Fried Tilapia – Skip The W(h)ine If You Want To!

I am in pain. A lot of pain. I have been going to the gym now two or three times a week since my last post, doing my running app and lifting weights. Coming home and doing my squats so that I can have a nice looking backside for the first time in my life. Thursday night it snowed, so I ramped up my running workout and cut the weights out so that I could get home before the roads got too bad. Yesterday I decided to pull out the stops on my workout to make up for it. I also switched from running on the treadmill to running on the elliptical because my ankles were complaining about Thursday’s workout. That elliptical is no joke. I’ve used one before because I prefer not having the high impact on my poor weak ankles, but I’d forgotten just how serious of a workout it was. I was sweating through the very same Couch to 5K workout that I had done on Thursday on the treadmill without breaking a sweat. And it was nice. I may have to continue to use those ellipticals.

So back to the pain. I’m just sore – I haven’t overdone it or pulled anything yet. Although when my ankle started complaining on Friday I got concerned. I haven’t felt my poor ankles complain like that since junior high! But I will tell you – getting back in shape takes commitment because I have been nothing but sore and tired for two weeks now. I’m not complaining, because I have been enjoying the workouts. When I get off work, I swear that I am not going to go to the gym because I am so tired, but by the time I get there I am psyched to start my workout. And I feel like a million bucks when I am done. It has been great to go to the gym and work out all of the stress that I have accumulated. Hopefully I am a much more pleasant person to be around because of it. You’d have to ask everyone else, because I am around myself all the time, and I wouldn’t know.

Another thing that this has allowed me to do is take a look at my priorities. Actually I am not sure that is how I would word it. It may be more like growing a backbone. Any way you word it, I have been trying to identify pieces of my life that I am not happy with and trying to figure out how to change it or make it better. Simplifying. Talking to the people involved and figuring out how to change things. I am not a big talker. I tend to wait until I am about to lose my mind before I say anything. When you are tired and sore, you tend to lose your mind quicker, so talking becomes a priority. People tend to react negatively when you lose your mind.

You must be looking at the title of this post and thinking,”Okay, she has really lost it. Fried stuff? Yeah, that’s what I thought at first, too. I have been fixing tilapia the same way for a long time, and it has gotten really, really old. To the point that I would refuse to fix it. So my wonderful fiancé recommended getting some almond meal and using it on the fish to fry it or bake it. Well, if I am going to use almond meal, I want to fry it. Fried fish is just awesome. Fried anything is awesome! (Can you tell that the workouts are making me extremely hungry as well?) I have been a huge fan of the Whole 30 program, and they recommend not Paleo-fying unhealthy recipes because it could cause bad habits. I am definitely not going to start posting Paleo brownies or cookies because I really do think that would be unfair to my brain, but the fried fish was a much needed, very awesome change. And the clean-up was amazing, too! Almond meal doesn’t get all gummy and nasty in the pan like flour does when you fry it, so the clean-up was not a nightmare like I expected it to be.

I haven’t hit on a spice mixture that I like yet, in amounts that I like. I tend to like my food on the spicy side – I like to taste the flavors – so I am still working on that. In my first batch of fish I used garlic powder, salt, pepper, onion powder, paprika, and red pepper flakes. In fact, this is the recipe that I used for my first batch. I will work on tweaking the amounts or using different spices to suit my tastes, but this recipe was a much welcome change from the way that I have normally been cooking tilapia. I also used coconut oil instead of olive oil because I heard that it works better at higher temperatures, and I hate the smell of olive oil when it gets hot.

Hope you enjoy it! And thanks to Cavemom Chronicles for the inspiration. And to my fiancé, of course!

Where is My Focus Directed?

I came to a very interesting realization during the past week: I am finally content with my body. I don’t feel like a bloated, overgrown, tomato-shaped, nasty, tired, worn-out individual any more. I am proud of the clothes that I can fit into and am happy that simply being doesn’t make me tired any more. Trust me, all of these feelings were ones that propelled me into the nightmare that was my dieting life. And eventually had me find my way to Paleo. I feel like I can do and be now.

This is a big thing, especially with all of the stress that I have encountered over the past month. But it also made me realize that I needed to reassess my goals. See, my primary goal when I started doing Paleo was weight loss. I have accomplished that goal to the point where I am satisfied. But I don’t feel fulfilled yet. I have things that I have always wanted to do that I am still not able to do, even with my amazing weight loss. I want to do kickboxing and MMA style fighting (yes, I have a secret desire to be Jason Bourne). I want to be able to do a hand stand like all of the CrossFitters that I am absolutely jealous of, especially since my CrossFitting wipeout back in February. I want to be able to do CrossFit regularly with a passion that exceeds even my understanding.

