Reading Recommendations

EliteFTS had some good reads this week. Check 'em out!

Ladies, do you want to know why you need strength training? Read this:
Strong(her) University: The Female Psyche (part 1)

We were born to move: Evolution & Exercise

For my fellow NSS athletes who have experienced Prowler fun: Life Lessons From the Prowler

Book Review: How to Eat Like a Tree

How to Eat Like a Tree: Unearthing the Moderate Eater in You
 - by Dara Boland

If you're a gardener or a tree hugger, you'll enjoy this book. It's handwritten & illustrated, and it's laid out according to how you might plant a tree (consider the climate, choose the site, etc). It's got a lot of good tips, but what I liked best about it was how it resonated with me at the time. It focuses on balance, on eating for both life and enjoyment, without binges or guilt or deprivation. 

The top tips I got out of it:
  •  Consider the Climate:  
    • Observe your life. Take note of the things stressing you and how they affect your eating. Consider the things you are capable of changing. 
    • Set the table. Eat slowly, savoring every single bite. Try to eat like you did as a child.
  • Choose the Site:
    • Make a list of the things you enjoy in life (big or small) and how often you indulge in them. Add more time for these positive things! Even if it's just 10 minutes of quiet time to read, or walk, or sip your morning coffee while petting your cat.
    • If we do not indulge in these enjoyable things, that's when we tend to binge.
    • Food guilt (a big one for me): as long as you have eaten in a conscious manner (selecting what you really want and enjoying every bite) then you have taken in calories wisely because you have filled a void.Your internal need for comfort food has been filled, and you can move on.
    • After a binge, do not beat yourself up. Instead, add something else comforting, such as curling up with a book, watching your favorite movie, snuggling under a blanket washed with extra fabric softener, curling up with your pooch. Adding a positive every time can eventually lead you to select the non-food positive instead of a food binge the next time you have an emotional trigger.
  • Break Ground
    • Keep a daily journal of how you feel, and what you eat. Be detailed. Soon you'll see how your emotions affect your eating, and you'll find your own custom strategies to make healthier choices.
    • Don't focus on removing negatives. Focus on adding positives habits that will eventually "crowd out" the negatives.
  • Dig Shallow & Wide
    • Make a list of your 10 favorite people, activities, places, things - compare to what you actually do. Make a list of your 10 favorite foods - compare to what you actually eat.
    • When you are lacking in one place, you overload in another, to achieve a balance of some sorts; likely not the balance you want (otherwise you wouldn't be reading this).
    • The more you can add of the things you love to do, the less you will turn to food to achieve that balance. Or, the less food you will need (no more binges required!) to return to a fulfilled state of mind.
  • Prepare the Soil
    • Find a physical activity you love. If you hate running, don't do it. If you love long walks, do that. If you love group fitness classes, do those. If  you don't like anything, keep looking. There is something for everyone!
  • Add Organic Matter
    • Focus on drinking lots of water and eating more healthy vegetables & fruits at every meal or snack; don't worry about removing your wine or chips. Focus on adding positives.
    • Forget about weight loss. Instead, focus on weight management. Learn how you're going to eat for the rest of your life.
    • Experiment with new recipes & foods; shop the organic vegetables, buy fresh herbs, visit your local farmer's market. Try something new.
  • Mulch to Protect
    • Daily habits add up. The best metaphor: it's like pulling a weed or two every single day.
    • Allow yourself food indulgences when required, but include daily non-food indulgences as well. 
      • Winter weekend mornings may call for blueberry pancakes, but perhaps an hour outside sledding with the kids will be just as bucket-filling. Or? Do both.
      • A summer evening on the patio with a glass of wine might be just the ticket to ease you from work stress to Friday-evening relaxation. But then perhaps you can follow it with a hike in the park on Saturday morning to reconnect you to nature and invigorate your energy for the weekend!
For me personally, this particular quote really hit home: "Do not be afraid to plateau once in a while. Plan for it. Even the wildest of oceans are placid at times." During tax season, I not only hit a plateau, I went totally backward. And that's okay. I learned many lessons during that time.

Here's an example of how I'm applying this book's lessons while I battle my running pain: I know that I can't go run 24 miles this weekend. I probably can't even run 2. So instead, I'm planning all of these wonderful things to please my brain:
  • Today: Spartacus workout at lunch. Joining Amy for a hike tonight at Lake Carlos State Park.
  • Saturday: 10am workout with Amy. Parking my bike in the bike rack at work, to be left there all summer for easy access. Visiting the library after the workout.
  • Sunday: 10am workout with Amy. Make a bunch of healthy meals. Supper with tax firm coworkers.
  • Timing that depends on the weather: Read. Work on filing pile in 15-minute chunks. Go for a bike ride. Play in the dirt, in my flower gardens and maybe my mom's as well. Bring the cats outside to eat grass and roll in the dirt!

Body Fat Beatdown: Day 11

A successful day from a fat-loss perspective. Brain was fairly low over the foot, but personal training gave me a little mid-day boost, as did the sunshine, and participating in a fashion show after work was also quite fun (though it was a total bummer that it kept me inside on an absolutely beautiful spring evening).

530a-2 fried eggs, 3 slices bacon, c regular coffee, FiberSmart, dandelion root, zinc, fish oil, acidophilus, probiotics, magnesium
830a-1.5c regular coffee , c blackberries, 1/3c raspberries, acidophilus, probiotics
1045a-4oz pollock w/ 2T pineapple chipotle salsa, acidophilus, probiotics
115p (PWO)-4oz pollock w/ 2T pineapple chipotle salsa, c sweet potato w/ 2T apple butter, acidophilus, probiotics, dandelion root
3p-small grapefruit
330p-8oz pollock w/ 2T pineapple chipotle salsa, 1.5c decaf coffee, acidophilus, probiotics
5p-chicken sausage
6p-chicken sausage, zinc, acidophilus, probiotics, dandelion root, vit D
930p-fish oil, magnesium
TOTALS: 1267 calories, 50g fat (18 sat), 104g carbs (18 fiber), 111g protein

I wasn't even feeling deprived despite the boring menu. Fish is amazingly healthy: low-cal, carb-free, high-protein - you can only go wrong if you prepare it wrong. Cooked without any kind of oil, then topped with a fruity salsa, this was awesome!

And I'm planning a similar day today, since there is no need to carb up for any long runs this weekend. Sadface!

However, the awfulness of the tornadoes down south have given me quite a lot of perspective. I'm otherwise healthy, have shelter, have food - as do all my loved ones. Blessings counted.

Body Fat Beatdown: Day 10

Ugh, still struggling. My CFO found a minor, but obvious mistake I made. Then I found another minor mistake I had to tell him about. And a coworker found a couple more mistakes. Clearly my head was completely up my ass during the second week of April. Mother Nature is a bitch who is giving us SNOW on APRIL 27 which canceled a big weekend racing special. And finally, my stupid fucking foot limited me to one tiny short half mile on the lame-ass dreadmill tonight and pretty well killed my hopes for Fargo.

And all after I was feeling so surprisingly well this morning...such is life. Sometimes you're the windshield, and alla that. Just learn from every day, and keep trying, and that's really all you can do. PERSPECTIVE.

530a-3oz chicken, 1.5c broccoli, .25c mushrooms, c regular coffee, FiberSmart, dandelion root, zinc, fish oil, acidophilus, probiotics
630a-c decaf coffee
730a-1.5c regular coffee
9a-2oz pork roast, 2 slices mango, 1 strawberry, acidophilus, probiotics
1145a-2c iceberg, 3 cucumber slices, 5 baby carrots, 6 grape tomatoes, 2T balsamic vinegar, beef patty, c sauteed onions & mushrooms, 4c regular coffee, acidophilus, probiotics, dandelion root
4p-oz smoked turkey, .5c strawberries
6p-3oz pork roast, 2c Brussels sprouts, T balsamic vinegar, c decaf coffee (should've stopped here), med pear, 4oz smoked turkey, 6 dried apricots, 6 Brazil nuts, zinc, acidophilus, probiotics, fish oil, dandelion root
TOTALS: 1915 calories, 97g fat (26 sat), 117g carbs (34 fiber), 131g protein

This was supposed to be a low day. Like 1200-1300 calories low. But how about some victories anyway (I really need this today):
  • Breakfast
    • No egg, so I couldn't have my usual favorite breakfast, but I ate a "lunch/dinner" meal easily.
  • Lunch (provided at a meeting)
    • Easily passed on salad dressing because I'd brought my vinegar.
    • Easily passed on burger bun & cheese & condiments, and dessert.
  • Dinner
    • When feeling snacky & bingey, I made good choices (all whole foods w/ some respectable nutrition make-up).
  • Misc
    • Skipped an 11am snack since lunch was coming early.
    • Cooked up 6 servings up Alaskan Pollock tonight.
    • Binged but still only came in at 1915 calories.

Book Review: Mindless Eating

Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think
 - by Brian Wansink, Ph.D.

This book was a great read! Lots of interesting experiments illustrating how our minds work (or don't) when it comes to food.

One quick example: people at a movie theater were given free popcorn in either medium or large sizes. Those with the larger size ate, on average, 173 more calories. The point of the experiment was to show that people will automatically eat more from a larger supply. But to me, this was the craziest part: the popcorn? Was stale, 5-day old popcorn! Yet people kept on taking handful after handful. They might set it down, but after a while, they'd sneak those hands right back in for more. Mindless!

