Appreciate the Now

A lesson is repeated until it is learned.  I heard that from my mom about a million or so years ago and it’s always stuck with me.  Especially in times of frustration when I feel like the same things keep happening over and over again and I can’t figure out why, that little eight word sentence pops into my mind and I’m reminded that maybe the same thing is happening over and over again because I don’t ‘get it’ yet.

Back on December 30th, I decided to detox from my Christmas Binge Extravaganza and do a Whole 30.  The purpose of my involvement at that time was to try and detoxify all the chemicals and sugar and inflammatory foods out of my body that I had willingly (and joyfully, no shame!) jammed in there over a month.  At the time I was also running about 2.5miles every second day in an effort to get ready for a big run (5K) that my sister and wanted to do (and did).  I took a before picture as per usual and then took the after picture.  Now, here’s where the lesson returns with a vengeance.  That after picture… I was dressed in my yoga pants and my favorite hot pink tight fitting yoga top.  Looking back on that photo four months (and a considerable amount of stress later), I’m very proud of the girl that stood there. The problem is that that girl didn’t appreciate the results of the hard work and dedication that it took to get her there.  And that’s the lesson.  I’ve seen pictures from when I was much younger and I was told (and believed) that I was an overweight cow and should be on a perpetual diet.  To put that overweight cow in perspective, I was a size 8/10.  For 5’10 that’s a pretty healthy, in shape size.  In the photos from then and from January, all I could see at the time were the flaws.  A roll of belly fat here, an arm that ‘seemed’ too fluffy there… a poor angled photo that implied a double chin or some other ‘ghastly’ flaw.

What do I see when I look at those photos now?  Wasted opportunity.  I see wasted opportunity to be loving and compassionate to myself.  I see wasted opportunity to be proud of myself and confident that I am worthy of wearing shorts and tight fitting tanks.

The reason that this is coming up is because I’m frustrated with the body shape progress I’m making in my current Whole 40.  I’m looking at the pictures from January, where I was much slimmer than I am now (truth be told… it’s not MUCH… it’s some) and wishing I would have appreciated the place I was. I’m looking at those pictures KNOWING that I didn’t see the progress and didn’t see the victories.

I actually believe that my stalled progress (if it’s even stalled… it’s only been 15 days) is BECAUSE of my current obsession with photographing myself and then comparing it to January.  Stress like that can make you hold on to fat and adipose tissue.  It can keep you inflamed and puffy.  I’m sure there’s science behind that to back up the statement but I’m not about to go look it up.  I’ve read it before, I know it’s true.

So my next 15 days (the duration of a standard W30) will be dedicated to appreciating where I am exactly in the moments that I am there.  I really want to work on appreciating that the reason that I have puffed during Puffer Fish Week is because I am a health and presumably fertile woman. I want to appreciate that the size of my quads makes easier work of propelling myself home on foot 3 days a week.  (dudes, at the end of today, I’ll have logged 60KM in 15 days!)  I want to appreciate that my favorite hot pink tanktop fits, looks good and makes me feel powerful as I motor down the street.  It’s really hard in this day and age of exceptionally high beauty standards for women (even for those of us that know that health is first and foremost) to appreciate your current place. I always say that if someone is working toward making themselves healthier, then I will give them all the kudos in the world because they deserve it.  So why then, would I not give myself that same appreciation.

I don’t know what this next 15 days looks like in terms of actual measurable success, because it’s pretty hard to measure appreciation.  I do think that it’s reasonable to not take another body selfie to compare to January until at least the 30th day.  Right now I’m comparing a 30 day accomplishment to a 15 day accomplishment… how insane is that!!!

If anyone else out there is doing a Whole30, rock on with your bad self!  You’re (we are) doing something that presumably 99.9% of the regular everyday people around you (us) wouldn’t attempt.  That’s huge!

Day 11 and My Secret for Amazing Hair

Good morning Day 11!!

I’m over a ¼ of the way through my W40 today and feel fantastic!

One of the things that is making me feel fantastic is my current obsession with Pork Bone Broth!  I’ve been making it for about five or six weeks now and I think I’ve officially become an addict. (and also perfected my method!)I drink 500ml of it every morning before breakfast and I’m starting to see and feel real benefits.

