6p-turkey patty
730p-3 fish oil, dandelion root
TOTALS: 1444 cal, 74g fat (22 sat), 63g carbs (18 fiber), 126g protein

Whole30, Day 9

Yesterday's evening plans changed a bit, as a very good friend was offered her dream job in Vermont. We celebrated at the wine bar, where I had decaf coffee like the rock star I am. Thankfully I had two pork & beef patties left over that I chowed on the way home, since I wasn't going to get there until 7, and I don't want to eat after 7 (as I am a mogwai).

However....I did sample my husband's roast beef (simmering in the slow cooker and smelling incredible) and munch on raw veggies while I made a big batch of pancakes (side note: this time with egg whites rather than whole eggs - fail. Turned out too dry.) and a double batch of Joy's Amazing Spiced Pear Apple Butter (that's what I'm calling it, anyway, as it's un-freaking-believably good; recipe is below).

For some awesome reason I also experienced a return of the rotten tension headache at 8pm, and this, combined with the late snacking, had me wide awake from 1am-3am feeling horrible (despite also taking 2 Benadryl to knock me out). I felt dehydrated, constipated, headachey, tired as hell, and flat-out miserable. I ate an oz of venison jerky at 3am hoping that would soothe my blood sugar. I did sleep rather well from there until 5am, but then off/on until I got up at 6. Frankly, I don't know how I'm going to make it through the day, but I'll try. Once I start dying and making stupid ass mistakes (I'm at the tax firm) then I will head home and get to bed early.

Yesterday's full report:
6a-2 fried eggs, chicken sausage, 2 slices [organic, locally-raised] bacon, c decaf coffee, 3 fish oil, FiberSmart
7a-c decaf coffee
9a-2 pancakes w/  T homemade spiced pear apple butter
11a-1.5oz venison jerky
1p (immediately post-workout)-medium apple
130p-salad (1.5c spinach, .75c celery, large carrot, Brussels sprout, .75 sweet peppers) w/ hb egg & 2T balsamic, 6 oz chicken, 3 fish oil
330p-2 pancakes w/ homemade apple butter, c decaf coffee, .25c regular coffee
5p-4c decaf coffee
6p-2 pork/beef patties
7p-oz roast beef, raw carrots, celery, bell peppers
8p-sampling tastes of pancake batter & my OWN spiced pear apple butter
8p-3 fish oil, FiberSmart
TOTALS: 2047 cal, 108g fat (28 sat), 130g carbs (29 fiber), 151g protein

I will also share something I've been struggling with: the scale numbers are making me depressed. I am frustrated that things aren't improving, and the extra weight is affecting my pull-ups both in actual physical reality, and also, probably more importantly, in my mental state as I approach the bar. I actually decided I need to quit seeing the scale's number until tax season is over - because I am quite confident it's going to start moving in the right direction then. But I do still want my weekly weigh-in for my ongoing tracking. So, my solution: I'm going to weigh in but not look at the results; Heather can show the numbers to Dustin, date the slip, and keep it. She can give me the pile in three weeks. In the meantime I will not look, nor will I weigh myself on any other scales. And? I'm going to return to doing my pull-ups & chin-ups regularly at home. I really don't know why I've been slacking!

Joy's Amazing Spiced Pear Apple Butter:
1 unpeeled Granny Smith apple
2 unpeeled D'Anjou pears
t ground cinnamon
.25t cloves*

Chop up fruit, simmer on the stovetop (stir often) or in a slow cooker. Blend it up in a Magic Bullet or food processor once fruit begins to soften, during cooking, and again when finished. (It's finished when it reaches your desired consistency!) Because it got late, I only blended mine twice, so it's a bit chunky, though still super duper incredibly delicious! I couldn't stop sampling it, and even foisted a spoonful on Hop.

*When I made my double batch I used .25t cloves & .25t nutmeg, as I'm not a real big cloves fan and wanted to cut that back a bit; easy to personalize to your own tastes! I also used one Granny Smith and one Braeburn apple. Again: adapt to your own tastes!

Whole30, Day 8

I did it for a whole week already! And, in short: it truly has not been hard. It takes planning, but it's so worth it. Never hungry or deprived, and in fact I feel like I'm eating tons of food to keep my calories high enough!