Here are my top tidbits from the book:
  • The author refers to the "Mindless Margin" which is 100 calories more or less than weight maintenance. Eat just 100 extra calories per day, and you'll gain a pound a year. But eat just 100 fewer calories, and you'll lose a pound a year. And 100 calories is so little as to be considered mindless. The 100 extra can come from a handful of M&Ms. The 100 fewer can be a larger portion of your plate devoted to green vegetables instead of carbs, or skipping cheese on your burger.
  • Dish out your food; never ever ever eat from the package. Extra especially important if you eat while reading, watching TV, internetting, etc. When multi-tasking, you're almost guaranteed to eat everything in front of you. Make sure what's in front of you is one reasonable serving.
  • Do not serve meals family-style. Dish up your plate, and leave the pans & bowls of remaining food in the kitchen or over on the counter. It's easy to eat another spoonful when it's right in front of you. If you have to stand up & move to get it, it's less likely to happen.
  • Dish out 20% less than you think you'll eat. You can go back for more if you're still hungry, but chances are good you'll be satisfied with 80%.
  • Smaller plates really do lead to smaller servings. Or rather, the opposite is more true: the larger the plate, the larger the serving size you will take. 
  • And not just the plate you're eating off, but also the serving dish! Another experiment provided 2 large bowls of snacks vs 4 smaller bowls, same total quantity. People took significantly less of the snacks in the room with smaller bowls. A big problem if you shop at warehouse grocery stores.
  • The more variety you have to choose from, the more you'll eat. Think about holiday desserts. If there are 3, you want to try small pieces of all 3. But if there were just one, you'd likely be just as satisfied with a small piece of 1.
  • Don't keep going back for more at a buffet. Literally take everything you think you'll eat. This in-your-face display will make you think twice about the quantity you're eating. Another experiment was wings: when servers did not clear away the bones, people ate 28% fewer wings than those who had zero visual reminder of how many they'd already downed. (Kind of like if you lined up all your empty beer bottles and realized you certainly had more than the 2-3 you stopped for.)
  • Kids:
    • When kids know there is more of a food, they automatically report feeling hungrier, deprived, and want more. For example, if you give little Sabrina 2 cookies, and she sees the rest of the package, she's going to want more. But if you had pre-divided the cookies into bags or containers of 2 cookies each when you purchased them, and so now that was all she saw, she's far more likely to be content with her 2.
    • Do you best not to use food as reward ("you get ice cream if you ace your test"), or punishment ("no TV unless you finish your veggies"), or guilt ("there are starving kids in China, clean your plate!"), or comfort ("this cookie will make you feel better").
    • Get creative with food. One daycare center had kids who loved broccoli and thought it was cool. Why? Turns out one of the kids' mothers described it as "dinosaur trees"!
    • Put snacks in hard-to access locations. Top shelf, back of the pantry. Up-front items should be the healthiest of choices.
      • I'm pretty sure these tips don't just apply to kids.
  • Lots of talk about comfort food and working on distinguishing between emotional and physical hunger. 
    • When you must indulge, see if you can't make some minor substitutions. Instead of a bowl of ice cream drowning in syrup, maybe you can reduce or eliminate the syrup and instead load it with strawberries.
    • Next time you're going to indulge in a treat food, consider the calorie count and ask yourself if it's worth the amount of exercise it will take to burn it off. Is a caramel worth running a mile for? Maybe. Maybe not. Just take a second to stop & ask.
    • Or try this strategy when you find yourself staring into the fridge, then the cupboard, back to fridge, feeling snacky without being hungry: say to yourself out loud, "I'm not hungry, but I'm going to eat this anyway." Again, it might work, it might not. Even if it only works 1/3 the time, isn't that better than what you're doing now?
  • We all know fast food is bad. Never go there, right? Or if you must, pick Subway. Or if you can't, get a salad. Not always that simple, my friend!
    • People at Subway regularly think they are eating healthier than they actually are. They see a "health halo" over everything on the menu and forget that Jared doesn't recommend cheese or mayo or footlongs or cold cut combos.
    • Fast food salads are often loaded with cheese & dressing, or huge portions, so consider whether it's truly a healthy choice!
    • If you're jonesing for a burger & fries & shake and dammit, nothing else will do, get the kids' size. You're going to be just as satisfied without beating yourself up over it so badly because  you're likely halving the calories!
  • Pick one goal to work on at a time. Then create three simple daily habits to help you achieve this goal in a mindless fashion. You can find specific advice on this here and even get a daily-goal checklist here!
Okay, that was an awful lot of tips. I like thorough book reports! I highly recommend reading this book to see what other strategies you can pick up and apply to your own life. It's available at the Douglas County Library!

Body Fat Beatdown: Days 8 & 9

Monday, day 8:
A tough day. I got in a Spartacus workout first thing in the morning to try to soothe my brain over the week's calories, but I was pretty damn depressed over the foot. I went very low with my calories, again in an effort to feel like I had some control over my eating again, and I felt physically fine all day at this level!

Food details:
5a-fried egg, 2 slices bacon, c regular coffee, FiberSmart, acidophilus, probiotics, dandelion root, vitamin D, zinc, fish oil
6a-c regular coffee
730a (PWO)-oz smoked turkey, slice pineapple, 1.5c regular coffee, acidophilus, probiotics
830a-1.5c decaf coffee
11a-oz smoked turkey, oz pork roast,acidophilus, probiotics
1230p (restaurant)-chef salad (no cheese/dressing), 3c regular coffee, acidophilus, probiotics
3p-medium apple, acidophilus, probiotics
530p (pre-run attempt)-2 dried apricots, 3 Brazil nuts
630p-raw veg (peas, radishes, peppers, kohlrabi) w/ mockamole
7p-3oz chicken (marinated in a delicious Cuban mojo sauce [bottled]), c green beans, acidophilus, probiotics, dandelion root, zinc, fish oil, FiberSmart
TOTALS: 1009 cal, 46g fat (11 sat), 65g carbs (21 fiber), 81g protein

Tuesday, day 9
Mentally I was still tanked, over the foot. But physically, I felt fairly good despite poor sleep. I had a team post-audit celebration that lifted my mood (because my coworkers are beyond fantastic), then had a wonderful session with Dustin. On top of hitting a PR of 12 pull-ups, he reminded me to keep the foot pain in persepective. Totally the word of the day (week, month) for me. He reminded me that I'm not running for Fargo, I'm not running for 3:20 at all costs, I'm not running for next Boston. I'm running for the rest of my life. A little one-month hiccup in that many-yeared schedule is small potatoes, and I need to stop viewing all my issues under a microscope. Step back, find some perspective. Breathe. Enjoy what is going well (namely, my sessions with him are fucking phenomenal) and address the controllables in what is not going well. Move forward.

I had another PT appointment in the afternoon, where James said to keep doing what I'm doing, and that the issue is neither surprising nor totally uncommon. So that's positive, though not as brightly positive as I'd hoped. I'll take what I can get though! I left there feeling much better about everything. Perspective obtained.

In the evening, I took my godchild out for her 12th birthday, just the two of us. We went to an authentic Mexican restaurant in Melrose, El Portal, where I confess that I indulged in tortilla chips. Warm non-salty corn chips provided with two kinds of fresh salsa? No willpower in sight. LOVE. I had to scrutinize everything on the menu to find something that wasn't cheese-covered, so I wouldn't have to make too many demands. I went with a steak fajita, devoured the steak & peppers & onions w/ guacamole (fantastic), ate one tortilla (not worth it), and easily passed the rice & refried beans (though I love refried beans). Their coffee was amazing; it had the lightest of cinnamon flavor - pretty sure I had 4 cups of regular, no wonder I struggled to sleep! And the birthday girl was given a giant scoop of fried ice cream, over which I practically drooled. Instead I ate more addictive chips - love/hate the dairy allergy!

Anyway, after supper we stopped & bought ice cream cones for her family. I used to work for her parents (even another 4 years after I divorced her uncle) so it was quite wonderful to see everyone again & catch up. It was after 10 when I left, but my bucket was absolutely filled and it was entirely worth it.

Food details:
530a-2 fried eggs, chicken sausage, c regular coffee, fish oil, zinc, FiberSmart, acidophilus, probiotics, dandelion root, vitamin D
615a-c decaf coffee
7a-1.5c regular coffee
830a-1.5c regular coffee, 2 slices pineapple, chicken sausage
1030a (team celebration)-.5c cantaloupe, .5c pineapple, .5c strawberries, chicken sausage (ate right before)
115p (PWO)-chicken thigh & wing (with skin), c cooked cabbage, dandelion foot, 1.5c decaf coffee
430p-3oz chicken breast, c cooked broccoli, acidophilus/probiotics
630p-oz tortilla chips, 6T salsa, steak fajita w/ peppers & onions (one 6" flour tortilla), 2T guacamole, 4c regular coffee, dandelion root, acidpohilus, probiotics, zinc, FiberSmart
TOTALS: 2088 calories, 108g fat (33 sat), 107g carbs (19 fiber), 167g protein

This was a planned high day, but should've been around 1900. But it's easy to adjust for today. I want to break down supper for you, just to illustrate the importance of choosing your calories wisely:
546 cal: steak, peppers, onions
140 cal: serving chips
30 cal: 6T salsa
52 cal: 2T guacamole
104 cal: flour tortilla (the only item that was absolutely not worth it)

Body Fat Beatdown: Days 5-7

For me, the lack of posting is usually a sign that things have gone off-track...which they most certainly did.

Friday, day 5:
Started out so high, with 8 consecutive chin-ups for the first time since 11/30, right before life tanked. Did a Spartacus workout at lunch (love this) and felt super strong. Ate very well all day. Decided I should push my long run attempt back to Sunday so I could run in some much-needed SUNSHINE.

And then? I went home, ate my healthy supper, then binged on Sunbutter. And honestly don't know how it happened. I thought I was dealing well with the foot pain and my assorted issues, but clearly: not. I have discovered that Sunbutter sells individual-serving packets so I'm going to buy those ONLY so that I can no longer binge.

After the binge, I felt pretty awful, both physically and mentally. At 9pm I went out with the hubster to join my brother & cousin, who I rarely see. Being my big brother's birthday, I thought I could handle going to the bar just a block away and hanging out with drunks, while sober. It was fun, and I felt like it put my brain on the right track again.

Food details:
6a-fried egg, 3 sausages, fish oil, zinc, vitamin D, acidophilus, probiotics, dandelion root
730a-1.5c regular coffee
9a-1.5c regular coffee, 50g freeze-dried grapes, acidophilus, probiotics
1045a-1.5c green beans, 3oz smoked turkey, acidophilus, probiotics
1p (PWO)-chicken w/ carrots & sweet potato, acidophilus, probiotics
330p-3oz smoked turkey, 8oz snap peas, acidophilus, probiotics
6p-chicken w/ carrots & sweet potato, acidophilus, probiotics, fish oil, zinc
7p-4T Sunbutter
TOTALS: 2214 calories, 97g fat (20 sat), 212g carbs (36 fiber), 142g protein

Saturday, day 6:
Couldn't sleep in because I'm wired to wake up at 6 (even though I went to bed at midnight-ugh!) so I ate breakfast & read for a bit, then went back to bed for another two hours. Brain had improved to where I attempted chin-ups, but I only managed 5 (was SORE, likely from Spartacus).