First off, the mental reward is very important to me.  It actually feels like a big cheat to get to drink it every day because it tastes so decadent that my mind is tricked into thinking it’s a treat.  It’s also mentally empowering to know that I’m consuming something that is so good for me and completely pure.  I use organic, pork bones from my ethical butcher, so I know I’m getting good wholesome nutrients.  When I drink it, I visualize my body’s cells celebrating and becoming stronger and healthier. That might sound stupid… but visualization is actually scientifically proven… I think… or whatever 😉

The second reward is that my hair, skin and nails are incredibly healthy right now. My nails are growing strong and like wild fire and are not splitting at the sides like they normally do.  My hair is springy and strong and also growing like wildfire and the most incredible part of all, which I am attributing to the bone broth… my hairline is changing!  I have a bit of a receding hair line shape and I’ve always hated it… Just yesterday I noticed that in the two receding parts on either side of my bangs, there’s thick new growth.  It’s about an inch long already and already thick enough to change the shape of my hairline to a more attractive (to me) shape.

Maybe my healthy hair growth can be attributed to the bone broth or maybe to my generally healthy state right now… I really want to give that point to the bones tho!

Here’s my ‘recipe’ for bone broth if you want to try it yourself!

3 pounds of high quality pork bones and one or two trotters (called ‘hoofies’ in my house)

3 carrots, roughly chopped

½ a bunch of celery, roughly chopped (I just chop the entire thing about halfway down from the top so I get the leaves and greener parts and then I compost the rest because I think celery is disgusting!)

1 med/large yellow onion, roughly chopped (skin removed)

6-8 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped or smashed

2-3 bay leaves

2 dried chili peppers

1 bunch parsley. You can either chop it or just lay it in there like a nice bed for your hoofies

1 bunch thyme

Handful of peppercorns

An amount of salt… I put a generous amount in…. it’s up to you.  You can always add more when you consume it.

2-4 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar (I don’t’ measure, I just dump some in).

Layer all your ingredients in a large crockpot and then fill with water* to cover.Put the lid on that puppy and set it to your low setting.  Mine is 10 hours.  I reset it a couple times and cook it for about 24 hours.

When it’s done (or you’ve reached your level of patience), strain it through a fine sieve and then place into canning jars.  If you want to freeze it, put it in 500ml mason jars with 1” of room left over.  Pop into the freezer and let it freeze before you put the lids on.  This makes six 500ml mason jars of broth which keep in the fridge for… you guessed it, six days!

*Now… If you’re going to make broth every week like I do, and you are a stingy old miser like me and also want to get the MOST nutrients out of your bones and broth, you can do what the French call Remouillage (which will replace the water for every subsequent bone broth endeavor you make) Basically Remouillage is a fancy word for ‘second batch’ and here’s how it works.

Strain out your amazingly flavorful broth as above and then instead of throwing out the cooked bones and veg, fill the crock back up with water and set to low again for 10-18 (or longer) hours.  When that’s done, strain through a fine mesh sieve, let it cool and then freeze it.  Next week when you’re ready to make another fresh batch of broth with a fresh batch of bones, defrost your Remouillage and use that liquid in place of the water.  Basically you’re going to make your bone broth with bone broth, which is much more nutrient dense (and flavorful) than water.

Remouillage makes me feel like I’ve eeked out every last bit of nutrient from those bones and am making sure the broth I spend valuable time making every week is going to be as healthy and nutrient rich as possible.  (and really, it’s no more work to run the crockpot the second time…

So there you have it… a recipe for Pork Bone Broth (which you can do with any other high quality bones as well) that will make you healthy, happy and with a beautifully shaped hairline!

Day 2, KM’s 8-16

Today marks Day 2 of my Whole40 and the second day I will motor home under my own power.

Nothing is really different from 24 hours ago except that I made a decision… a commitment to myself to do something good for myself.  Something I know is successful.  Something that I know is not necessarily a cake walk but something I know I can do.  I am giddy with excitement knowing how amazing I’m going to feel in 40 days and how proud of myself I will be when I’m done!  I know I will feel that I earned that good feeling and there is a sense of euphoria that can only come from choosing to do something outside your own ‘norm’.

Ran/walked home from work yesterday.  7.75KM in 1 hour and 26 SECONDS… dang… My goal in the next three weeks is to take that 26 seconds off.  Not a huge goal I know, but this is a ‘marathon’ not a ‘sprint’ and it’s about DOING it, not doing it faster than anyone ever has.  It’s about doing it, not talking about it.  It’s about just DOING IT!!  So today I will go DO it again and get kilometers 8 through 16 under my belt.