Here's what my average was for the week, Thursday to Wednesday: 1737 cal, 84g fat (23 sat), 129g carbs (30 fiber), 125g protein - remembering that I did eat 600 calories worth of kettle corn which were 100% outside of the plan rules. But from now forward I'll stick exactly to the rules until I can start re-introducing for acne testing; or until I eat another bag of kettle corn May 20 as marathon pre-fueling!

Now, I'm not seeing any acne improvement at this point, but it's not getting worse, and my skin does take FOREVER to heal. The digestive system is still useless without supplements; forgot to take them on Tuesday morning and definitely could tell the difference. Frustrating! Weight is not down, either.

Now, because I haven't had any awesome results, is that any reason to quit? Absolutely not. Patience, grasshoppa. One week is not a long time to see changes, especially for acne. And frankly, everything could be related entirely to stress levels. I've started asking a lot more of my body in terms of running, I'm not getting enough quality sleep to really feel great (only "good" and that's on a GOOD day) and mentally I'm so freaking ready for tax season to end. This state does not lend itself to the body producing more than marginal results. The body is built for survival, and right now mine is basically just surviving each day. But tax season ends in 23 days, and I expect to feel like a rockstar again by April 17th!

And I do expect that week two will produce some visible results in terms of acne. I'm going to continue allowing up to an oz of the homemade jerky daily, and up to 4oz of nuts per week. If I'm still getting new blemishes in week two, I will cut those items out.

Yesterday's plan changed a bit, as my lunch-providing meeting was canceled, and somehow I completely forgot to bring most of my food (I'll blame the weather). However, because I have an awesome job where I can leave food stashed in the fridge, I still had plenty of options! And I clearly learned my lesson, as I brought in too much food this morning - better safe than sorry.

Day 7 report:
5a-fried egg, chicken sausage, c decaf coffee, fish oil, FiberSmart
630a-c decaf coffee
7a-1 pancake
8a-1.5c regular coffee
9a-pork/beef patty, c cooked cauliflower, c regular coffee, .5c decaf
11a-chicken sausage, oz raisins
12p-salad (1.5c spinach, .75c celery, large carrot, Brussels sprout, .75 sweet peppers) w/ hb egg & 2T balsamic, 3 fish oil
4p-pork/beef patty, c cooked cauliflower
5p-chicken sausage
630p-2 pork/beef patties
9p-3 fish oil, FiberSmart
TOTALS: 1616 cal, 94g fat (32 sat), 76g carbs (18 fiber), 112g protein
Note: increased fish oil intake to 9 per day (from 6) until I start feeling better on a consistent basis. Used this fish oil calculator to figure out how much I should be taking.

Today's plan is higher calorie & higher carb, as I have personal training at noon, plus another strength workout tonight:
6a-2 fried eggs, chicken sausage, 2 slices [organic, locally-raised] bacon, c decaf coffee, 3 fish oil, FiberSmart
7a-c decaf coffee
9a-2 pancakes (possibly with homemade apple butter from a friend, if it's delivered in time)
11a-1.5oz venison jerky
1p (immediately post-workout)-medium apple
130p-salad (1.5c spinach, .75c celery, large carrot, Brussels sprout, .75 sweet peppers) w/ hb egg & 2T balsamic, 6 oz chicken, 3 fish oil
330p-2 pancakes w/ homemade apple butter
5p (immediately post-workout)-small banana
630p-chicken sausage, c asparagus
8p-3 fish oil, FiberSmart
TOTALS: 1826 cal, 88g fat (19 sat), 134g carbs (26 fiber), 136g protein

Precision Nutrition

This sums up pretty much everything you need to know about healthy living: Precision Nutrition Strategies (a pdf file).

Save it. Take notes. Re-read it regularly. Make the recommended changes, and I'll be shocked if you don't get the results you want.