Spent the day with my husband. We hit a pawn shop, Famous Dave's* (where I enjoyed the fuck out of my long-planned full slab of babyback ribs!), Scheel's, the rest of the mall, Great Northern Unclaimed Freight, and Gopher Bargain Center. Basically, we just killed time, but it was fun! At home I did my Sunday chores, attempted homemade mayo (ugh, not good, I made some unfortunate oil-substitution decisions) & mockamole (guacamole, made with asparagus rather than avocado - success!), and was otherwise lazy, resting up for a potential long run Sunday morning. My digestive system was decidedly NOT doing well, and that left me feeling fairly awful all afternoon/eve.

Food details:
6a-paleo pancakes, c blackberries, 2 sausages, c decaf, fish oil, zinc, vitamin D, acidophilus, probiotics, dandelion root, magnesium
9a-3oz turkey, 6 dried apricots, 2 cold sausages, 2c decaf coffee, acidophilus, probiotics
10a-1.5c regular coffee
1230p-8 babyback ribs, c green beans, dandelion root, acidophilus, probiotics
3p-3oz smoked turkey, 2 dried apricots, acidophilus, probiotics
4p-c regular coffee, 4 Brazil nuts
6p-4 babyback ribs, medium apple, acidophilus, probiotics, fish oil, zinc
9p-magnesium, aloe, 2 Benadryl
TOTALS: 2676 calories, 144g fat (15 sat), 160g carbs (17 fiber), 141g protein

Just imagine how much higher my tallies would've been had I ate my cornbread muffin or fries or baked beans (ideal sides, to me). Or dessert or an appetizer! Restaurants can KILL your fat loss plans. A good strategy: look at the menu's nutrition ahead of time, so you can clearly see the calories and decide what may be worth indulging in, and what's definitely not.

*Famous Dave's side note: their corn cobs & broccoli are not available dairy-free. WTF? Apparently they live in a butter bath, and it's not possible for them to give me an unbuttered version. SERIOUSLY? Chain restaurants suck. I will grant them this: their Firecracker Green Beans were dairy-free, and delicious. But my only other non-dairy side option was fries. No, thank you!

Sunday, day 7:
Got up feeling fairly good, but then I had yet another run failure. No good for the brain, I really tanked. Tried to tell myself not to overeat, instead to undereat to make up for the unburned 2100 calories, but I couldn't do it, not when provided smoked turkey & pork roast, sweet potatoes - all my favorite things, in Whole30-approved form. Ah, holidays. I did go on an afternoon walk with my mom, but more to soak up some sunshine than to get real exercise, as it was only a mile or so. I tried to spend the day NOT talking about or thinking about my foot pain, but to just shut up and enjoy the holiday. However, on top of foot pain, I was also feeling digestively awful, and it just wasn't a good day. I wanted to curl up in the corner of the shower and bawl like an infant.

Food details:
7a-2 fried eggs, 4 sausages, c regular coffee, fish oil, zinc, vitamin D, acidophilus, probiotics
8a-c regular coffee
830a (pre-run attempt)-2 Brazil nuts, 2 apricots
12p lunch/grazing-5 water chestnuts wrapped in bacon, 2oz turkey, 2oz pork roast, half sweet potato w/ homemade apple butter, raw vegetables & mockamole & hummus, spinach salad w/ berries, 4 deviled eggs, slice pineapple, 3c regular coffee, acidophilus, probiotics, dandelion root
330p-2oz turkey, 2oz pork roast, acidophilus, probiotics
530p-1.5 bratwursts, 4 deviled eggs, 5 water chestnuts wrapped in bacon, acidophilus, probiotics, dandelion root
7p-medium apple, fish oil
8p-magnesium, aloe, 2 Benadryl
TOTALS: 2653 calories, 158g fat (54 sat), 165g carbs (26 fiber), 139g protein

And I'll catch you up soon on the next two days...right now I'm off to take my godchild out for her 12th birthday, just her & me, no parents!

Body Fat Beatdown: Days 3 & 4

Body fat beatdown is going very well! It's absolutely amazing how much better I feel now that tax season has ended. This week I've (a) had to deal with a recurrence of a running pain and NOT RUNNING, and also (b) been on the low end of my "enough sleep" range - and yet I feel fantastic. During tax season, this one-two punch would have beat me down and tossed me out into a snowbank in a messy, snotty heap of tears.

Top lesson for you: when stress is high, give yourself as much sleep as you possibly can. You are probably really busy and don't think you can add any more time, right? But even half an hour can make a big, big difference. Watch less TV; lower the cleanliness standards for your house (or hire someone to come in once a month to get the "deep clean" stuff); dial back a little bit on your social life (but don't ignore all your friends); pre-make food over the weekend to save time on weekdays...lots of options. Quality sleep during a high-stress time can make all the difference for your mental and physical health.

I intend to get some acne progress pictures up and do a little summary on Whole30 food discoveries, but I don't know how soon that will happen. It would seem that once tax season ended I decided I had time for everything and everyone. It's almost overwhelming, but all of my plans are FUN so I'm riding out the busy-ness with ease!

Food details (for those of you who obsess like me, or those of you who just want ideas on what the hell to eat when focusing on fat loss):

Wednesday, a low-cal, low-carb day:
615a-fried egg, 3 sausages, fish oil, zinc, vitamin D, acidophilus, dandelion root, probiotics
745a-1.5c regular coffee
9a-chicken sausage, acidophilus, probiotics
11a-chicken sausage, acidophilus, probiotics
1p (PWO)-2 chicken sausage, c dandelion greens, acidophilus, probiotics, dandelion root
3p-1.5c decaf coffee
330p-chicken sausage, acidophilus, probiotics
630p (supper out at wine bar w/ friends)-5oz chicken, .25c Brussels sprouts, .25c mushrooms, 6c decaf coffee, 2 black olives, 2 tiny grapes, probiotics, acidophilus, dandelion root
830p-fish oil, magnesium, zinc
TOTALS: 1038 calories, 59g fat (20 sat), 20g carbs (5 fiber), 106g protein
REPORT: This would have been very hard to do during tax season. But with quality sleep and a happy brain, it was not a problem!

Thursday, a high-cal, high-carb day:
615a-fried egg, 3 sausages, c yams, fish oil, zinc, vitamin D, acidophilus, dandelion root, probiotics
8a-1.5c regular coffee
9a-small apple, acidophilus, probiotics, 1.5c regular coffee
11a-medium pear
1p (PWO)-3oz chicken w/ carrots, sweet potato, & honey mustard, acidophilus, probiotics
330p-salad/ balsamic vinegar, acidophilus, probiotics
630p-3oz chicken wrapped in 2 slices bacon & topped with T honey mustard, yam w/ T sweet potato butter, probiotics, acidophilus, dandelion root, fish oil, zinc
7p-small apple, T Sunbutter
TOTALS: 1729 calories, 66g fat (19 sat), 234g carbs (38 fiber), 70g protein
REPORT: Huge victory on the single tablespoon of Sunbutter!! I put a T on a plate and put the rest back in the fridge, then cut up my apple. Then when I was done eating it, I immediatley left the room - success! My calories actually could have gone up to 1900 so that's an extra huge victory for this nut-butter-binger. Go me!! I was way too low on protein, but that's because my snack stock at work was all carbs: poor planning. But since it's so rare, no worries.

Recipe for Honey Mustard Roasted Chicken - but Hop made it with sweet potatoes to make it Whole30-approved. Next time I'd drastically cut the garlic (perhaps leave it out altogether) and add sweet onion instead. Otherwise, it was sheer deliciousness, and I'm eating it again today after my Spartacus workout!

Body Fat Beatdown: Days 1 & 2

Dig it, a new challenge already!

In addition to the ongoing testing for allergies, I am spending the next 6 weeks in body-fat beatdown phase. Now that tax season has ended, it is time for my brain to do something with a little ferocity.

I'm getting serious with the calories and creating a deficit. My maintenance level is around 1900 calories, which is where I've been eating the last two months. My goal for this week is to hit 1800. Not a large drop, and it's not going to be a big weight drop either. But what I learned from last year's dieting with Dustin is that there's no reason to jump to a drastically low level. Yes, results will come more quickly, but you might just fuck up your metabolism for the long term, and who wants that? Not this chica. So I'll start like I did last summer: drop 100 calories and see what happens. Cycle my intake so that carbs & calories are both higher on days with Dustin or long runs. Otherwise, as low as I can go without feeling like ass. Sounds fun, right? Well, the results sure are!

It's also a new season: pull-ups season!! I'm doing a set of AMAP (as many as possible) nonstop pull-ups or chin-ups (alternating) every morning and night, except in the 24 hours before my sessions with Dustin. I actually started this last week, and I already added 1 pull-up to my best ever: 11 pull-ups, hot damn!! However, my updated goal is 10 nonstop pull-ups - enough of hitching out those last singles. Drop some pounds and keep up the regular sets, and I'm practically guaranteed to hit 10 in 6 weeks.

I started on Monday, so here are some nutrition details:

6a-fried egg, chicken sausage, fish oil, c decaf coffee, zinc, dandelion root, vitamin D, acidophilus
715a-c decaf coffee
8a-1.5c regular coffee
9a-4oz Alaska Pollock, small apple
10a-1.5c regular coffee
11a-4oz pollock, hard-boiled egg
1p-8oz bay scallops w/ t garlic oil, small apple, dandelion root, acidphilus, 2 fish oil
4p-8oz pollock
5p-1.5c decaf coffee, oz smoked turkey breast
6p-5oz smoked turkey breast, acidophilus, dandelion root
930p-fish oil, zinc, magnesium, aloe
TOTALS: 1239 calories, 36g fat (9 sat), 65g carbs (9 fiber), 168g protein
REPORT: Not a good-food day. Pollock = ick, but I forced it down. The smoked turkey breast was eaten while watching 3 friends eat a delicious-looking 3-meat Papa Murphy's pizza. Had I not had something delicious to eat myself, I would have really struggled, but it wasn't so bad.