So I think that I need a change in focus. Weight loss is all well and good, but I’m not even weighing myself any more – it is hard to keep that focus now since I stopped doing that. But stopping the constant weighing was one of the best things that I have ever done for myself in this journey. It is definitely time for a different focus.

I guess with all of the fitness-related desires that I have, the next step would be to focus on fitness. There are so many contradictory stories about fitness and what fitness is, but luckily, I have a place to start. I have been singing praises of EP LifeFit since I joined, but I haven’t really done much with it. I think that spending time on the forum of the website has actually hurt me rather than helped. I am the type of person that doesn’t need five people giving me their personal opinions about everything that I have been trying to do. While it has bee helpful in some cases, it has also been a hindrance because I have posted something that has been working for me and when I do, I have five people coming around to tell me that I am doing it wrong. HELLO? One of the aspects that I have always liked about Paleo is the fact that everyone does it differently – they do it how it suits them and they do what works for them, and if it doesn’t work for you then don’t do it. So it really sucks to be posting about what I am doing and what has been working, only to be shut down and told that I am not supposed to be doing that.

Take coconut shakes, for example. I have LOVED my coconut shakes. Strawberry and almond butter was my favorite. I posted on the forum about my love of my coconut shakes and one of the girls posted that we aren’t supposed to be drinking coconut shakes because they can spike insulin levels and will make it harder to lose weight. So guess what…I stopped drinking the shakes, and I stopped posting on the forum. That was a buzz kill for me. And I miss my shakes. They were my sweet treat! I needed a sweet treat every now and then! Even my coworkers commented on my shakes because they know that I can’t have sugar – they said that I finally found something to calm my sweet tooth (not that I really have one any more). But I don’t have to give up my shakes! I am happy with how I have been doing things – I have found things that work! Why am I listening to someone who does not know my journey and does not have the same goals as me, even though they may be trying to help? I know what works for me and what my body needs, and I know where my focus is.

At least, now I know where my focus is.

I need to stay off the forum. It has become detrimental to my personal journey. I need to focus on that journey and focus on the beginner workouts that EP LifeFit has posted, because starting those workouts is what is going to help me get in the shape that I need to be in to be able to accomplish my fitness goals. And those goals are going to be the focus of the next leg of my Paleo journey, because the journey isn’t over. I have just made a new commitment to clean my diet back up after the move so that I will have the energy to tackle my new fitness goal. My energy levels have been in the tank for the past month, what with all of the stress and everything here lately. But by giving myself direction, I am hoping to alleviate some of that stress and be better able to focus on what I want to do with myself, as well as getting my energy levels back up.

I love this journey. And I love being able to come on here and rant and rave about it, and have my five loyal readers like what I have ranted and raved about. You guys inspire me to keep going and keep pushing, because I know that I am not alone. Thank you for your support!

Yes, I’m Still Alive!

And I’m still eating Paleo, too. My life has totally exploded in stressfulness in the last month, which is why I have not posted. I felt like I needed to tonight, though, because my stress is close to over and I want to get back to the stuff that makes me happy.

One of those things is the Paleo lifestyle. I have done so much experimenting throughout the month with different things, from only eating when I am hungry (something that has fallen apart in the past two weeks as my stress level has gotten really high) to making coconut milk shakes to get some fat in my diet. I made a shake the other day with coconut milk, coffee, ground hazelnuts, and shredded coconut. OMG YUM! The coffee really brought out the coconut flavor of the milk and it was the best shake I have made. My other favorite is strawberries and almond butter in coconut milk with shredded coconut. Put all that in the blender and drink it. Makes my day every time. I usually add the coconut because it tends to make the shake thicker.

I have found myself talking about the Paleo lifestyle to everyone! Just today I was at the house of a couple who has a daughter the same age as my youngest; they had invited us to take part in an Easter egg hunt. They also invited a few other families, and right before I left I found myself in a conversation with a woman who I think has seriously tried every diet pill out there. I’ve never been into all that because those things can mess you up – and she even talked about experiencing heart palpitations with some pills that she had used to lose a lot of weight. Of course, she’s gained it back now, and she said that she would look into it. The hostess made a comment about how diets seem too good to be true and most people gain the weight back after they go off of the diet. I took that opportunity to let them know about all of the benefits that I have seen: great energy level, awesome sleep at night, yummy food, and of course the weight loss doesn’t hurt anything.

Whether or not these people, or anyone at work that I’ve raved about the diet to, or anyone else, does anything about the information that I give them is irrelevant to me for the most part. I think one of the reasons for that is because just about everyone says, “But I can’t do that! I can’t give up bread or pasta!” And every time I hear that I know that the time isn’t right for them. But every time I talk to someone I marvel at my own excitement about what I am doing for my health, and I think about how wonderful it is going to be when I finally finish out this semester and have some time to start working out again, too. And these people will see what is going on with me and will remember what I said, and maybe it will start them on their own journey to good health.