Whole30 - Day 7

Day 6 went exactly as planned, plus a Brussels sprout as I was making up my salads last night:
6a-2 fried eggs, chicken sausage, .75c yams, c decaf coffee
7a-c decaf coffee
8a-1.5c regular coffee, 3 fish oil (forgot to take supplements at home)
9a-oz homemade venison jerky, med apple
11a-pork/beef patty
1p-small orange
130p-2 pork/beef patties, c yam, 3 fish oil
4p-pork/beef patty, chicken sausage, small banana
530p-6oz chicken, c asparagus, 3 fish oil, FiberSmart
615p-1 raw Brussels sprout
TOTALS: 1968 cal, 87g fat (30 sat), 144g carbs (23 fiber), 148g protein

I felt great & had plenty of energy all day long - as I should, on calories this high! Food made included 3 salads, a bunch of HB eggs, 2 batches of pancakes, and I cut up carrots, celery, and peppers for snacking.

Today is iffy. We've got a wild spring snowstorm happening, and I have no idea whether I should attempt getting in to work today. But honestly the plan isn't much different either way, so let's just assume I will make it in:

5a-fried egg, chicken sausage, c decaf coffee, fish oil, FiberSmart
630a-c decaf coffee
8a-1.5c regular coffee, 1 pancake
9a-pork/beef patty, c cooked cauliflower
11a-oz homemade venison jerky, med apple
12p-6oz chicken, side salad, fish oil, 2c regular coffee
330p-pork/beef patty, c cooked cauliflower
530p-6oz chicken, chicken sausage,
9p-3 fish oil, FiberSmart
TOTALS: 1482 cal, 64g fat (20 sat), 62g carbs (16 fiber), 161g protein

Whole30 Day 6

Day 5 full report:
6a-fried egg, chicken sausage, c decaf coffee, fish oil, FiberSmart
7a-c green tea
730a-1.5c regular coffee
9a-oz homemade venison jerky
11a-medium apple, chicken sausage
1p-pork/beef patty, chicken sausage, 2c roasted cauliflower, med apple, BCAAs
330p-2 oz chicken w/ .25c carrots, .25c tomatoes, c kale
5p-pork/beef patty
6p-pork/beef patty
7p-1.25c cauliflower
9p-FiberSmart, fish oil
TOTALS: 1406 cal, 67g fat (24 sat), 87g carbs (25 fiber), 117g protein

Look how often I eat! And how much! I don't know how necessary it is to eat every 2-3 hours, but for me it's of utmost importance. I have super sensitive blood sugar (hence the mogwai tendencies) and eating often keeps me feeling the best.

I am finding that it really isn't that hard to stick to this plan on a daily basis. I think anyone can handle this with just a little bit of planning, and a whole lot of disregarding what you may have learned to be "proper" eating habits.

Day 6's plan is for a higher-calorier, higher-carb day due to personal training (all those extra calories should go straight toward muscle-building!):
6a-2 fried eggs, chicken sausage, .75c yams, c decaf coffee
7a-c decaf coffee
8a-1.5c regular coffee, 3 fish oil (forgot to take supplements at home)
9a-oz homemade venison jerky, med apple
11a-pork/beef patty
1p-small orange
130p-2 pork/beef patties, c yam, 3 fish oil
4p-pork/beef patty, chicken sausage, small banana
6p-6oz chicken, c asparagus, 3 fish oil, FiberSmart
TOTALS: 1955 cal, 87g fat (30 sat), 142g carbs (22 fiber), 147g protein

Tonight I plan to swing by Locals Seasonal Market for carrots, yams, eggs, bacon, and cauliflower if they have it. Then at home I will be making salads, hard-boiled eggs, cut-and-ready-to-eat raw vegetables, and two batches my "Whole30 pancakes" (2T tahini, egg, 1/4c applesauce, & t cinnamon). This should give me plenty of snacks for the week, especially if my rockin' friend Heather also shares some of her delicious turkey patties. And don't forget my husband's tasty homemade venison jerky!

Life is good, from a food perspective.

Here's a little something I thought I'd share to help others realize (and as a reminder to yours truly) that the scale should not be your sole source of truth. Use your clothing fit, visual changes, your significant other, a tape measure - not JUST the scale. Here's why: as a little experiment, I weighed in almost daily over the course of two weeks, and the numbers varied pretty wildly. Check it out:
DateWeightChangeBMI Fat%Fat MassLean MassTBW

In the first week, overall weight took a lot of swings, less so in the second week. But look at how much the fat mass swings! From 3/11 to 3/14, just THREE days later, did I really add 4.2 lbs of fat? And then drop 1.8 lbs of that fat by 3/15? Of course not; that's perfectly ridiculous. Take this as a reminder to use the scale's numbers for a "big picture" perspective only, and rely on other sources of measurement IN ADDITION to the scale.