6a-2 fried eggs, 4 sausage links, c decaf coffee, fish oil, zinc, dandelion root, vitamin D, acidophilus, small apple, 2s Sunbutter
7a-c decaf coffee
730a-1.5c regular coffee
845a-2c cooked carrots, 1.5c decaf coffee
11a-50g freeze-fried grapes, acidophilus
115p (PWO)-50g freeze-dried grapes, pork & beef patty, dandelion root, acidphilus, 2 fish oil
330p-3oz smoked turkey, 4T salsa, 1.5c decaf coffee, acidpohilus
7p-3oz smoked turkey, .5c cooked carrots, 2c cooked asparagus w/ .5T balsamic vinegar, acidophilus, dandelion root, probiotics, zinc, fish oil
TOTALS: 1935 calories, 96g fat (26 sat), 147g carbs (31 fiber), 115g protein
REPORT: A planned high day, but breakfast was ridiculous due to state of my brain (resurfaced running pain on Monday) and the rest of the day had to be adapted to lowered calories to keep me in line. Not tough, though, as the grapes were incredibly tasty as was the turkey. And my digestive system is pissing me off to no end, so I bombarded it with [tasty!] fiber in the evening.

Whole30: A summary

The Whole30 plan promise:

This will change your life.
We cannot possibly put enough emphasis on this simple fact – the next 30 days will change your life. It will change the way you think about food, it will change your tastes, it will change your habits and your cravings. It could, quite possibly, change the emotional relationship you have with food, and with your body. It has the potential to change the way you eat for the rest of your life. We know this because we did it, and thousands of people have since done it, and it changed our lives (and their lives) in a very permanent fashion.

That sounds pretty dramatic, no? In my case, since I'd been eating "mostly" according to this plan already, I haven't seen any dramatic changes in the way I operate on a daily basis.

And yet, more and more, I've come to see this plan as a way of life, not a temporary diet. I see absolute sense in avoiding foods that are bad for you despite how good they taste. Why eat junk that tastes good for such a short, sweet moment, but have a lasting, detrimental impact on your health and your waistline?

Because it's not about depriving yourself of all the good things in life; once that addiction to junk disappears, you will realize there are plenty of wonderful whole foods that are better than those old "good things" by far. A bowl of fresh blueberries, a perfectly-done hot-off-the-grill steak, bacon, a colorful salad full of crunchy vegetables & zippy balsamic vinegar - these things are freaking awesome! A delicious, healthy, natural, whole-food meal can be just as satisfying as a delicious but unhealthy meal; "delicious" & "healthy" are not mutually-exclusive terms!

For the most part, my cravings have disappeared, except when my brain has been brought very low by other things. And I will confess that I've still not found a way to eat a single serving of a nut butter (unless we're talking one single serving after another). It's a huge trigger food for me; even when life is great and I'm feeling good, I can't stop at two tiny tablespoons of that salty, fatty, sweet deliciousness. My solution is to buy the single-serving packets only. I have hopes that some day I'll move past this need, but this is where I am today. Strategize!

Now, as to the results I was truly after: is my acne improved? Yes! It's not perfect skin, but it's skin I'd allow a running partner to see un-made-up (not the case a month ago).

But, a question remains: is the acne improvement due to the elimination of added sweeteners, processed foods, grains, legumes, & white potatoes - or is it due to the addition of a zinc supplement specifically targeting acne?

And that's a very good question. I'm testing it like so: zinc supplement remains at twice-daily intake level. Add back one non-Whole-30-approved food for 7 days, eating it daily, in small amounts - and see what happens. No reaction? Remove it and try something else. So clearly, this will be a long, ongoing process.

This week I'm testing soy: every morning I'm eating Banquet Brown n Serve sausages that contain added soy protein. (Not my first choice to test, but they were leftovers from our Relay for Life breakfast fundraiser last week, and so that's my easiest, cheapest option.)

Regardless of what food ends up being the acne trigger, my expectation is that I'll continue to follow the Whole30 guidelines most of the time, for the rest of my life. Like I said above, why fill my body with junk it does not want or need? But when I have a specific craving, or I'm at a birthday party, or whatever - unless I'm allergic, it's going to be okay if I indulge. But I'm talking once in a while - not daily, not weekly, and not junk I'll keep stocked in my house, either.

I'm an athlete. Food is fuel. Fuel is performance. And I want to perform the best I possibly can.

Whole30, Day 30!

Yes, I made it!! (Only a few teeny hiccups along the way.)

I'm super busy right now (still at the tax firm at 4:30pm, but very close to leaving!) so a full review of the program will have to wait until tomorrow, at the earliest...if then. Have a 10-mile morning run, supper with the in-laws, and many chores to do in between. I'll try to get something coherent together, but no promises!!

Quick take: I'm not quitting. Acne is still there, and until that's clear, I won't start adding anything back regularly. But today I had chicken drummies with bbq sauce at lunch, and there will be sauce on tonight's ribs; oh yes, there will be sauce!

Nutrition went a tiny bit higher than planned; added a small apple for some extra carbs to keep me going at the tax firm.
6a-fried egg, chicken sausage, c decaf coffee, zinc, magnesium, dandelion root, vitamin D, fish oil, acidophilus
715a-c decaf coffee
8a-1.5c regular coffee
9a-1.5c decaf, hard-boiled egg
11a-chicken sausage
1p (PWO)-salad w/ balsamic vinegar, hb egg, 2s bay scallops sauteed in garlic oil, acidophilus, 2 fish oil, dandelion root
330p-chicken sausage
530p-salad w/ balsamic vinegar, hb egg, 3oz pork/beef burger, small apple, zinc, acidophilus, dandelion root
930p-fish oil, magnesium
TOTALS: 1386 calories, 72g fat (22 sat), 63g carbs (13 fiber), 127g protein

Whole30, Day 29

Yesterday I was extremely snacky after supper, but I managed to contain it to grapes, which kept my calories in check. What caused this? I did a second strength workout (half hour w/ Amy at 5), which often sends my body into eat-eat-eat mode. Usually the snackiness is avoided by eating supper the second I get home, but my awesome husband's grilled beef & pork burgers and baked sweet potato fries weren't ready until 7pm. That's 3.5 hours after my last prior snack, and it meant I was home for almost a full hour before I got to eat. In retrospect, I should have just eaten some grapes as soon as I got home, but I was expecting to eat ONLY my planned burger/fries, no extras. However, after supper I stayed in the kitchen to make some pre-food, and almost every single time I do this, I end up snacking. I need to remember my weak points and create strategies!

Pre-food: I cooked up a package of my favorite chicken breakfast sausages, a package of regular-sized chicken sausage (both cooked in a pan holding some bacon grease - yum!), and a bag of bay scallops w/ a bit of garlic oil. Put food in pan, sit at table with book [optional: bag of grapes] and package up when done. Easy peasy!

Another tip to point out: I had a 1:30 appointment downtown, after I finished my session with Dustin at 1. This meant that again I needed a portable lunch. I had brought a container of chicken & vegetables, and the rest of my on-hand food was snacks. I really needed to get that 6oz of chicken eaten, but couldn't do it at lunch; and I extra especially needed it in the morning since my lunch would consist of small, snacky foods. So I ate 2/3 of that container at 9:45 (the other 1/3 after my 10-10:30am meeting). Once again, you need to be open minded; know what you need to eat as far as calories & macros, and eat whatever & however it works!

Yesterday in that half-hour break I did something really wonderful: I got a library card! I used to spend hours at the library as a kid. I have one vivid memory of biking there on a summer day, roughly 10 years old, checking out 10 books because I just couldn't narrow it down, having no bag with me (and no quarter to buy a bag), and awkwardly, dangerously riding home one-handed. I almost nose-planted myself right in front of the church only two blocks from home, but somehow I made it! And I definitely learned to bring a bag with me on future visits.

Anyway, I have a feeling my library visits fell off due to college burnout, though I certainly retained a love of reading, and have regularly spent who-knows-how-much money on books. I've decided to rekindle the romance and save money in the process! This is going to sound so stupid, but when I walked around the library, all I could think was, "This place is full of books and almost completely silent. I LOVE THIS." In my world, that is a perfect room. I'm so glad I finally went; I foresee many more visits there! I checked out three books (my limit as a first-timer): one on lung cancer (so Hop & I can understand more about what his dad will go through, without needing to ask a boatload of questions), and two about mindless/mindful eating. I can't wait to dig into those and find more strategies to share with you all!

All right, here are yesterday's full details:
6a-2 fried eggs, 4 (!) slices bacon, c decaf coffee, zinc, magnesium, dandelion root, vitamin D, fish oil
720a-c grapes, c decaf coffee
8a-1.5c regular coffee, acidophilus
945a-6oz chicken, .5c cooked spinach, .5c cooked dandelion greens, c cooked carrots
1p-2 chicken sausage, hard-boiled egg, small apple
330p-chicken sausage, med pear, 1.5c decaf coffee
5p-dandelion root, acidophilus, 2 fish oil (forgot to take at lunch)
7p-4oz pork/beef burger, c sweet potato fries, fried egg [in which to dip the fries!], 2c grapes, zinc, dandelion root, fish oil, acidophilus
TOTALS: 2105 calories, 108g fat (32 sat), 199g carbs (40 fiber), 128g protein

Today I'm adjusting my targeted calories down to 1324, because I slept well last night and my brain is in a really good place. I can do this! It will be a worthwhile sacrifice to ready myself for tomorrow's meat-based free-for-all at Famous Dave's. To celebrate the end of tax season, praise be to all the gods!! Have I made it clear yet that I'm very, very happy it's ending?

Whole30, Day 28

Four full weeks down! As far as acne goes, which was the main impetus behind trying this plan, it's much improved, but still not 100%. In fact, in the last two days it's gotten a bit worse. I'm not sure what's driving that; theories include the metric ton of nuts I ate Fri/Sat, or the unknowns in simply eating out on Saturday night (but plain lettuce & prime rib?) & Sunday (but a plain salad?). I feel like I'm going to be reduced to eating solely homegrown chicken and organic vegetables ONLY before I get clear skin. Le sigh. If that's what it comes to, I'll take it. After all, it could be worse; acne is not life-threatening nor costly nor even something others really see, but it's tough on my brain.

You know what? Let's put it into perspective: a father-in-law who turns 70 in three days, but was told yesterday he has cancer in both lungs and starts chemo next week. Happy fucking birthday!

I hate cancer. It's why I participate in the Relay for Life each year, and why I'm taking part, & recruiting others to join me, in the American Cancer Society's latest Cancer Prevention Study. It's incredibly simple: come to the Douglas County Relay on July 8th to sign up; fill out some paperwork, have blood drawn & waist measured; fill out a survey every 1-3 years for the next 20 years. And this small, simple act which only costs you a tiny bit of your time, may help to save thousands of lives. Why wouldn't you do it?

