What Am I Doing?

Okay, so a month ago I posted that I was doing the ketogenic diet. I was really excited. I weighed myself for the first time in a few years. I had it going on.

And then I didn’t.

I was so excited about what I was doing and I did it well. I kept track of everything for a while. I ate fat like it was going out of style, which is hard for me because I don’t eat cheese, butter, or other high fat dairy things. Fat, yes. Dairy, no.

I went on vacation in the middle of October, and during that vacation I wondered what would happen if I started eating dairy. Vacation is a great time to find out, since I can sleep off any negative effects. I got some cream to put in my coffee (I was trying to do the bulletproof coffee but that stuff is so nasty) and cheese to eat. I basically OD’d on cheese while I was on vacation, which totally threw my ketosis off. I spent the next couple of weeks figuring out how to get back on track with dairy in my diet, since I didn’t seem to have any ill effects. It was nice to be able to eat cheese again.

After that, my fiance began to read a book about low-carb diets and what they ultimately do to your metabolism. The ketogenic diet is extremely low-carb, even more low-carb than most low-carb diets. There was a chapter just about the Paleo diet, so I read it. I had to at this point. Nothing I was doing was working out that well, and apparently I was doing something majorly wrong since I gained back pretty much all of the weight I had lost. I was pretty frustrated, but the chapter was enlightening. It reminded me of what this whole thing is about – eating real food. It isn’t about the fat that I eat or the carbs that I eat or any of that. It is about eating real food, period. I have been demonizing carbs this whole time, and it hasn’t helped anything. Weight hasn’t been falling off and I haven’t gotten any healthier because of it. Its all about real food.

So I started adding carbs back in, in the form of vegetables. I don’t care what this book about carbs says; I will not go back to eating grains. I already know how I would feel after I eat those, so I’m not even going there. I’ve upped my carb intake purely through adding a lot of vegetables into my diet. I’ve been doing this for about a week now.

On top of that, I decided that it was time to get serious about getting some more activity into my life. This sitting on the couch thing that I have been doing for so long isn’t cutting it. Yes, I’ve been doing yoga fairly regularly, but it isn’t enough to see any lasting change. What I need to do is get out of the house, move around more. I looked into a gym, one that seemed to have a pretty dedicated, supportive staff. I figured I could get some really good personal training and actually make some progress. And then I got an even better idea.

I got a dog.

I have been wanting a dog for quite a while, years even. But this is the first time that I’ve lived close enough to home to be able to take a dog out on my lunch break. This is the first time in a long time that I’ve had this low stress level in my life. This is the first time that I’ve thought that I could probably handle it.

I didn’t want just any dog, though. I wanted a beagle. I have wanted a beagle since I was young. I think they are the prettiest dogs. So I started looking at beagles, and I found the perfect one. When I was a kid I had a stuffed animal beagle that I named Roxy. I have always wanted to have a real beagle that I could name Roxy, ever since that stuffed animal. When I was searching for the perfect beagle, I came across one that was perfect in every way, including the name. Her name is already Roxy. She is completely house trained and has been a joy. She is an amazing dog. And the best part is, she is motivating me to get out of the house and walking around. She loves being outside. I have been motivated to track my steps ever since she came along, and she is definitely helping me be more active. We have gone for walks twice a day ever since I got her last weekend.

So two life-altering things: I added in a lot more vegetables to my diet (by the way, I’m not nearly as hungry all the time as I used to be, and that seems counter-intuitive), and I’m a lot more active since I have a really good reason to be. In the last seven days I’ve lost seven pounds. I don’t know what is up with that, but it is interesting. Probably water or something, but it is still awesome. I even had someone comment and ask if I had lost weight today.

I know, this whole journey has been more about health than weight, but when you lose fifty pounds in six months and then, without really changing how you eat, you gain it all back, it is frustrating and my tendency is to focus on that. But I’m gaining healthy habits from my quest to lose weight, so I’m not going to beat myself up too bad. I just hope that I remember what I’ve learned as far as the food stuff goes: Adding more vegetables is the way to go. More updates to come.

