Getting the Family Involved

Today is a proud day in our Paleo household. First of all, my fiance has been eating cleaner for a couple of weeks now. He has already talked about how much better he feels, and his blood sugar has stabilized. Second, my teenage daughter went with me to CrossFit on Friday and Saturday. She seems to really enjoy it, because when my fiance asked me when we were going back and I said Monday or Tuesday, she said, “Oh please, Monday!” But the greatest shocker to me came as we were leaving the gym on Friday and she said that she wanted to start my diet.

It took nine months, and I never thought it would happen, but it happened.

She has been rather disappointed about some of the items that she has found out that she will have to give up, but I am working with her to try to find substitutes for those things. After all, when your teenager tells you that she wants to eat healthier, you had better try hard to move heaven and earth to help her be successful! She eats barbecue sauce on everything, so that is probably the first thing I am going to try to figure out. She even tried a piece of sauteed onion with her dinner this evening!

With the teenager on board, and with our new focus on fitness and being healthy, I have also started taking steps to wean my younger daughter off of the constant cereal, granola bars, sandwiches, and chicken nuggets that she has been consuming. I already know that the hardest thing to deal with will be the cereal – I am hoping to get her to try some eggs later in the week. We found some frozen rotisserie chicken wings at Sam’s Club. They aren’t totally Paleo, but they are a gigantic step toward getting away from the breaded chicken nuggets that she has been eating. She had some for dinner this evening and she really liked them. She has been snacking on more fruit, and is eating more salads with her meals instead of the sides that she was eating before.

I am one proud mama right now. I really didn’t think that this day would come, but here it is, and I am loving every minute of it. I love sharing CrossFit with my daughter, and I am really going to enjoy teaching her how to eat healthier. I think that the experience has already brought us closer together, and I am very glad of that.

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My Cheating Heart

Okay, I have a confession to make. Last week was a rough week. I have had SO many wonderful things happening that I had to cut some things loose, which broke my heart (although this week I have found out that I didn’t really cut them loose at all). By the end of the week I was ready for a stress-free weekend – meaning no work, no school, no extra-curricular planning for the teacher trainings that I am going to do… and no stressing out over the diet. I pretty much ate whatever I wanted except for the bread, rice, pasta, or potatoes. And I loved every bite of it.

This week has been rough, of course, as my body tries to rid itself of all of the sugar that I inevitably ate over the weekend. I’m sure there was other stuff in all of that food that I ate, too, but I do have to say that I needed that plunge. I was happy that I was able to keep my self-control enough to not be tempted by the bread and things like that – especially since the biscuits and gravy seemed to be calling my name at Golden Corral on Sunday morning.

As I reflect on the weekend and how proud of myself I am, as well as taking mental notes on the hell my body is going through right now as it recovers, I am getting a little worried about the annual vacation that my fiance and I take each May. I’m not incredibly worried about anything except the very first meal that we are going to have, which will be at a little seafood joint in Wilmington. If I remember correctly, they don’t have a lot of broiled or grilled anything on their menu. Last year I caved so bad at the same restaurant – the first meal of the vacation. But last year in May I wasn’t on the Paleo diet, I didn’t have the conviction behind me because I hadn’t been able to observe how my body handles some foods. I was on a regular low-carb diet then, still eating dairy and probably a lot of other things that I have found since then do my body incredible damage. My self-control was lower than it is now because I was eating things that was causing my body to crave other things. That isn’t happening since I have found out what my body can handle and what it can’t.

Usually I don’t let it stress me so much, but sometimes I go into the annual vacation thinking, “It is vacation! Eat what you want and then come back and get over it!” However, I know how hard it is to start over on this diet. I know that once you eat the carby food, you crave more and it could snowball – especially since I have been so addicted to carbs my whole life. I know how hard it is to start over, and I know how rough that two week period where your body heals and gets rid of the crap is (I’m going through it again right now!). I don’t think I could allow myself to go into this vacation and eat whatever I want, especially since I have made such great progress.

I guess part of my problem is that I know that it is going to be hard to plan for everything, but at the same time I know how great my self-control and motivation has been. I know that I will probably be fine, but I want to be able to enjoy myself and have my fiance enjoy himself while we are on the vacation. I know that enjoying myself doesn’t have as much to do with the food, and that I can get through the vacation on the 80%-20% rule – although I’m really not sure what the 80%-20% rule is. Maybe it is exactly how I ate over this past weekend. If it is, I think that I will probably be fine.

I Did It!

Yes, I did it. I made it  to my goal of being under 200 lbs. before New Year’s.

What a great feeling! This is the first time that I have seen a one at the beginning of my weight since I was pregnant with my second child six years ago. So I am definitely celebrating today!