Okay, back to food talk. Here are the nutrition details for yesterday, which was a planned low day:
530a-fried egg, 2 slices bacon, c decaf coffee, zinc, magnesium, acidophilus, dandelion root, vitamin D, fish oil
7a-1.5c regular coffee
830a-1.5c regular coffee
845a-chicken sausage, tiny tangerine
11a-chicken sausage, tiny tangerine
1p (post-run)-3oz chicken, .5c cooked ea: spinach, green beans, cabbage, tomatoes, & broccoli, acidophilus, 2 fish oil, dandelion root
330p-chicken sausage
415p-3oz smoked turkey breast
530p-salad (1.5c spinach, .5c celery, large carrot, .4 bell pepper, .6oz snap peas) w/ 2T balsamic vinegar, chicken sausage, dandelion root, zinc
615p-chicken sausage, small apple
930p-fish oil, magnesium, 2 Benadryl
TOTALS: 1276 calories, 53g fat (17 sat), 78g carbs (21 fiber), 125g protein

Overall, pretty perfect for a low day. I ate frequently; the 4pm turkey was actually due to hunger, but the rest was just basic snackiness. At 830pm I was feeling snacky at the tax firm, and I nearly stole some soy-flavoring-coated almonds from a coworker's desk, but after looking at the clock, my inner mogwai easily won out over the snackiness. I'd rather feel deprived & unsatisfied than wide awake at 3am!

Again, I want to point out this tip: small fruit. It satisfies the brain's craving for sweetness, but at low calories!

Now, this for me is a VERY low-calorie day, and I did reasonably well until about 9pm, when my brain flat-out shut down. When I got home, where my door is always unlocked just for me by my sweet husband, I went to unlock the door. With the key for the tax firm. Which looks NOTHING like my house door. Brain. Dead.

A pattern I'm seeing here (it's a constant learning process, folks) is that I can do one low-calorie day easily enough, but I should expect to feel crappy or stupid or zombie-like unless it's book-ended by two nights of very solid sleep and two days of higher calories. I can do a second day later in the week, even just two days later, but that day in between must be high-calorie and high-carb, and again, quality & quantity of sleep is very important.

And here's something else: if I get in one nice low day (1200 range) I probably don't need another one that same week, provided the rest of my days are on target. If I'm going to have a very high day (due to a long run, or splurges, whatever), then I might need two low days. The key is to plan, plan, plan!

So my plan for this week is something almost anyone could manage, for an overall average of 1910:
Tuesday = 1931
Wednesday = 1276
Thursday = 1960
Friday  = 1600
Saturday = 3000*
Sunday = 2000**
Monday = 1600

*Famous Dave's supper to celebrate the end of tax season!!!
**10-mile run

Totally doable. I may even try to make Friday a lower day, but it depends on how well I sleep tonight.

Famous Dave's plan: I'm still going to follow Whole30 as best I can, passing on all the dairy- & grain-filled sides; but I'm going to eat meat, meat, meat, and I'm not going to worry about the sauces (likely to have soy). Sometimes you just want to indulge, and this will be one of those times!

Whole30, Day 27

Yesterday was another good day! Work went well, my training session was fantastic, I went grocery shopping with a fun coworker during work hours for a Relay for Life fundraiser, I fetched my own groceries after work and got some great deals on fish & shrimp, and I was able to get home by 5:30pm for a second straight night! You just can't beat all of that goodness.

Nutrition details for yesterday, a high day:
6a-2 fried eggs, 3 slices bacon, c decaf coffee, fish oil, zinc, magnesium, acidophilus, vitamin D
715a-c green tea
8a-1.5c regular coffee
9a-chicken sausage, small apple
11a-chicken sausage, 2c grapes
1p (PWO)-yam, 4T apple butter, chicken sausage, fish oil, acidophilus
330p-2 chicken sausage, tiny tangerine
6p-6oz chicken, 1.5c cooked carrots, .75c cooked spinach, .75c cooked dandelion greens, fish oil, magnesium, zinc, acidophilus
730p-.6oz walnuts, .4oz freeze-dried cranberries, c blackberries
930p-dandelion root, 2 Benadryl
TOTALS: 1931 cal, 90g fat (22 sat), 207g carbs (39 fiber), 122g protein

I had a few food challenges yesterday:
-Fundraiser grocery shopping was immediately after my workout, so I needed portable food. Chicken sausage goes anywhere, check; but I need some carbs after a lifting session, so what else can I eat? Easy: I microwaved a yam in the morning and pulled a container of the homemade apple butter out of the freezer. I wasn't driving, so there was no problem sitting in the passenger seat, dipping the yam into the apple butter. I have said this over and over: almost anything is portable!
-For some reason, I was hungrier than usual yesterday. Usually I don't even get hungry because I eat so very often. So when I fetched my afternoon snack, I took two sausages, knowing I had calories to spare in my plan. And when I got home, I was already hungry again, so I decided that rather than try to keep my high day on the lower end of the range, I would take it to the high end. Now, for most people it's easy to decide to eat more because you want to, but in this case it was my body telling me that I needed to eat more. The more attention you pay to your body and what you eat, the more you will learn to understand the different signals and react appropriately. Some days I will choose to ignore the need to eat more, and suffer the hunger pains for the goal of fat loss. As a general rule I'll eat more if it was a lifting day, since the calories are going to build muscle; but on a cardio day I fight it and force my body to tap into fat stores instead. (But I am human, and some days I just don't have the willpower to fight it. It happens; live & learn, forgive & move on.)
-On my own grocery-shopping trip, I very nearly went over to the nut butter section "just to look" as I told myself. But I knew I would buy something, likely the super incredibly delicious Justin's Maple Almond Butter that is flat-out irresistible and doesn't belong in my house. From somewhere, a tiny piece of willpower piped up and told me NOT to even go over to that section, since I still have that jar of Sunbutter in my cupboard, so I didn't even go there. Yay me!
-Here's a good idea if you are prone to nut butter binges like I am: if you have the cash to spare, you can purchase small packets of this brand (200-cal or 90-cal packs) and take willpower out of the equation. (Assuming, that is, you won't go back for another packet after indulging in one.) Side note: not Whole30-compliant, due to added sugar, and I'm not sure whether palm oil is okay.
-When I got home, my husband offered to make grilled burgers, but I had already plotted out chicken & vegetables for myself. I really debated the burger but I decided that I simply wasn't willing to trade the larger amount of planned food for one little burger. (I am still pretty impressed that I made this decision, because when doesn't a grilled burger sound flat-out awesome, much less the first grilled burger of the year?!) Hop was very clearly disappointed, and he asked me when I could eat burgers. Thursday is a high day, and as long as I know I'll eat a higher-calorie supper, it's very easy to eat lower during the day. So I told him Thursday, and then I also gave him a recipe for baked sweet potato fries, so he can make me an entire meal that's Whole30-compliant, healthy, and delicious besides!

And finally, here is a fantastic new discovery: Whole Life Eating is full of incredible-looking, delicious-sounding meals, all of which are Whole30-compliant. Once tax season ends (just 3.5 days away!!!!!) I may make it a goal to prepare one of these recipes every single week!

Whole30, Day 26

I was dragging yesterday, and I think that's due to Sunday's low calories, since my sleep was solid. So, I was a good little Dustin student and took a second rest day . . . holy crap, two rest days in a row! That is very rare, as I used to push myself to a daily (sometimes twice daily) workout no matter how much I was dragging. I have since learned to better listen to my body and understand that no matter how much I wish I were, I am not Wonder Woman. Though I'm pretty sure I could rock that outfit.

So because I was feeling so poorly and because I had the spare calories from the week prior, I boosted the day's intake, despite not working out. "Old" me would have kept the calories low without a workout, and just because I like to go low-cal on Monday to bring my weekly average as low as possible. I've really learned a lot during this difficult tax season about the importance of giving my body what it needs rather than simply what my brain wants! 

615a-fried egg, 6oz ham steak, .c decaf coffee, fish oil, dandelion root, magnesium, zinc, vitamin D
730a-c chai tea
8a-1.5c regular coffee
9a-3oz shrimp, 2T salsa, 1.5c decaf coffee
1015a-small apple
11a-3oz shrimp, 2T salsa
1p-6oz chicken, 1.5c cooked carrots, .75c cooked spinach, .75c cooked dandelion greens, 1.5c decaf, 2 fish oil, dandelion root
3p-tiny tangerine
330p-3oz shrimp, 2T salsa
430p-medium apple
6p-1.5c Brazilian Fish Stew, medium raw carrot, .5c grapes, zinc, dandelion root
730p-1.5oz pecans
10p-fish oil, magnesium, 2 Benadryl
TOTALS: 1870 cal, 81g  fat (16 sat), 128g carbs (29 fiber), 175g protein

Also, because I had such a good nutrition week, eating almost exactly as planned, I had the spare calories. My average for the week came out to 1783 cal, 84g fat (25 sat) 42%, 148g carbs (25 fiber) 33%, 133g protein 30%. That's lower than maintenance, and it really wasn't a struggle.

Can't tell you what the scale says, because I'm still not looking! Next week I'll get my details from Heather.

I'm also learning how to improve the state of my brain intelligently; i.e., without food. Last night when I got home, my husband was in a Spring Cleaning Fever, shoveling dirt off the driveway/sidewalk, raking gravel from the front boulevard, sweeping the garage, etc - and I refused to join in. I don't spare cleaning efforts during tax season unless I absolutely must.  My version of Spring Fever looked like this: bring [ecstatic] cats outside; haul compost to barrel; walk around yard admiring the beauty of the first green flower shoots; take pictures of said greenery & happy kitties; haul deck chairs down and out into backyard; fetch book; sit ass down & read. I spent at least 20 minutes in the sunshine, reading my book, and happy as a clam. This did far more for my brain than any comfort food has ever done!