Whole30 Day 5

Day 4 summary:
8a-fried egg, 3oz chicken w/ .5c carrots, c tomatoes, c kale, c decaf coffee, fish oil, FiberSmart
11a-salad (spinach, cauliflower, celery, carrots, sweet peppers) w/ HB egg & balsamic
130p-fried egg, yam w/ t cinnamon, chicken sausage, c decaf coffee, fish oil
5p-oz homemade venison jerky
6p-two ground beef & pork burgers w/ a fried egg, oz homemade venison jerky, c decaf coffee
9p-fish oil, FiberSmart
TOTALS: 1628 calories, 76g fat (23 sat), 119g carbs (24 fiber), 125 protein

I'd say that I really did quite well, especially given how awful I felt. I spent 12.5 hours in bed overnight. I napped on the couch during the Nascar race for half an hour, then actually went to bed for another nap, this time for an hour. This did not solve the headache, nor did a heating pad or an ice pack or ibuprofen. Finally, aspirin did the trick to the point where I was just tight but could actually turn my head. I have no idea what caused this, but I'll be researching back over what I ate, workouts, water, etc, for the 4 days it happened this week.

So far I've discovered that eating whole foods is only truly challenging when I'm looking for transportable options. Thoughts:
-Fruit is a great choice, including dried or freeze-dried, but since I'm also eating low carb, fruits are limited to one serving per day, two on high days.
-My husband's homemade venison jerky turned out awesome! However, I will allow myself only one ounce per day, as the cure & flavoring are full of no-no additives like sugar & soy lecithin. I'd like to find a source that isn't full of that stuff, but I'm thinking it might take some serious effort to source.
-Nuts are great, but they are something I'm limiting as a potential acne issue.
-My simple pancakes fit the bill, so I plan to make more of them tomorrow night.
-Bilinski chicken sausage is a fantastic choice - no preservatives or junk, full of protein, and low calorie to boot.
-Vegetables do work very well; the only problem is making the time to prepare them! I will wash, cut, & package raw veggies tomorrow night.

Typically on Sundays I make a boatload of food for the week, but yesterday I did not have any energy to do much at all. What I did do:
-Made roasted cauliflower (cauliflower & garlic oil & Garlic Garlic seasoning) and packaged into 1.25-cup servings.
-Made 17 beef & pork patties.
-Thawed a package of Bilinski chicken sausage.
-Cooked up 2 packages of Gerber's breakfast chicken sausage for my usual heat-and-eat breakfast.
-The hubster made me venison jerky, as mentioned.

What I will do tomorrow night (I work at the tax firm tonight): make salads, hard-boiled eggs, pancakes, and cut & package raw vegetables for snacking.

My eating plan for today:
6a-fried egg, chicken sausage, c decaf coffee, fish oil, FiberSmart
7a-c green tea
730a-1.5c regular coffee
9a-oz homemade venison jerky
11a-medium apple, chicken sausage, BCAAs
1p-pork/beef patty, chicken sausage, 2c roasted cauliflower
330p-3 oz chicken w/ .5c carrots, c tomatoes, c kale
6p-2 pork/beef patties, 1.25c cauliflower
9p-FiberSmart, fish oil
TOTALS: 1393 cal, 68g fat (24 sat), 75g carbs (23 fiber), 125g protein

Truly, if you eat low-carb, building your meals first around vegetables & protein, you will be able to eat a LOT and for few calories. I had to keep adding things in to reach a reasonable caloric level, and this is STILL fairly low for me. If I eat this plan today, my average for the week is 1675 calories, which is a solid 300 calories below maintenance level. Yes, I want to lose fat, and this is how it's done, but it's a fairly drastic change and I think I might be in trouble with Dustin!