But while I am celebrating, and since it is almost New Year’s, I think that it is time to reflect on some of the things that I have learned these past six months. Learning is all about reflection, after all, and this process has definitely been a learning process. So here are some of the things I have learned:

1. Eat.

I recently wrote about my weight loss slowing down, and how aggravated I was about it. After I wrote that post, I  began counting my calories so that I could figure out what was going on. On the first day that I counted, I only ate a little over 1400 calories – a number that seems almost impossible to me! I don’t think I have eaten that few amount of calories voluntarily…ever! Then I started looking at my habits. I had begun to skip breakfast because my mornings are so busy. I would make breakfast, but then I wouldn’t eat it until lunch because of all the running around I was doing. You would think that I know better than that! I believe that was what has accounted for the majority of my issues when it comes to consuming too little food. I have had a little down time this past week, so I have begun trying to come up with a new plan for when school starts next week!

2. Eat Your Vegetables.

Especially when doing Paleo! I got sick a few days before Thanksgiving – nausea, diarrhea, no energy. When my daughter got sick with salmonella a few days later, I thought that was what I had experienced. But a few weeks later, I got sick again in the exact same way! So I pulled out my Paleo Diet Book to try to find some answers – and find answers I did! Apparently, if you eat too much protein without vegetables or fats to go with it, you will get sick – with diarrhea, nausea, and no energy. My days of skipping to the grocery store for a rotisserie chicken and nothing else have been over ever since, and I have been trying to find some new, yummy things to put on my salad to add more flavor. My current favorites are a basil-infused olive oil that I found, and red wine vinegar. I have also added more avocados to my diet – I can’t get enough of those, anyway! Last night I made up a double batch of Garden Fresh Meatballs so that I will have something to fall back on when I get tired of the salads. I will let you know how well they come out after being frozen!

3. Listen to your body.

I have been repeatedly laughed at and made fun of for some of the things that I have become very hard-core about since starting this diet. Like, I won’t eat anything if it has any type of sugar in it. I have found out from experience that even the smallest amount of sugar will give me GI problems that cause a lot of pain and heartache (or stomachache, actually). It isn’t worth it. I read the hell out of labels to make sure that there are no hidden starches or sugars in anything. The bloating, pain, and other things aren’t worth it to me, either. Sometimes I eat something that causes the scale to tick up slightly, but as long as I think that the splurge is worth it in the long run, it is okay. I definitely stay away from wheat and bread products. I inadvertently ate a cracker one day at the farmer’s market and I was so sleepy and run-down for two days! That is definitely not worth it! I have found out that my body can handle sweet potatoes pretty well, so I have added them to my diet – not an every day thing, but I will eat one every now and then.

4. Variety is the Spice of Life

I have been on the lookout for some new recipes, because we all get tired of the same old thing over and over again. I have found that I can take a lot of recipes, use different spices in them, and have a totally cool new eating experience. I did this last night with my Garden Fresh Meatballs. I have found that altering recipes just slightly to please my taste buds goes a long way in determining whether or not I am satisfied – as in, I don’t desire anything else to eat when I am done eating. I have modified so many recipes in this way, from the Crusty Chicken recipe (which is actually a fusion of two other, different recipes), to the Best Chili Ever recipe, which I have to modify because it didn’t agree with my stomach at all (it sure did taste good, though)! I am also trying to figure out a way to modify my salmon, because I eat that a lot for breakfast, but it really is getting old.

5. Lift weights.

One thing that has amazed me since I started this is how much stronger I am. I haven’t been doing any cardio since I read the “Body by Science” book, and I have enjoyed my workouts so much more because of it! It really is fun to go and lift, and when you realize that it is time to add more weight, it is super exciting! I wish that I had written down what weights I started with when I started lifting, but all I know now is that I love going to the gym, and I love that my workout is so short – just 30 minutes to an hour, depending on how motivated I am. When someone mentions doing cardio when they are with me at the gym now, I cringe and try to get out of it any way that I can. I did get on the elliptical machine a few weeks ago, and I was amazed at how much better I did on that machine than I did before I started lifting. I can definitely tell that I am stronger! I have no idea how much muscle I have gained, but it doesn’t matter – all that matters is that I fit into my clothes better!

6. Sometimes the “Experts” Have It Right – They Just Have the Wrong Starting Point

I have seen or heard many things that have come out of expert’s mouths that have actually sounded common-sense to me lately, but only if you think about it in the context of a Paleo diet. When I think about them in terms of SAD (Standard American Diet), they make no sense at all. I’m talking about the studies that say “Eating this or that can help prevent this or that disease” or things like that. I am going to have to start keeping up with these things that I hear, because I can’t think of a single specific one now that I am trying to write about it, and it would be fun to put them in their own blog post.

I am so excited looking forward into the New Year – excited about all of the things that I can accomplish now that I have accomplished this. This is so huge to me, because I have been trying to accomplish it for about two years now! And with this new lifestyle, I accomplished it in three months! I went through all of my “skinny” clothes yesterday – I haven’t done that in a LONG time, and there were clothes in there that I had forgotten about! It was so much fun going through those clothes and knowing that it really is possible to be wearing them again! And that is my next goal, to be able to fit into those clothes again! It will happen in this coming year, and I am excited about sharing the journey to get there!

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.