Random notes/tips:
-The Brazilian Fish Stew was delicious. I'm definitely going to be making this! I do think I'll leave it chunky, and I might even sub in more fish instead of the shrimp. The texture of the fish was soft & flaky, while the shrimp (being shrimp) was firmer and just didn't "fit" with the rest of the soup in my weird taste opinion. Otherwise, the flavor was fantastic! Furthermore, the nutrition is outstanding: 309 cal, 8.4g fat (2.6 sat), 15.9g carbs (3 fiber), 41.5g protein. So very grateful to my foodie buddy Joy and all her generous sharing!
-When going low-carb and/or low-calorie, fruit must be limited, usually to only one piece per day. One easy & healthy trick to doing this and making it easy for your brain is to purchase small fruit: select small apples, tiny tangerines, small bananas, grapes, etc. Or for root vegetables: baby potatoes, small yams, etc. If you are eating bread, get the 45-calorie bread that is simply cut with thinner slices. You eliminate the feeling of deprivation because instead your brain will receive the same satisfaction as a full-size serving, without it actually being a full serving. GENIUS!

Whole30, Day 25

Sunday was a long, long day at the tax firm: 830a-830p. 12 hours! This was solely so that I could skip out tonight to attend the Blizzard game. Those boys had better win!!

Nutrition was practically perfect!
615a-fried egg, chicken sausage, .5c grapes, c regular coffee, fish oil, dandelion root, magnesium, zinc, vitamin D
730a-c decaf coffee
8a-1.5c regular coffee
9a-2c cooked carrots, chicken sausage, 1.5c regular coffee
11a-3oz shrimp, 6T salsa, small apple
12p-chef salad (no cheese/dressing), 1.5c regular coffee, dandelion root
330p-tiny tangerine, chicken sausage, 1.5c decaf coffee
5p-c eggplant, chicken sausage, dandelion root
7p-7oz ham steak
9p-zinc, fish oil, magnesium
930p-2 Benadryl
TOTALS: 1288 cal, 44g  fat (14 sat), 99g carbs (19 fiber), 137g protein

It was a planned low day, and I did quite well; I'm especially impressed I got my protein up so high on so few calories! 30% fat, 30% carbs, 40% protein, which is pretty close to ideal for a low day (for me; may not apply to everyone). I felt like I ate plenty & often; was not feeling deprived at all. Okay, except when I watched my dad eat a hot buttered dinner roll while I ate my salad. I miss bread so much!

I definitely felt my energy flagging toward the end of the day, but that may be a result of working on taxes for 12 hours. (Ya think?) Plus, it was a cloudy, misty, curl-up-on-the-couch kind of weather day, which also made me crave tons of hot coffee; I had double the caffeine that I normally do! Oops.

A few tips:
-Overnight on Saturday, I put a ham steak in one slow cooker, no seasonings required. In the other slow cooker: half a chicken (homegrown by my mom), and 5 packages of frozen Ploughshare veggies: 2.5c sliced carrots, 2c spinach, & 2c dandelion roots. I sprinkled this with Tastefully Simple's Fiesta Party Dip Mix - and that's it! Walk away. On Sunday morning, I portioned it out into containers, and I had 5 meals and a few sides of carrots ready to go. Easy peasy!
-Shrimp & salsa = a very easy, very healthy snack. 3oz shrimp and 2T salsa tallies just 99 calories, with a pretty spectacular macro breakdown:10% fat, 16% carbs, 74% protein. Just read your salsa contents and make sure it isn't full of junk.
-I figured out that 3oz of shrimp fit perfectly into my 1-cup storage containers, so I can skip the scale and just fill up the container; I am going to use this technique as often as possible! I've gotten fairly good at eyeballing serving sizes, but it's very, very easy to underestimate quantities, and smart to re-check yourself every now and then.
-Smart shopping: at Elden's on Saturday I bought 10 packages of Alaska Pollock for a mere $5. For the rest of this week, most fish are 10/$10, plus shrimp is on sale as well - you can bet I'm going back to stock up on even more!
-I told my parents all about the Whole30 plan. They asked me what on earth they could make for Easter, and I laughed. Meat! Fruit! Vegetables! Just don't slather it in sauces or butter, and there's plenty of options. We decided on a home-brined and -smoked turkey (that Dad hopes to go hunt down in the woods this week); sweet potatoes, for which I'll bring Joy's Amazing Spiced Pear Apple Butter (they were practically drooling as I described it); fresh fruit & vegetables, and of course any other sides that I'll have to ignore. (My father simply can NOT have a holiday meal without mashed potatoes and bread!)
-And I have neither made nor tasted this, but it sounds downright delicious: Brazilian Fish Stew, courtesy of my fantastic foodie buddy Joy. I confess the phrase "fish stew" sounds all kinds of wrong to me, but the ingredient list is mouth-watering. I will surely try making this once tax season ends; however, I don't see the point of blending the vegetables smooth. I like my soups & stews to be chunky, as they "seem" more filling that way. Plus, why dirty the blender?
-Another restaurant visit, another cold salad. This one at least was a chef salad, and I only had to specify no cheese and decline the dressing. I really should just start toting around balsamic vinegar in my purse!

Whole30, Day 24

Long run day! Lots of carbs, lots of calories, very busy, simply a fantastic day. I ran 18 great miles in the morning, showered in the locker room at work, did a very quick shopping trip, went to a coworker's wedding, more shopping & groceries (I don't recommend doing all this shopping in 3" heels in general, and especially not after running 18 miles!), home for a bit of a break, out to supper with my husband (first time in about 4 months), then vegged on the couch with a book. It was just the kind of day I needed! Loved it all. The only downside is that it means working at the tax firm on Sunday, but, meh, worth the trade-off!

Nutrition details:
7a-2 fried eggs, 2s chicken sausage, 2c grapes, c regular coffee, fish oil, dandelion root, magnesium, zinc, vitamin D
830a-c decaf coffee
9a-1130a (before/during run)-2 GU gels, 1 GU Roctane [w/ caffeine] gel
12p-10 apricot halves, 2 chicken sausage, small apple, dandelion root, truckload of water (approx)
3p-tiny tangerine, oz brain food, 1.5c regular coffee
5p-oz brain food, fish oil
630p-3c iceberg lettuce blend, 14oz prime rib
730p-oz brain food, zinc, magnesium, dandelion root
TOTALS: 2407 cal, 115g fat (55 sat), 222g carbs (19 fiber), 168g protein

My breakfast was a change from past pre-long-run meals, and this actually sat very well in my stomach, much better than the pancakes. I think it's because this is what I eat (without the grapes) every single day. My body knows exactly what to do with it, you know? All I did was double the servings (extra calories to fuel a 2.5-hour run) & add the grapes, for the double bonus of carbs (57g!) & water content.

GUs are an absolute necessity on runs over 12 miles. I take one at the start, then one every 6 miles or so. [Side note: totally not Whole30-approved, being pure sugar, but I call them exempt. They at least have no soy or grains or any of that junk.]

The evening meal is the only spot where I'd call my calories a little higher than needed. But again, I was out to eat with my husband for the first time in FOUR MONTHS, and I managed to stick to the Whole30 rules. In fact, the prime rib was the only thing I felt safe ordering without needing to request special preparation (which I hate doing). Anything else, pork or steak or poultry, came sauced (99% will have soy) or breaded, while this was unadorned, only swimming in au jus. The side salad was ordered with no cheese or dressing (soy, corn syrup); it was essentially a Dole Iceberg blend, very blah. Here again the "food=fuel" kicks in: just suck it up & eat it! My side choices were potato & Texas toast. I ordered the fries for my husband, and he also ate the toast, dipped in my au jus. This was only a little bit tough to endure. Because the prime rib? Was marvelously delicious; smooth like buttah. I could have eaten two. My 10 oz slab (visible fat removed) = 684 calories, 0g carb, 36g fat, 86g protein. Imagine what my dinner tally might have been had I eaten even a plain baked potato & the Texas toast!

The fat-loss lesson for dining out, even if you're not doing Whole30: stick to veg & protein ONLY, and your calories will stay in line. Ignore the carb sides at all costs!

Whole30, Day 23

Friday was a good day all around. In a very good mood thanks to a solid night of sleep and good upcoming plans. I was able to spend some time chatting with friends Heather & Amy to improve their days a bit, had a baby shower for Dustin, and only worked a few hours at the tax firm.

The 3 hours from 12:30-3:30 were very very frantic workwise, but I made it through. Our team met a major deadline that, at the beginning of the week, looked flat-out impossible. It was a great achievement no matter what, and extra impressive given the emotional difficulty of the week. I love my coworkers and I love my job. How lucky I am to be able to say that!

Nutrition (a high day to carb-load for Saturday's long run):
615a-fried egg, chicken sausage, c regular coffee, .5c grapes, fish oil, zinc, vitamin D, magnesium, dandelion root
730a-c decaf coffee, 2 apricot halves (they are NOT out of sight!!)
8a-1.5c regular coffee
9a-chicken sausage
11a-1.5c grapes
12p-salad, chicken sausage, oz brain food, 2 fish oil, dandelion root
4p-c grapes, small apple, tiny tangerine, 1/3oz banana chips, 1/3oz apple chips, oz brain food
6p-2 chicken sausage, oz brain food
730p-oz brain food
9p-zinc, magnesium, dandelion root, fish oil
930p-2 Benadryl
TOTALS: 1771cal, 94g fat (24 sat), 206g carbs (29 fiber), 89g protein

Again, I felt like I ate a TON of food here. Very snacky, and yet the calories are actually on the low side! That's partly due to the low protein, which is acceptable now & then, but my daily goal is 125g.

I did not run at lunch, due to the long Saturday run, but instead I took a 10-minute walk outside with Amy, and it was LOVELY. It doesn't count much for exercise, but it does wonders for the brain!

Whole30, Day 22

Yesterday morning I was in such a fog over the week I'm having. (Not going into it all again, just read past posts to catch on up.) I felt like an absolute and total zombie. What took me out of it? My training session. For an entire hour, I was able to temporarily step away from all of the awfulness & enjoy myself: move a whole bunch of iron, focus on getting stronger, laugh with Dustin - just give my brain a brief respite. In this awful, awful week, my two hours of personal training were the brightest points of light for me. I walked out of each session feeling refreshed, stronger, and better equipped to handle the world. I wish everyone would realize that a workout can do even more for the brain than the body. Yesterday's blog post by Marsha touched on the very same topic, and I believe she puts it more eloquently than I can: Why do I train?