Whole30 - Day 4

Before eating last night's pork chop, I had heavily debated on whether it was more important to catch up my calories and potentially impact my mogwai sleep, and I chose calories. Bad idea. Woke up every hour feeling downright awful. I seriously felt hungover: very dehydrated, angry stomach, tension headache, everything. At 1am I had T tahini & .5oz energy square in an attempt to level off my blood sugar, but  I still kept waking up. At 4a I texted my 830am workout buddy that I was not going to make it. I suspected a cold or worse, just felt 100% rotten!

Got up at 8a, made breakfast, felt awful, wasn't sure I'd even finish it. Went back to bed and stayed there until 11a. That makes 12.5 hours in bed! Clearly I needed it. Lessons #1: the better choice is to have low calories & be able to sleep soundly. But smart planning can fix that, so lesson #2 is when traveling, BRING PROTEIN.

I am typing this up at 2p and still not feeling great, but improved over where I was. Canceling plans to hit tonight's hockey game; we can go next weekend. Instead I need to find the energy to do my usual Sunday chores, get groceries, & make some food for the week. Somehow.

So far today: 8a-fried egg, 3oz chicken w/ .5c carrots, c tomatoes, c kale, c decaf coffee, fish oil, FiberSmart; 11a-salad (spinach, cauliflower, celery, carrots, sweet peppers) w/ HB egg & balsamic; 130p-fried egg, yam w/ t cinnamon, chicken sausage, c decaf coffee, fish oil; 4p-tilapia; for supper I'm thinking of making ground beef AND pork burgers - just sounds really good, and I've got the spare calories for it.

Whole30 - Day 3

This was an unusual day for me, but eating went well for most of it.

The pancakes fueled me to a fantastically fast finish in my 7k. It was a GREAT time. Immediately after running I had maybe 12 oz water, then circled back to the finish to look for my cousin. My calves were near cramping, but I sucked it up. I was totally unaware that there was food up at race village, or I would have fetched some bananas right away.Once I got two bananas & more water, I felt much better. We gave away our free beer tickets and instead I got some delicious black coffee from Starbucks. MUCH better on a chilly morning!

Back at Diane's we made healthy but protein-less salads (in retrospect I should have brought along some protein), then went bridesmaid dress shopping. By the time we ate supper, I had gone 6 hours with no food, drinking only about 8oz of water. (NOT good. I started getting a serious tension headache while we ate.) We were at a pizza place, but I was able to get a healthy side salad, chicken breast, and spicy broccoli - really a perfect meal. On my drive home, the tension headache got worse and worse.

I stopped at a gas station with a semi-decent deli and bought raw vegetables (tossed the dressing), raw almonds, water, and decaf. Literally the only things I felt confident about in the whole place, besides bananas, but I didn't want any carbs that late at night. The almonds were a 4.5-oz bag, which was *720* calories, but I ate it all anyway. My calories needed to be higher Saturday, after the very low days earlier this week. When I got home I tallied up my calories and decided I needed more yet, and it needed to be protein, so I reheated a pork chop.

Overall, I came in right where I should have:
7a-toaster pancakes (2T tahini, egg, 1/4c applesauce, & t cinnamon - topped with another 1/4c applesauce), 2c regular coffee, FiberSmart, fish oil
11a-2 bananas, 20oz regular coffee
1230p-spring mix salad w/ 4 strawberries, 8 grape tomatoes, 2T balsamic vinegar, and a large carrot
6p-2c romaine, T vinaigrette dressing, 2 grape tomatoes, 4oz chicken breast, c cooked broccoli, 3c decaf coffee
730p-c cauliflower, c broccoli, c baby carrots, 4.5oz almonds, 16oz decaf
930p-4oz pork chop
1a-T tahini, .5oz organic lemon energy square (technically should be on Sunday, I guess)
TOTALS: 2307 cal, 127g fat (17 sat), 191g carbs (57 fiber), 127g protein

Oh! And day two looked like:
6a-fried egg, 3 slices organic bacon, cup decaf coffee
7a-c decaf coffee
730a-1.5c regular coffee w/ t cinnamon
845a-1.5c decaf coffee, large carrot
1030a-turkey patty, large raw carrot
12p-5s lite kettle corn
230p-salad (spinach, carrots, cauliflower, celery, peppers) w/ HB egg & 2T balsamic vinegar, turkey patty
6p-6oz pork chop, c eggplant, fish oil, FiberSmart
630p-fried egg, 4 slices bacon (I was still hungry and knew I couldn't eat any more later on [mogwai])
TOTALS: 1869 cal, 80g fat (18 sat), 152g carbs (30 fiber), 148g protein

