Back to Basics Update

In my last post I discussed how I figured out that the breakfast sausage that my fiance and I bought from the farmer’s market had sugar in it, and that I had been eating it every day. I knew something was wrong but I thought that it was just stress – I’ve had a lot of stress the past few weeks. My last day eating the sausage was Wednesday, and I can tell you that I’ve seen a marked difference in how I feel.

First off, I don’t feel stressed. Well, right this second I don’t feel stressed. I still have all of the stressors that I had Wednesday and Thursday and Friday and Saturday, but I feel better. I think that this has to do with sleep. I know that I wasn’t sleeping all that great, especially the week before last. I hadn’t woken up at three o’clock in the morning due to stress in a long time, but I did the week before last. Several nights in row, I might add. My body has been playing catch-up this weekend; my fiance and I were supposed to go to the gym yesterday and I told him that I couldn’t – I was just too tired. I took a nap instead, and I felt great when I woke up. I also got my eight hours of sleep last night virtually uninterrupted, and I feel so much better this morning.

I was cranky, bitchy, and all sorts of frazzled that I haven’t felt since I started this diet. And I hadn’t lost a single pound.

Well, I’ve lost two pounds since Thursday. I don’t feel bloated any more. That is one thing that I’ve loved about this diet from the beginning; I’m still way overweight, but I’m not bloated so I feel skinny all the time! I have felt fat for about two weeks now, and that has been driving me crazy, too.

Basically I have found that for my body, it doesn’t take much. That sausage didn’t have heaping amounts of sugar in it, but eating it every day caused my body to go haywire. My poor fiance has taken the brunt of it with my crabbiness and bitchiness and loss of sleep, and I know that he’s going to be glad when I get things back under control. I will be, too. I hate feeling like that and treating everyone around me like that.

So it’s back to fish for breakfast for me, which is fine because I missed my fish and vegetables. I will be going shopping today to stock back up, and you’d better believe that I will be paying closer attention to labels when it comes to both sugar and grains. It wasn’t that long ago that I had that cracker incident at the farmer’s market! (Basically I took a goat cheese sample on a cracker without thinking about it and ate it. I was exhausted for two days and my stomach was messed up, too.) Knowing how these things affect my body is a huge motivation for me to stay with this very long term – who wants to feel like a tired bitch all the time! The benefits of this diet are just too numerous for me to even consider going back to the way I was eating before.

On another note, I took my measurements this past weekend: I’ve lost 22 inches! and a total now of 21 pounds! I am absolutely amazed at my progress – yet another measure of the benefits of eating this way. I have been doing well at the gym – still no cardio, but lifting weights two or three times a week. So far it is all coming together and I am making gains that I could have only dreamed about.

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Back to Basics

Have I mentioned how much I LOVE the farmer’s market? I go every week now and get fresh vegetables that are in season, fresh pork rinds to eat with my guacamole, and sometimes fresh meat.

My fiancé and I started getting fresh breakfast sausage at a booth that has fresh free-range eggs and sausage. “Okay,” I thought. “I’ll just try it.” I had noted that there was brown sugar listed in the ingredients, so I knew that the sausage needed to be a treat and not an every day thing. But it was so good – and it has become an every day thing for about three weeks now.

So the last couple of days has seen me become frustrated that the scale has not moved, nor has it felt like I’ve lost any inches. My losses have been fairly constant from the beginning, which to me means that I’m eating something I’m not supposed to be. And the only thing I’ve change, right around the time that the scale stopped moving was the sausage.

So I’m in mourning now for my breakfast sausage, but curious to see what happens since I’m going to cut it out of my diet. I’ll keep you posted.

My Vacation – Thoughts about Cravings and Sleep

I take my vacation every year in October, and this past week was it. I have enjoyed the time off, doing things around the house that needed to be done, as well as homework for school as well.

This is the first time that I haven’t been concerned about cheating during my vacation. On other diets that has been a huge stressor for me: what if I go out and the temptation is too much? I haven’t had all that much temptation on this diet, and when I do start to crave something, I know that I’ve eaten something that I probably should have.

Case in point: On Friday my boss called me around noon and told me that she needed me to sign something that she had to fax to corporate that afternoon. This was a totally inconvenient time for me, but I went ahead and left the house. I hadn’t had lunch yet, so I was thinking about what in the world I should stop and get. I decided to stop at Hardee’s and get a low-carb thick burger with no cheese and no ketchup. (Ketchup has so much sugar in it, and I’m really sensitive to sugar!) Well, after I ate it I began to crave things like ice cream and pastries, which hasn’t happened for three weeks, since my body got over its sugar tantrum. The cravings were manageable, and I went on with my life.