So tonight I revamped the 5-spice rib recipe. I didn’t like the ribs cooked in the slow cooker, but I love them when they are cooked, covered, in the oven. So I put the rub on the ribs just like last time, put them in a baking dish, added the coconut aminos and rice vinegar, covered them with foil, and cooked them at 350 for two hours. Then I made up some cauliflower asian fried rice and served them, with baited breath, to my fiance. He loved them. Last time I made the ribs, they weren’t all that impressive – even now I’m wondering how to get the spice flavor to come out a little more – but he really wasn’t all that thrilled about the bok choy that I fixed to go with it. He went on and on about how much he liked these ribs and the cauliflower fried rice. Great for me, because I was a little worried about how the fried rice would be received. He even said that we need to make it a regular dish!

So that’s where we’re at for now. If I don’t show up for a while, don’t fret – I have about a month left of school and then I can focus my energy on things that matter, like this blog! I am still here and still going strong – I’m even down another size! I appreciate everyone who has been liking the posts and have left supportive comments – you guys make my day! Thank you!

What In The World?

So this week has gotten off to an interesting start: I have been mad thirsty for almost twenty-four hours, and I am willing to bet that I have guzzled more water in this time than I had the previous two weeks. Which also makes me think that I had been eating something that I shouldn’t have. The problem is, I have no idea what it would have been; my diet has been very clean (or at least I thought it was). I really can’t recall what I ate last week because the week was pretty much a blur. I do know that I was glad that it was over. I also know that I didn’t sleep very well and I didn’t drink enough water all week last week, and maybe the week before also.

So today my body is feeling like I have deprived it of something, I have been drinking water like crazy all day, and I have been so freaking hungry! I am not sure what has happened or what I ate, but I will be so happy when my body gets over this and gets back to its old self. The roller coaster rides are killing me!

As I am typing this I am still trying to figure out what I ate that would have caused this insanity, but I can’t figure it out. I guess at this point all I can hope for is that I don’t do whatever I did again, which should be pretty easy since I have been going strong since September (with no cheats and absolutely no desire to!).

I do seem to remember that my weight went down early last week and then it spiked, and I remember that I wasn’t surprised that it spiked, so I must have known that whatever it was that I had eaten was going to cause that to happen.

I did manage to do something cool: I figured out how to make my own breakfast sausage. I love sausage and eggs for breakfast, but I can’t get by with just eggs. I stay hungry until lunch if I just eat eggs, and every type of breakfast sausage I have looked at not only has crazy ingredients, but sugar! So I began to look at different recipes, and I did a little bit of experimenting, and this is what I came up with:

Breakfast Sausage

One pound of ground pork

garlic powder

salt

1  tsp cumin

2 tsp sage

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp thyme

crushed red pepper to taste

During my first experimental batch, there were entirely too many spices involved, and some of them weren’t the right ones. It was good, but it needed work. This was my second batch, and it came out very nearly perfect. I found out that the key (for me) was the garlic powder and salt. I don’t have measurements for them in the ingredient list because I didn’t measure them. I put in quite a bit of garlic powder – to the point that I was worried that I had put in too much. I know that people’s tastes differ when it comes to salt, too. I usually use more than I think a lot of people would. So just salt it to taste. Let the sausage sit in the refrigerator for 24 hours after you mix all of the ingredients together so that the flavors will meld, and then cook it up and enjoy it!

 

 

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.

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.

Sleep and Dreams

I have been amazed lately at my body’s ability to tell me when it is tired. Every night for the past week at 9:30 it feels as if the sleepy time Mack truck has hit me. It is an effort to just get ready for bed because I am so tired, and going to sleep is absolutely no problem. I told my fiancé last night that I felt as if it wouldn’t matter if I was laying on a rock; I’d be able to go to sleep regardless.

This is a lot different from life before Paleo. It was so easy to stay up late, and when I felt like crap the next day I knew I could reach for a muffin or a pastry or something and feel better.

Speaking of muffins and pastries, I actually dreamed about bread last night. For some reason it was mostly biscuits. I remember going through this when I stopped smoking; I would actually dream about smoking. I’m not sure if this is the way my body mourns for its drug of choice, but I am highly amused by it. Maybe it is my body’s way of sending me messages: “Give me bread, please!!!” I find it even more curious that I would dream about bread at the precise time that I feel like I’m getting over the carb withdrawals. Well, at least I am physically. Sounds like I still have some work to do mentally.