Whole30: Day 2

A full report on day 1, which went fairly well: 615a-fried egg, 2 slices bacon, c eggplant, c decaf, FiberSmart supplement; 7a-c decaf coffee; 730a-c regular coffee w/ t cinnamon; 9-c regular coffee w/ t cinnamon;1030a-turkey, cabbage, mushroom, onion, & tomato soup, small apple; 2p-small apple; 3p-salad (spinach, carrots, cauliflower, celery, peppers) w/ HB egg & 2T balsamic vinegar; 630p-3oz pork ribs w/ .5 baked apple; 745p-turkey, cabbage, mushroom, onion, & tomato soup, FiberSmart supplement
TOTALS: 1362cal, 56g fat (17 sat), 131g carbs (33 fiber), 95g protein

I don't know how many times I need to relearn this, but I am a freaking mogwai. I can NOT eat past 7pm without waking up in the middle of the night. I woke at 1am, WIDE AWAKE. I hit the bathroom, drank some water, and spent about an hour in/out of sleep before I was fully out again. Ugh. I did spend a full 8 hours in bed, though, which still makes one hell of a difference for my body. I am not one of those lucky people who can get by on low sleep and still feel good!

The reason I ate late, despite knowing this, was that my calories were otherwise right at 1100 for a second straight day, which I worried was just too low for me to feel good today. It is a toss-up whether the extra 250 calories was more important than the hour of sleep, though. With better planning, I will hopefully not have to make this either/or choice in the future!

Luckily I feel great today, due to so many good things: SUNSHINE, Friday, payday, wearing my sweet new Strong(her) shirt, Dustin session, kettle corn, seeing my cousin, 7k tomorrow along with bridesmaid dress shopping, and a hockey game on Sunday - I've got a truly wonderful weekend planned!

Day 2 plan: 6a-fried egg, 3 slices organic bacon, cup decaf coffee; 7a-c decaf coffee; 730a-1.5c regular coffee w/ t cinnamon; 845a-1.5c decaf coffee, large carrot; 1030a-turkey patty, large raw carrot; 12p-2.5s lite kettle corn; 230p-salad (spinach, carrots, cauliflower, celery, peppers) w/ HB egg & 2T balsamic vinegar, turkey patty, 2.5s lite kettle corn; 630p-6oz pork chop, c eggplant, FiberSmart
TOTALS: 1607 cal, 59g fat (13 sat), 152g carbs (30 fiber), 133g protein - a few extra carbs (kettle corn!) for the race tomorrow.

This weekend is a good mini-challenge right off the bat for this plan. My long-run breakfast has been tahini, oats, & applesauce, which sits very well in my stomach. And this weekend specifically, I was going to make my talented friend Joy's pumpkin pie pancakes. But the Whole30 plan busted both options. My solution is slightly less tasty pancakes: 2T tahini, egg, 1/4c applesauce, & t cinnamon - topped with another 1/4c applesauce. (Side note: first I had to Google to see whether tahini was okay for this plan, and it gets a thumbs-up in technical Whole30 terms, but a serious cautionary note because of the very high content of linoleic acid (LA), the parent molecule for inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids. So, go seriously easy on the sesame seeds and sunflower seeds, and you’ll be okay.) I made the pancakes this morning, they are in the fridge now, and I can toast them at Diane's to crisp them back up a bit. As for the rest of the day, there should be fruit at the race's finish, and at pretty much any restaurant I can order a salad & grilled chicken, so, truly: no problem!!

Whole 30: Day 1

So you probably know that I already eat pretty dang healthy, but I have an issue I must fix pronto: bad acne. I have a chin full of cysts and want to cry every time I look in the mirror. That's no way to live. I've already deduced that dairy causes acne, and I've been avoiding it since September (a tough challenge, that). However, there's something else that has been causing acne again for the last month, and I have not figured it out. Yesterday I committed to a diet eliminating nuts, fake sugar, gluten, all supplements other than FiberSmart (still having digestive issues), and, hardest of all, jerky & smoked meats. Once my skin is clear, I will start adding things back one by one.