On Saturday I went out again, this time with my daughters, around lunch time without eating lunch. We had a birthday party to attend at 2, and we left the house around 12 with the intent to buy a gift and our Halloween costumes before the party. The kids were hungry, so we stopped at Wendy’s and got chicken nuggets for them and a single with no cheese, no bun, and no ketchup for me.

After I ate that burger the cravings were ridiculous! I was on my way to the grocery store after the party, plotting out how I was going to see if they had coconut milk ice cream in the freezer section because I was craving ice cream like nobody’s business. (I had already talked myself out of going to Cold Stone.) I have told myself that I wouldn’t get that ice cream before, because it is sweetened with agave nectar, and I don’t know how my body will react to it. But apparently I don’t need to be getting burgers from fast food joints, either, because my body isn’t acting to positively to them.

A lot of places, especially fast food restaurants, use fillers in their meat. I was already aware of this, and it was in my head the whole time I was eating each of the burgers. I feel that sometimes it is okay to experiment, though, so that you will know how your body will react to certain things. I know now that I should probably stay away from fast food burgers. I hate arguing with myself about eating anything. I have certainly not focused on food like I used to; it doesn’t occupy nearly as much of my quality thinking time as it used to. Yesterday when I found myself arguing with myself about ice cream, I was shocked to realize that this is what I spent a lot of time thinking about before I started eating Paleo. I would think about eating muffins from Lowe’s Foods (MAN those things are good!) or Chinese for lunch from the Panda Express, or ice cream from Cold Stone, or other things that I loved to eat – and I would fixate on that, as well as my justification for eating those things and spending the money on them, for hours until I had acquired the food that I was fixated on! I realized yesterday, in the midst of what could have been the coconut ice cream meltdown, that I haven’t had these fixations in weeks. My mind has been free to think about my job (which I love to think about) and my school work (which is connected to my job, so I also love thinking about). I don’t find my thoughts about these things that I love to think about being interrupted by thoughts of food, because my total thought process has changed. And it has changed because my body is happy with the food that I’m giving it, and it doesn’t need or want anything else.

This is a really good realization to have, especially since there will come other times when I will eat something that my body doesn’t get along with. Knowing how I am going to react, as well as the thought processes that I will go through, will help me get through those times – hopefully relatively unscathed. But for now, I am proud that I didn’t succumb to the pressures of my cravings for ice cream because at the time of this writing (which is the morning after) I am not craving anything. I am enjoying my first ever completely black cup of coffee (I ran out of coconut milk, but I don’t think I need it any more) after waking up from a really good sleep (the great sleep I experience while on Paleo still amazes me).

Speaking of sleep, I used to be an avid napper. I would take a nap at the slightest provocation, and thoroughly enjoyed each and every one of them. Especially when each of my daughters were very small, I felt that the greatest sleep was from naps taken with them. One day this week I was driving somewhere and it was about the time of day that I usually love taking naps. I thought that maybe I would when I got home. But as I took a step back (figuratively – remember, I was driving) and evaluated how I felt, I realized that there was no way on earth that I would be able to get to sleep if I laid down in the bed. This has been the case for about three weeks now. I don’t have an afternoon slump, or a morning slump, or any time of day slump. I power through each day, and when I get around two or three o’clock I am constantly amazed that I still feel like I have energy to make it through the day. The only exception to this has been when I’ve gone to the gym. Weight lifting always seems to take it out of me, but still I haven’t felt like napping. It is amazing the boundless energy that I have experienced to get through the day. And every evening – usually around 9:30 – I can feel my body start to shut down for the night. I get so incredibly tired that it is almost impossible to keep my eyes open. So I go to bed and I wake up in the morning absolutely refreshed and ready to tackle the day again.

That was something else I noticed after I ate the burgers, though – particularly the one from Wendy’s. I felt incredibly sleepy after I ate them. I would probably use this information to guess that Wendy’s uses more fillers than Hardee’s, but that may be unfair to both. In either case, I will not be eating any more of either, because they obviously do not work well with my body. After I ate the burger from Hardee’s, I visited my fiance while he was on his lunch break. I can remember sitting there yawning while he was talking, afraid that he was going to think that I was incredibly bored with what he had to say. Nope, not the case! I was just suffering from the effects of eating something that I shouldn’t have eaten!

I do want to say in closing that it is absolutely wonderful to be able to think about food – or not think about it – in the ways that I have been able to for the last three weeks. It is complete and total freedom to me, and that freedom has translated to freedom to use my mind for other, more productive things. And that is one of the best gifts I could have given myself.

Revenge of the Gummi Bears

Detailed view of a yellow gummi bear.
Image via Wikipedia

This past week, surrounded by every sort of chocolate candy that the human brain can imagine, I learned something very important about myself.