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Yes, I Have An Allergy

I went to Five Guys for dinner tonight. I love Five Guys. I am so ridiculously strict about what I eat that I won’t get a burger from anywhere, but I can tell that Five Guys doesn’t use fillers in their meat. But I always get my burger lettuce wrapped, and I always tell them that I have an allergy.

I went to a different burger place that was similar to Five Guys back in the winter and ordered a burger without a bun. I didn’t say that I had an allergy. They brought the burger to me with a bun on it, and I took it back. They said that they had gluten-free buns, but I am so strict that I am not going to do the gluten-free. I ordered it with no bun. After waiting forever, they gave me a new burger. After I ate it I was sick as a dog for a week.

Now I ALWAYS say that I have an allergy. And I don’t go back to that other burger place. I had been there several times previously and never had a problem.

On another note, I have decided to start a 100 day challenge. A yoga challenge. I know, I know, every time I post I say something about how I am going to move more and how I need to be more active. Well, I do. I haven’t figured out how to make it work yet. I bought that bike, rode it a couple of times, and it has been sitting on my patio since the weather got hot. I will probably take it out again in the fall, but for now it is holding up my patio railing quite nicely. I figured, though, that I need a goal. I need a measurable goal so that I can track how I am doing. What better goal than to commit do doing some yoga every day for 100 days? I am not specifying what I am doing for the yoga. Usually, even if I didn’t want to do the yoga to begin with, I always end up feeling better and glad that I did it in the middle. I have done two days so far. The interesting thing will be to see how I make it work when school gets back in. Right now my schedule is different so I have time to make it work. I may not have that in a month and a half, but I will work something out, because I want to get through the 100 days. Especially since I am not saying that I have to do any specific poses or anything – I just want to do something for 100 days. If I want to get more experimental or try new things, I can. My first step is to just do it. And that is what I have been doing for the past two days. Tomorrow will be three. Yay, me!

A New Hobby?

So, school is over. I graduated last Friday with an Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. It feels really good to be done, but I think the past few days have been a series of “now what?” moments, where I’m just not sure what happens next. After all, school took up a good deal of my time and energy, and while I am glad that it is over, I know that the empty space where all of that time and energy used to be spent needs to be filled with something. I am not one to sit around that much.

Or am I? I have been looking over my lifestyle, and while I have pretty much conquered the Paleo lifestyle (2+ years and counting!) I haven’t been very active. I lost 50 lbs in the first six months of the Paleo journey and I haven’t lost anything else. I’m horribly out of shape. And I tend to hibernate when the weather gets warm.

Back in December I started doing yoga. It was one of the BEST things I have ever done for myself! I started it for stress relief, because between school and the business that I am trying to get off the ground, I have been a big ball of absolute stress. When the stress from school got really bad and allergy season hit me like a ton of bricks a few weeks ago, I had to stop doing it as regularly as I had been. I don’t think I’ve done anything in about a week now, and it had been a week or so before that. Whenever I get off the mat, I miss it. And every time I step back on the mat I talk about how I shouldn’t have let it take so long before I got on the mat again. Yoga is definitely something that I want to keep doing, for the stress benefits and the health benefits as well. I have seen improvement of my strength and flexibility since I started, and I may have to come up with some sort of schedule so that I will keep doing it more regularly.