That was yesterday's plan. Today I discovered this site and now THAT is my new plan.

In short: whole foods only; no added sugar (real or artificial); no processed foods; no alcohol; no grains; no legumes; no dairy; no white potatoes. No cheat meals, no splurges, no exceptions.

I'm allowing myself ONE exception only: pre-race kettle corn, tomorrow. (Yes, already on day 2, ha!) It's my one racing tradition that so far has provide me with a Boston-qualifying marathon, & an age-group-winning 5k! I certainly can't stop it now, when the 7k time goal could potentially put me in the top 3 of my age group. And I will continue to weigh myself but only because I'm not going to focus on it. The fat loss side effect should be awesome, but at this point it's all about the acne.

Other than those exceptions, I'm fully committed to this. It's killing my brain to hate seeing my face every day; it's affecting me far more than the stalled fat loss, because that I can understand & temporarily accept (it will return once tax season ends, just 32 more days). It's not going to be easy, but as the site says:

It is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Giving up heroin is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard. You won’t get any coddling, and you won’t get any sympathy for your “struggles.” YOU HAVE NO EXCUSE not to complete the program as written. It’s only thirty days, and it’s for the most important cause on earth – the only physical body you will ever have in this lifetime.

I also will use this challenge as a prompt for another challenge: 30 days of blogging. For reals. Daily. Hence the new home on blogspot (much more user-friendly). Once again, I'll point out you can see my food logs here on SparkPeople, but I'll also share my daily food plan & report here.

Today's food plan (subject to change, will report back tomorrow): 615a-fried egg, 2 slices organic bacon, c eggplant, c decaf coffee, FiberSmart; 7a-c decaf coffee; 730a-c regular coffee w/ t cinnamon; 1030a-homemade soup (ground turkey, cabbage, mushroom, onion, tomato), small apple; 130p-small apple; 230p-salad (spinach, carrot, celery, cauliflower, sweet peppers) w/ HB egg, balsamic vinegar; 630p-5oz pork ribs w/ baked apple, FiberSmart
TOTALS: 1257 cal, 59g fat (19 sat), 105g carbs (26 fiber), 84g protein (I'm not going to note it daily, but I always drink a ton of water. Generally a full gallon per day.)

This is actually very low calorie for me (maintenance is ~1900-2000), and far too low on protein (daily goal of 120g+). But I wasn't properly prepared for cutting out the jerky & smoked meats and I didn't think I'd come in this low today. It will be enough to survive, particularly since this is a rest day, but this is certainly not a standard day for me.

A few comments on the outlawed foods:
-No added sugar (real or artificial) - not a big deal, something I already decided to do for the acne. But there's so many places this is hidden that you might not think of, like gum.
-No processed foods - again not a big deal, except that I haven't even opened the rice milk I just purchased.
-No alcohol - no problem. I was an idiot who earned a DUI last May, and I've had zero desire to drink since then. I've had all of two beers in the last 10.5 months, and only because it was the sole beverage offered after the Mud Run, no other options (not even water).
-No grains - on a daily basis, no big deal, but my splurges have almost always been bread. I. Freaking. Love. Bread. But I can go without for 30 days. Also, kettle corn falls into this category. Not something I indulge in often, but it's a pre-race requirement, sorry.
-No legumes - I've already been avoiding peanuts & peanut butter as an acne test. And trying to avoid soy, but that shit is EVERYWHERE, yo. But eliminating processed foods pretty much takes care of that problem.
-No dairy - no problem. Except when eating out. I have learned to suspect butter everywhere. My go-to solution for restaurants is salads; thre's no cooking with hidden milk/butter so I know exactly what I'm getting, and I can get plenty of protein & veggies this way.
-No white potatoes - no problem, a rare food for me already.

Since it's not that far off my "Dustin diet" I don't think this will take a lot more effort. The biggest challenge I foresee is the eliminated of all splurging. But for the potential payoff of clear skin and liking my face again? Totally worth the sacrifice.

New Blog Home!

This blog is an upgrade from the very simplistic blog I started on SparkPeople, which you can find here.