Of course I ate the candy. How could I not? It is the holidays, after all, and I’m not going to deprive myself during the holidays. But I guess you could say that I went a little overboard. Or maybe a lot overboard.

It seems that my taste buds have a chocolate threshold. Once they have tasted a certain amount of chocolate, they crave…

GUMMI BEARS

Actually, I don’t think that chocolate is the sole catalyst for this craving. It could be any type of carbs. One time I fell off the wagon with a variety of carb-laden substances, and my taste buds began to crave

GUMMI BEARS

But this is what I have learned: When I fall off the wagon – and I mean REALLY fall off the wagon (as in I-can’t-even-see-the-wagon-anymore) there are gummi bears in my near future. And when the gummi bears arrive, I know that it is time to sit down and think and get myself back on track.

Energy!

Well, the first week is almost over. So far, all I have experienced is a few headaches in the evening – almost every evening this week. Luckily, I have learned that this is normal when you are going through carb withdrawals. On the plus side, I am not tired any more; I don’t feel like I have to have a nap every afternoon, and the other night I went to bed at 9:30 and didn’t think I could go to sleep because I wasn’t sleepy! And  I am sleeping so much better at night! This has been great so far. Eventually, further on down the line, I will start to monitor my calories so that I can lose some weight on this plan, but for right now, I’m going to let my body get used to it. I may give myself as much as a month. I have had incredible willpower so far, but I don’t want to do anything to rock the boat since I am just beginning. I don’t want to set myself up for failure. I’ve seen temptation a few times, but it hasn’t been bad (I saw a Snicker’s bar when I was in the gas station earlier and I thought “mmmmm…that would be good” but it wasn’t enough of a temptation for me to pick it up – especially since I know that my energy is coming from not eating that stuff).

I hope that I NEVER take this new-found energy for granted because it is so awesome to have it and I don’t want to lose it.

Carb Addiction

So if ANYONE has been reading this blog, they know that I’ve been having my ups and downs with Weight Watchers. Last weekend my boyfriend and I went to the beach, and for some reason it inspired me to try to get back up on the wagon. So when we went grocery shopping I bought all of my usual weight-loss inspired products: high fiber granola bars, low fat cereal, low fat yogurt, and other things that I figured would make the journey to weight loss simple and easy.

Boy, did I think wrong. It seems like nothing about weight loss for me is easy. First of all, every time I start weight watchers on my own, I seem to get incredibly sick with a cold or something else within a few weeks to a month. I’m so tired in the afternoons and evenings that I can’t think straight and have no patience for anything – and I have to have patience at my job; I work in a daycare! So for a whole week I was tired and irritable and didn’t have much to do with my own kids. I headed for bed early every night. And I thought, “This is the kind of thing that has had my boyfriend telling me to see a doctor.” And then I remembered that the one time that I was on Weight Watchers and it worked for me, I HAD to have a nap every single afternoon. It worked out for me then, though, because I got off of work at two in the afternoon. Not so now.

I started doing some online research about what could possibly be making me so tired all the time. A lot of sites said that this tired feeling was normal – which I absolutely refuse to believe. I can believe being a little tired, maybe, but not this overwhelming, OMG I have GOT to have a nap RIGHT NOW kind of tired that I have been feeling for the past week.

Then I came across a site that said something about insulin resistance. Now this is something that I’m familiar with, being that my boyfriend is diabetic. And after I cataloged the enormous amount of carbs that I was eating every day from the time I got out of bed in the morning to the time I got back into bed (exhausted) in the evening, I realized that I was stuffing myself so full of carbs that the insulin in my system is probably not working any more.

Now I am starting a big experiment, and it will actually be the second time I am trying it. I am cutting carbs. Specifically, I am cutting anything that has wheat or other cereal grains, bread, pasta, and stuff like that. I actually haven’t had any of that for two days. And the way I am feeling now has prompted me to research carb withdrawals.

Let me be clear now, lest I be misunderstood: THIS experiment is more about health for me than weight loss. Anyone who has been tired all the time knows how much it SUCKS! I have plenty of books that have plenty of information about carbs and their affect on the body to reference, thanks to my boyfriend. I am trying to read them and gain as much information as I can from them, as well as looking for other sources online. And from what I have gathered from this information so far, this is probably going to be the healthiest decision that I have made since I decided to be more conscious about my health OR my weight. And since this is now about health more than about weight, I am going to change the focus of this blog to reflect that. I am going to use this blog to vent any frustrations, hopefully talk out any cravings I have, and keep up this amazing willpower that I have been exhibiting to myself the past couple of days (remembering how tired I am after I eat that crap doesn’t hurt – I was so tired Friday night after I ate pizza that I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I went to bed at 8:30).