I started my spring vacation today, and I stepped out on a big limb. I bought a bike. This is huge for me, because – as I said – I tend to hibernate when the weather gets warm. I don’t think I have voluntarily done anything outdoors that would make me hot and sweaty (get your mind out of the gutter!) in years, so this is a very big leap. Not only that, but I’m pretty sure that I haven’t ridden a bike since I was a teenager. I was anxious about getting a bike the right size since I am incredibly short, but the one that I got is perfect. The guy at the bike shop that we went to was very helpful and helped me pick out a bike that fit me perfectly. I took the bike out when I got home, and had to do a little adjusting, but after taking it back out again later, I felt just like a kid again on that bike. It was great, to feel the wind as I was riding down the road. Bikes have come a long way since I had one, so I have been getting used to changing gears. I have come a long way since I had one, too (not necessarily in a good way) so I have also been getting used to pedaling up hills again. It was fun taking it out and riding around, and the great thing is that we have a bunch of bike trails right near our house – we are in the middle of the biking area of town. I should have no problems finding places to bike.

So this is something that I want to schedule some time for, too. I need to make myself get outdoors more and move around more. It will probably help my overall mood and strength and probably other things, too. And now that school is over, I have more time to blog about it, too!

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!

Lessons Learned – A New Year Do-Over

Yes, I wussed out again. Remember when I told you about the girl that I work with who does CrossFit? And how excited I was about it? And how I was going to renew my focus on being able to do CrossFit in the new year? That was great, and a great feeling, but great feelings can’t get you through a workout. As some of you know, I have been doing CrossFit workouts at home for about six months now, although not all that consistently. The day after I posted that post, I looked up the workout for CrossFit Greensboro. It was a Saturday, and I was pumped.

Until I saw the workout: 800 m run? How far is 800 meters?

I pulled out Google and looked it up. And my heart sank: 800 meters is roughly half a mile.

Now, I’ve never been all that big into running. I have several family members who do the long distance running thing, and I have sat back in awe that anyone can do that, while secretly wishing that I could do it too. My second foray into a CrossFit gym had me walk out of the gym, completely worn out, after a half mile run. And that was just the warm up that day! I just don’t have the stamina and endurance to do it. Let’s face it – I’ve been sitting on the couch for seven years now. Stamina and endurance have a tendency to disappear when you do that.

Of course, there was more to the workout, and I considered dropping the running part and just doing the rest. 50 pull ups, 100 push ups, 150 squats. Oh, and then we were supposed to run another 800 m.

I debated dropping the running and doing the rest. I debated riding down the road to this gravel track nearby, doing the running, coming home to do the rest, and driving back out there to do the second run. I weighed it all. And then I stopped and got completely honest with myself. Do I really want to walk into a gym where they expect you to do these kind of runs every now and then, knowing full well that I simply can’t do it? One of the reasons why I walked out of the gym the last time was because I was so completely embarrassed by my performance. Do I want to put myself through that again? Is it worth it?

I weighed it all week, although not entirely seriously. I talked to the girl and told her that I planned on coming. I worked the cost into my budget. I stopped thinking about it. And then I talked to another friend of mine who I used to go to a different gym with. She told me how much I had inspired her to get busy in the gym. She’s been going all year. She hasn’t gotten hung up on what gym to go to and what workout to do. She has simply been going and getting it done.

I went to my old gym with her yesterday, and I have to say that I have missed it. I downloaded the “Couch to 5K” app on my phone so that I can work on my running, stamina, and endurance in a place where I won’t feel intimidated and embarrassed. I did my first workout with it yesterday, and it was really all that I needed. A structured running workout that I can restructure to my pace, because even that workout will get to be too much for me in about a week. And this morning I did some squats, and you know what? I realized that I don’t need a CrossFit gym to do this. I can tell that I am doing the squats right now. I am getting better at it. I have been working on my squats for an entire year on my own, and I am conquering them on my own. It took a while, but when I noticed that my center of gravity was different going down into the squat than it used to be and that I was getting lower into the squat than I used to, I was so proud of myself. Because I did that all by myself. Shoot, I’m getting choked up just writing about it, because that has been my goal for an entire year, and this morning I knew that I had reached it.