My nutrition was solid:
615a-2 fried eggs, 4 slices bacon, c regular coffee, 50g freeze-dried blackberries, fish oil, zinc, vitamin D, magnesium, dandelion root
730a-c decaf coffee, 4 pecan halves
8a-1.5c regular coffee
9a-2 turkey dogs
11a-2 turkey dogs, 20g freeze-dried blueberries
115p-salad, chicken sausage, 3 grapes, cauliflower floweret, 2 fish oil, dandelion root
3p-5 celery strips, 5 baby carrots, 2 cauliflower flowerets
330p-10g freeze-dried blueberries, apple turkey picadillo
630p-2 chicken sausage, 20g freeze-dried blueberries
730p-oz brain food, few banana chips, zinc, magnesium, dandelion root, fish oil
930p-2 Benadryl
TOTALS: 1942 cal, 92g fat (22 sat), 162g carbs (44 fiber), 113g protein

-I hadn't planned on the evening snack but I was making Brain Food for Dustin's shower today, and simply couldn't resist having a handful. On such an emotional day, though, it was perfectly acceptable, even expected.
-Freeze-dried blueberries: deliciously crunchy, appropriate for mindless eating, like a bag of potato chips, except HEALTHY. The only problem: they will turn your fingers & mouth blue and stick in your teeth. Eat at home only!
-On-the-go eating: three of us went to Josh's visitation right after work, at 5. So I ate my picadillo at 3:30p, more filling than usual snack, but that way I lasted through the visitation with no issues. I was on my way home at 6:40, finally, so in my car I ate two [cold] chicken sausages, and the blueberries. It worked well! The lessons: plan, plan, plan; and now and then, just go with the simple concept of "food = fuel."

Today is going much better, because my weekend plans now include a whole bunch of awesomeness: the baby shower; having a [favorite] running partner for a portion of my 18 miles; getting my house cleaned; going out to eat with my husband; vegging on the couch watching NASCAR for the first time all year. Life is good! Plus, since I moved my run up to tomorrow morning (will work Sunday while it downpours), today is a high-carb day and I get to eat the fruit I brought for the shower! Sweet deliciousness!

And finally, I have to share something that my mom wrote on my FB wall. I doubt it's original, probably something from an email forward, but it's still a wonderful note, and today was a great day to receive it:

You are so much more powerful than you realize! Think you don't make that much of a difference in your world? Think again! You have the power to make people smile, to bring out the best in them, to lift them up. You have the power to create beauty in your home and beyond. And you've always had the power to make your dreams come true. Just tap into it! Love You!

Say it with me, now: awwwww.

Whole30, Day 21

For the first time I "failed" on the Whole30 plan. On the last day of the 3rd week. SO CLOSE! Granted, my failure was minor, but I'm an Achiever. I'm about 100% success, not 99%. Ugh. I ate almonds & cashews from a trail mix that had a flavor coating made of soy & corn. Damn shit is EVERYWHERE. But I was at the snax firm on a very low-calorie day, my brain was a total fog both due to the calories and to life in general, and that was all I could find to eat that even came close to the rules. Luckily, in the grand scheme of what's happening in my life, I've no ability to beat myself up over this. Bigger things are happening.

Yesterday I learned that a relative has lung cancer. It may be fine; doctors removed a suspicious mass that they didn't think was cancer, but it tested positive. They may have gotten it all; they may not have. More tests will follow and hopefully we'll know more soon. This is yet another person on a long, frustrating list of folks diagnosed with the big C. This is yet another reason that I participate in the Douglas County Relay for Life each year.

And tonight I'm going to the visitation for Josh, and my stomach is in knots. I feel as awful as I did on Monday, right back to feeling like I'm being repeatedly punched in the gut. It's going to be so emotional. The visitation is being held at the school because of space needs. And I just want to know, where were all of these people when Josh was alive? How did he not realize how beloved he was? Make sure your loved ones know how important they are to you. Tell them often that you love and appreciate them, and mean it. They are, after all, priceless.

Luckily, today is a high day, and I am fully stocked on healthy options, so even if my comfort-food munchies get the best of me, I'll do just fine. If today was NOT a high day, I would plan out appropriate calories, but then I would allow for it to be a high day if needed from a mental/emotional standpoint.

Yesterday's nutrition details:
6a-fried egg, chicken sausage, 2 apple chips, 2 banana chips, 2 dried apricot halves, c regular coffee, zinc, magnesium, vitamin D, fish oil
830a-1.5c regular coffee
9a-2oz ham steak, 2 turkey dogs (these are truly delicious, even children will love them, I promise: Applegate Farms)
11a-2oz ham steak, 2 turkey dogs
1230p-salad, 1.5oz pork tenderloin (made by Heather, on the grill, tasted like SUMMER!), 2 fish oil, dandelion root
130p-.25c raisins
330p-2 turkey dogs, 2 slices bacon (say it with me: bacon makes everything better)
530p-apple turkey picadillo
730p-the offending 8 almonds & 6 cashews
930p-fish oil, zinc, magnesium, dandelion root
TOTALS: 1472 cal, 74g fat (18 sat), 94g carbs (17 fiber), 117g protein

Note the 6am snacking: this is a reason to put food AWAY inside cupboards. The only things sitting out on your table or counter should be fresh fruits. And maybe not even them. Why? Out of sight, out of mind. Leave something snacky & tasty in your line of sight day after day, and at some point you're going to dive in, regardless of whether or not you are actually hungry. Take willpower out of the equation as often as possible.

Whole30, Day 20

Tuesday was a step up from Monday. Still a bit of an emotional rollercoaster, but not quite at the same extremes. I am feeling better about me and my efforts in life; and I cried far fewer times over Sandy's son Josh. But I read the obituary of this wonderful-sounding boy, and I don't know how anyone can NOT be in tears over it. Such a tragic situation.

Nutrition went well. The only unplanned eating I did was some ham steak at the tax firm, as I told them about Josh and the awfulness of it just drove me to eat something. Thank you, Whole30, for ensuring I couldn't eat one single treat sitting on the counter at the snax firm! Ham steak, not such a bad indulgence; particularly since I ate it cold, which kept me to only about 2 oz, or 60 calories. Perfectly fine.

6a-2 fried eggs, 4 slices bacon, few apple & banana chips, c reg coffee, zinc, magnesium, vit D, fish oil, dandelion root
730a-1.5c reg coffee
9a-1.5c reg coffee, small banana
11a-chicken sausage, oz Brain Food
115p (PWO)-salad, 7oz tilapia, fish oil, dandelion root
330p-small banana, chicken sausage
530p-apple turkey picadillo
7p-2oz ham steak
930p-zinc, magnesium, dandelion root, fish oil
1030p-2 Benadryl
TOTALS: 1729 calories, 85g fat (23 sat), 124g carbs (21 fiber), 130g protein

-3 slices of bacon is only 100 calories. It's less food than my 3 chicken breakfast sausages, yet I'm even more satisified when I eat the bacon. Because bacon makes everything better.
-I ate the apple turkey picadillo cold, which is my true test of make-again-ness. And this stuff is still very delicious cold, so it's definitely a make-again food! In fact, probably this weekend.
-Brain Food is super addicting and easy to rack up calories with it, since a handful is about 200 calories. My solution was to take ONLY one almond, one cashew, one raisin, and one banana chip each time...enough to satisfy the craving, which is all it was; certainly I didn't need to eat, only saw it & wanted it.

I ended up staying later at the tax firm than normal, because I was finishing up returns for my aunt & uncle. Next year I'm making a rule that everyone has to get me their stuff by March 15th. No more of these late returns, because at this point in the season I'm fully exhausted; so rather than stay late, I'm stopping work early on tax firm work and hitting personal stuff - and it's not at all helpful to the firm that I cut my hours even a little bit at this point in the season. (And honestly, I did get these returns by March 16th...just hadn't had a bit of energy/time to work on them. I rest my case.)

Now, working late night last night, plus working again tonight (though I'm leaving at 9 no matter what), plus Josh's visitation (in Elbow Lake) on Thursday night does return me to feeling like I'm being a rotten wife. I am so very lucky that Hop puts up with me through all of this. And so happy that I only have to survive 11 more days of it!

Whole30, Day 19

A tough Monday. Started the day feeling fat, ugly, and like a disappointment to all; I don't feel like I'm functioning at 100% anywhere. I feel like I'm slacking at both jobs, running isn't going as well as it should, I'm eating too much, I'm not being a very good friend (particularly thinking of Heather and her relationship and how I never talked to her about it - fixed that this morning), I'm really not being a good wife, all the way down to little things like not getting the racing league points done on time, or having zero energy to pick up our trash that blew into our neighbor's yard. I just flat-out feel like I'm sucking at everything.

Then I learned that my lead's 13-year old son passed away, and it was like being punched in the gut. Repeatedly. All day. I have a wonderful relationship with my lead, think of her as a friend, mentor, and someone to emulate; being such a total bleeding heart, I feel absolutely awful for her. I can't imagine the strength required to survive this impossibly difficult situation. I hate it, I hate everything about it, and there is nothing to be done. I am feeling heartbroken for her, and totally helpless. No fixing, no mending, nothing I can do. Impossible.

This horrible situation sure makes my life look awesome in comparison, so thus I beat myself up even more for feeling like my life has any difficulties whatsoever.

So the day was mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausting. I skipped the tax firm (will go tonight) and went home. Nutrition was mediocre. I was 400 calories over what it needed to be in order to hit my targeted average of 1900. I was on track at work (actually didn't feel like eating for much of the day), but I was truly hungry on my way home. This doesn't often happen, since I eat so frequently. My supper itself was fine, but as I made salads & fruit chips, I polished off the bag of mixed nuts. There's my 400 extra calories, right there. Luckily they are all gone now, thus there's no more temptation sitting around, other than the Sunbutter, which I am 100% determined to leave in its bubble wrap, so it hardly counts.

6a-fried egg, chicken sausage, c regular coffee, dandelion root, magnesium, vit D, zinc
715a-c decaf coffee
8a-1.5c regular coffee
945a-1.5c regular coffee, medium apple
1p-Apple Turkey Picadillo, medium apple, 2 fish oil, dandelion root
3p-3.5oz plain tilapia
4p-small banana
6p-3 medium raw carrots, c asparagus, chicken sausage, 2oz mixed nuts, few apple & banana pieces, zinc, fish oil, dandelion root
730p-1.5c Brussels sprouts, 2T balsamic, magnesium
TOTALS: 1830 cal, 90g fat (23 sat), 165g carbs (38 fiber), 117g protein

Things I made last night:
-Apple chips in the dehydrator; delicious! For Dustin's shower on Friday.
-Banana chips in the dehydrator; little overdone, but flavor is great!
-What I call "Brain Food": almonds, cashews, raisins, banana chips, and cinnamon. Place in a bag, seal & shake it up to coat the cinnamon, and you have a healthy, delicious snack. Brought this in for my team today to fuel close efforts, and will make more of the same for Dustin's shower.
-Four salads, each containing: medium carrot, .75oz sugar snap peas, .5 baby bell pepper, .5c cabbage, .5c celery & c spinach (should've made HB eggs as well).

