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!

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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.

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.

The Rough Week

This past week was ROUGH! I’m not sure if it was after-affects of my body’s sugar tantrum, or if my body was just getting used to my new lifestyle, but I was so amazingly tired all week long. I had to drag myself – sometimes kicking and screaming – through the entire week. Whenever I am tired I crave carbs, so when I smelled anything like bread or sugar, I wanted it – but I didn’t give in.

And it was worth it, too! All day on Friday I could think of nothing but going to bed extremely early and sleeping for at least ten hours! But then, around four o’clock, something happened. I got my energy back. It happened slowly – I felt myself gradually being able to handle more and more activity – until I was a fireball by the time I got home. I was able to handle my daughters, whereas before I felt totally overwhelmed. I was able to do things around the house and homework and dinner, and all kinds of stuff.

The energy has carried over to today, which translated to packing the entire family up in the van and heading to the farmer’s market. It was very windy, overcast, and drippy when we got there, but we trudged through and I got to show my youngest some herbs and vegetables. She was more interested in the flowers, but as the weather improved slightly while we were there, both girls became a little more lively and seemed to take an interest in what was going on. It was a good first experience, and I look forward to taking them back frequently. I also found a vendor who was selling herbs to plant, which is good to know since I want to start my own herb garden.

We came back with an entire refrigerator worth of vegetables, and I think my fiance has doubts as to whether or not we will cook them all this week. After assuring him that we will, I’d better make sure that we do! I got a great head start this evening, when he grilled up two rib eyes and I sauteed up a whole skillet full of vegetables. We both agreed that it was a fine meal, and it was a wonderful way to end this rough week.

Pacing Myself

I have found that this go-around, I am doing a much better job of listening to my body and trying to rest when it tells me it needs rest. I am also not going all gung-ho during my workouts, when it is very obvious that I’m not ready for gung-ho anything. This is helping a lot. Last week I felt myself getting sick, and I took a day off from my workouts. I didn’t get sick! This week, I am trying to pace myself during my workouts, so that I can work out the prescribed number of days and not burn out. But before I do a workout, I ask myself two questions: How do I feel now, and How do I think I am going to feel after my workout?

I work in childcare, which is a hugely draining job in and of itself. Add to that workouts that I’m not used to doing, and I have a perfect recipe for burn-out. So I am trying to be very careful this time about what I do and when I do it. I do not want to get pneumonia again, and I think that my workout style back then, coupled with my smoking habit, contributed greatly to my getting pneumonia.

Did I mention that I won’t be weighing myself every week? Probably once every four weeks is what I will do, so I won’t see updated numbers for another three weeks or so. I’m looking forward to what those numbers will tell me!

Another Weigh-In

I lost another pound. I have now lost all of the weight that I gained over the holidays. A very good thought, but now my new goal is to lose all of the weight that I have gained since I met my boyfriend.

I didn’t feel much like doing my workout today. I did some – some yoga poses for toning and lengthening. It went pretty well. I think I’m coming down with a cold, so my energy level is kind of low. I looked online about if you should exercise with a cold, and it said that it was okay. I do think that lack of proper sleep is what is causing my symptoms, though, so I am trying to take it easy today without doing away with my workout. I will also probably get a nap this afternoon. I pushed up my workout intensity from beginner to intermediate this week, so I’m sure that is one factor of how I am feeling. So begins a new week. I am excited! I feel like I have accomplished so much, and I am trying to listen to my body through all of this, too, so that I don’t over-do it. So far, this has been a great experience.