I told my friend yesterday that she ended up inspiring me just as much as I inspired her. I need to quit trying to make this so hard and just get out there and do what I can do. Every trip to the gym is a victory, and when a milestone is reached like the one I reached this morning, it is an even bigger victory. There are ways that I can identify goals that I want to reach, but I don’t need the name and the big, expensive gym to reach them. I just need patience and dedication. And I have shown myself that I really do have that. I told my fiancé yesterday about my friend saying how much I inspired her, and I asked him why it has been so hard for me to inspire myself. Well, now I see how that works, and I see the bigger picture.

Letting Go of the Pity Party

So I was thinking about my last post – I have been thinking about it since I wrote it – and it hit me all of the sudden: “Geez! You are being so WHINY!” I mean, I have been doing this diet since September, fully planning on making it a permanent part of my life. I was going to the gym regularly – I’m not sure why I stopped. I’ve lost almost forty pounds and have had a level of commitment that I’m not sure I’ve ever had before… and all I can do is whine about my upcoming vacation?!

Really, after I thought about it, I was really mad at myself. I mean, how can I talk like that after everything I have done to be successful? Am I really going to let a weekend trip bend me out of shape that much? The answer, of course, is

NO

So today I decided to stop the pity party. That really was what it was; I haven’t lost any weight in a couple of months and I haven’t really taken the time to figure out why. I have probably done what many others have done throughout the winter and let some things slide that I normally wouldn’t have. I think that my focus needs to change from pity-party central to trying to clean up my diet. I have thought about doing a Whole 30, but I think I can clean up my act pretty well without that. I went shopping today after browsing Chowstalker.com, so I have food for the week.

I also found Everyday Paleo  Lifestyle and Fitness. I have a feeling that this site is going to be my saving grace. I think that the whole Crossfit debacle was a total downer for me (probably part of my mental problem), but this site lists workouts that seem very similar to Crossfit workouts, but they have a beginner’s level! Meaning that I can work my way up the the intense Crossfit stuff. They even have tests for you to do in the beginner level so that you can tell whether or not you are ready to go on the the next level. I am very excited about starting that this week, as well as cleaning up my eating.

So tonight I made Stuffed Peppers and they are awesome (I say they are awesome because I am eating them right now). Tomorrow I am going to be working on 5-Spice Slow-Cooker Pork Ribs (although I went to EarthFare with the express purpose of buying some coconut aminos, but walked out of the store with a lot of other stuff – and no coconut aminos). My biggest problem is finding stuff to munch on, since I seem to be hungry a lot lately, but I will figure that out, too. I am going to clean it up and pay attention to my body, and hopefully soon I will have a very positive update on weight loss or a pant size lost or something like that! At the very least I can talk about how much better I feel.

Crossfit Workout #2

I am actually sitting in the parking lot outside of the Crossfit gym as I type this, waiting for my third class to start. I figured that I could pass the time by posting about my second class.

First of all – OMG I am so tired! I am so tired that I called the coach while I was on my lunch break to see what I needed to do to cancel, but talking to him actually made me feel better so here I am: sitting in the parking lot. I know that I wouldn’t be nearly this tired if I weren’t in such bad shape, and knowing that is actually pretty good motivation for me to continue on.

The workout on Wednesday was not quite the same as the one on Monday. The same key points were hit, but we played around with different equipment and the WOD was different. It was more fun, too, because it wasn’t my first time there so I didn’t feel completely out of my element. Mostly, but not completely. It also made me look forward to what they are going to do tonight, because I know that they aren’t going to do the same thing.

I do still feel like I am getting a cold, and the feeling is worse than it was before. Yet another reason, maybe, to not go in those doors tonight, but this is my last foundation class and then I can spend the whole weekend sleeping if I want to. So I am going to tough it out and get through it and then next week I will be taking level 1 classes, which is exciting.

I actually dreamed about bread last night for the first time since I posted about dreaming about bread. This Crossfit stuff is definitely affecting me in weird ways. It was good bread, too – that warm Italian bread like they serve at Carrabba’s, but it was made into a sandwich. I guess that since I’m tired from working out, my body feels the need to throw a sugar tantrum.