A couple of Whole30-specific notes:
-Acne is improving; whether this is primarily food- or zinc-driven, I do not know. At this point, I don't care! I am so happy to see progress. Once all is clear, I'll probably start testing by stopping the zinc.
-The Natural Calm is pretty awesome if you mix it into hot water; it's like a cup of sweet tea every morning & night. I like it a lot!

Whole30, Day 18

Sunday's nutrition went fine:
8a-pancakes (made w/ apple butter instead of applesauce), .5c applesauce, c reg coffee, fish oil, dandelion root, zinc, magnesium
9a-c decaf coffee w/ t cinnamon, 3 Brazil nuts
930a (start of run)-6 dried Turkish apricots
1030a (mid-run)-GU, 5.5oz coconut water
1130a (mid-run)-GU, 5.5 oz coconut water, .5oz mixed nuts w/ .5t cinnamon
1200p (post run)-.5oz mixed nuts & oz raisins w/ .5t cinnamon
1245p-bag Bare Fruit apple chips (these are effing delicious)
115p-chicken sausage, medium raw carrot, fish oil, dandelion root
245p-oz mixed nuts
530p-.3c green olives (while making Apple Turkey Picadillo, another great recipe from Joy)
6p-2 fried eggs, chicken sausage, chicken wing, .5c green beans, zinc, magnesium, dandelion root
TOTALS: 2256 cal, 113g fat (26 sat), 214g carbs (31 fiber), 98g protein

Not my usual macro ratios, but I did a 15-mile run in the morning, hence the truckload of carbs.

I'd write more, but I just learned some devastating news about my lead, and I'm unable to think very clearly. Maybe tomorrow.

Whole30, Day 17

Saturday went well nutritionally:
615a-fried egg, 3 oz chicken & vegetables (.5c each: spinach, green beans, broccoli, cabbage, tomatoes), c regular coffee, fish oil, dandelion root, zinc, magnesium, vitamin D
7a-.5oz mixed nuts, c decaf coffee
8a-1.5c regular coffee
9a-1/3c fresh blueberries, 1/3c fresh raspberries (these were incredibly delicious - thanks, mom!)
10a-large raw carrot, chicken sausage
11a-c baked yam, chicken sausage
1p (PWO)-3 oz chicken & vegetables (.5c each: spinach, green beans, broccoli, cabbage, tomatoes), oz mixed nuts, 6 dried Turkish apricots
330p-large raw carrot, chicken sausage
6p-4 dried Turkish apricots, chicken sausage, c baked yam, fish oil
730p-.5c raw cauliflower, oz cherry tomatoes, oz roasted & salted mixed nuts
9p-zinc, dandelion root, magnesium
TOTALS: 2114 calories, 76g fat (16 sat), 202g carbs (52 fiber), 155g protein

Not your typical "on the go" food: as I left the tax firm at 5:30, I was munching on my yam, cold. The very middle was still a bit hard, so at home, I tossed it in the microwave for a minute while I scarfed down a chicken sausage and powdered my nose. I nabbed a few apricots and ate the rest of my yam while driving to Heather's house. Once you discard your pre-conceived notions of travel food and adapt, it's easy!

I went to a going-away party for my awesome friend Terri, and I was planning not to eat anything there. In hindsight I should have known she'd have something I could eat and not totally resist. The raw veggies were fine, of course, but the damn nuts put a dent in my calorie plans. Why must they be so delicious and also so calorie-dense?!

A couple interesting events: Terri is going to work for King Arthur Flour in VT, and I paged through their catalog at her party. It was full of baking mixes, tools, recipes, and amazing drool-worthy pictures. Rather than fill me with cravings, however, I was strangely satisfied when I put it down. And Heather had me smell her slice of gingerbread cake, which indeed smelled amazing, and it didn't fill me with cravings either. I have never experienced that before! Normally, and what I expected to happen, I'd be mentally screaming for the stuff, and feeling sad that not only shouldn't I eat it, but I flat-out couldn't. An interesting and wonderful change!

Back at home I made the batter for my morning pancakes (successfully resisted using Sunbutter rather than tahini; the Sunbutter remains snug in its bubble wrap!) and kicked back with a magazine & a purring kitty. 8 hours of work, a 25-minute upper body blast, an hour at a party, followed by a nice quiet relaxing evening. A pretty great taxurday!

Whole30, Day 16

Friday was a very good day!

Work was busy but not stressful, my lunchtime run felt nice & easy (and was full of sunshine & chatting), and I only worked 3 hours at the tax firm so I could go watch a hockey game, where we won with a very definitive 6-1! Very good game, all 6 goals of the Blizzard's goals were scored in the first 25 minutes of play. You can't beat that kind of excitement!!

Only downfall is we had considered buying VIP tickets (all you can eat/drink), but since it started at 730pm (and I am a mogwai), I wasn't sure what was being served, and my husband wasn't up to drinking 9 cans of beer to be sure we got our money's worth (since he's working this morning) - we went with the cheap seats. Too bad, because the food served was a taco salad bar. I could have made do with that! ...maybe. Taco meat is iffy, generally the seasonings contain soy. But at least it would have been heavy on the veggies.

Nutrition was solid:
615a-fried egg, 3 slices bacon, c reg coffee, zinc, 2 fish oil, dandelion root, magnesium
8a-1.5c reg coffee
9a-turkey patty, chicken sausage, 1.5c decaf coffee
11a-chicken sausage, .25c raisins
130p-4oz pork chop, salad w/ 2T balsamic, 3 fish oil, dandelion root
330p-chicken sausage, small banana
630p-chicken sausage, med apple, t OmegaMaine fish oil, dandelion root, zinc, magnesium
730p-oz mixed nuts
10p-vitamin D, 2 Benadryl
TOTALS: 1604 calories, 71g fat (17 sat), 115g carbs (20 fiber), 133g protein - over the plan by 200 calories due to the nuts I brought to the game. Just knew I'd be feeling snacky and those freaking nuts are SO DAMN ADDICTING. But 200 calories is easy to recover since I've allotted plenty for the weekend. Dropping 100 from today's plan, and 100 from tomorrow unless I find that I need them (remember, 18 miles), in which case I can reduce Monday by that 100.

Overnight I only spent 7 hours in bed, so Saturday is going to be a long day. Working at the tax firm, lunchtime strength workout on the schedule, 6pm going-away party for two awesome friends who are moving to NH.

One more instance where Whole30 is a challenge: my mom asked if we wanted to go out for my brother's anniversary on Sunday night. Knowing that all I'd order is a salad, I really don't get excited to go out to restaurants. But in addition, I am slated to run 18 miles in the morning, followed by a long nap, followed by my usual didn't sound like it would be worth it at all. So, going with my newfound determination to take care of ME first, I declined.

One more case for pre-made food: no prep done for today. But from my large stash I was able to grab a package of chicken sausage, container of chicken & veg, ham steak, 3 raw carrots, a yam, an apple, a banana, oz mixed nuts, bag of raisins, and 6 dried Turkish apricots. I have more than enough with me to cobble together a nutritionally-fantastic day. Planning ahead and staying stocked up on healthy options makes life SO EASY!

Whole30, Day 15

I had a very good day yesterday! My morning was okay, not awesome, but my brain was in a good place after 8.5 hours in bed and waking at 6:15 - without an alarm! THEN I had an awesome training session with Dustin, where I hit 10 chin-ups again, for the first time in three weeks. Lovely!

I then left work at 3:15 (burning up the other half of my sick time from Wednesday) and hit the Grain Bin for supplements. I bought more Dandelion Root (for the digestive system), Zinc for Acne (uh, for acne), and Natural Calm Plus Calcium (for better sleep). I'm feeling very hopeful for happier times with these supplements!

When I got home at the unbelievable hour of 4:30, I decided I was NOT going to the tax firm. I needed time at home more than I needed to knock off a few returns. I was able to visit with the hubster before he took off to meet a buddy to visit the taxidermist (I know). So there I was, at home, with the ENTIRE NIGHT TO MYSELF. It was surreal. I cleaned the litter box as a birthday gift to my babies (who turned SIX today!) and decided that would be the last of my productivity for the evening. I had Mists of Avalon sitting on my coffee table; being 3 hours long, and nothing Hop would watch, there it had sat for a month (or more), waiting for me to have any spare time during tax season. So I watched that and it was a MARVELOUS evening. It absolutely re-filled my bucket and I'm ready to tackle the rest of tax season!

I also was given a perfect metaphor from a DailyMile friend: When I think of a busy period coming up I stress, so I approach a busy schedule like running a big hill. I don't look how long it is, I keep my head down and take one step at a time, next thing you know, its over. Naturally, this particular hill-lover can relate. I love it. One step at a time.

Besides, today is APRIL which means tax season is in its final month; only 16 days and about 48 work hours to go!

Food intake for yesterday:
615a-2 fried eggs, 2 slices bacon, small banana, c regular coffee, 2 fish oil, dandelion root
730a-c decaf coffee
8a-1.5c regular coffee
9a-oz venison jerky, chicken sausage
11a-oz raisins, chicken sausage
1p (PWO)-medium apple
115p-3oz chicken & vegetables (.5c each: spinach, green beans, broccoli, cabbage, tomatoes), 2 fish oil, dandelion root
330p-pork chop
430p-handful freeze dried cranberries (NutsOnline - tart, but tasty)
6p-salad w/ balsamic vingegar & oz pecans, 6oz ham steak, 2 fish oil, dandelion root, zinc, vitamin D, NaturalCalm
730p-c decaf coffee, 7 nuts (had a major craving so I ate 1 of each: Brazil nut, cashew, macadamia, hazelnut, pecan, walnut, pistachio)
TOTALS: 2019 cal, 92g fat (19 sat), 174g carbs (34 fiber), 150g protein

Calories went about 100 over (should've been 1900), because I had intended to put a half oz pecans on my salad but weighed an oz without even thinking. Oh well, easy enough to make up for it today!