Actions speak louder than words.  I’m off to go action my future now!

 

 

 

One Year Ago

Today is my one year anniversary of living the Whole9 lifestyle.  I started my first W30 a year ago today and never looked back.  Have I fallen off the wagon and done some food things I’m not proud of?  Sure…. Anyone that says that they live a normal life for a year and don’t make any off roading choices or make any slip ups are probably lying to you. 

The greatest thing about the last year has been that it has not been entirely about food… in fact, it was really only tangentially about food.  

I’m not going to list all the things I learned here… I’m going to share instead, something I wrote for the Whole 30 blog, which you can see here… It was edited down a bit, so this is the whole copy… 

The motto of my blog and my life is ‘Time passes anyway.  Do something useful with it.’.  This is one of the first times in my life that I can look back at a year and know I did the best I could do with that year to be in a better place than I was a year ago… 

After existing for many years in a vacuum of love and respect and allowing the trauma of that to colour my own vision of myself, I had finally come to a place where I knew I could no longer sustain the way I was living.  Although I didn’t know what the outcome would be I knew that when I really made an effort to love & respect myself is when my whole world would start to change. I started a Whole 30 in February of 2013 and I have never looked back. I choose to eat good whole foods because I truly want to and because it makes my body feel better which, in turn, makes my mind feel better.  It has never been about my size or a pair of pants, it has always been about how I could best show love to myself.  

The most amazing part of choosing to approach my health and fitness from a place of love is that I truly do love myself. I look in the mirror and into my own eyes and see love and beauty, calm and kindness and above all, respect.  I could have punished myself with the gym and obsessed over calories, but the success that I have achieved by doing it from a place of self-love and self-respect is worth so much more than the size of my pants.  When I started this in 2013 I chose to work on my happiness (or lack thereof) and decided that I would focus on how I felt.  Even now, as I’ve seen incredible results and changed my life, the driving factor has always remained how I feel.  Do I feel in control, happy, sane?  I have found that focusing on important internal things instead of a number on the scale or a pants size has turned Whole30 into a lifestyle for me and that means that it’s sustainable. (I’m pretty strict Paleo even when I’m not doing Whole30) Going for a run and eating good, whole, nourishing food because I want to express love for myself; that will stand the test of both good times and bad.  

The side effect of loving myself through a framework of Whole30, has been a weight loss upwards of 80 pounds and many skin and pain conditions have completely resolved themselves.  My life will never be the same and I have Melissa, Dallas and Whole30 to thank for that!

Today is the last day that I compare YearAgoMe with CurrentMe.

Here are the pictures.  Now I just live life as this new me.

IMG_5940 IMG_5687

Dear Scale

Dear Scale;

Every morning I climb out of bed and touch my bed warmed bare toes to your cold hard glass… sometimes I go to the bathroom and then come back and do it again… that’s not healthy dude…

You give me the same number every day, regardless of what I’ve been doing/eating/not eating/not doing.

There are so many indicators of health and fitness that you seem blind to… do you even care how I sleep?  How my skin looks?  Whether my pants are looser and my eyes are brighter?  No, I know you don’t.  You only care about the density of whatever is standing on your cold glass.

I’ve gotten smaller and leaner and fitter in the last few months and you still seem to be stuck on the ‘number’.  Well I’m going to make this very easy for both of us.  I don’t care about your number.  I don’t ever want to put my toasty toes on your cold surface ever again!

I was going to wait until February 24th to break up with you… that’ll be a year since I started my health and fitness journey and a year since I was a LOT bigger than I am now.

But I’ve decided, much like when I decided to start my first Whole30, that if you want to do something and you can’t just ‘start today’ doing it, you’re probably not ready.  So because I am absolutely ready, I’m going to start today.

Also, here’s a little secret history about you… I stole you.  From someone I greatly dislike now.  Which means that you are bad karma to have in my house anyway!

See you later!

D

Done… or Am I?

Okay so I was going to cheer a little celebration that yesterday was the 30th day of my Whole 30… but really… nothing changes.. I don’t go back to eating bagels and cheddar cheese for dinner or accepting the offers of chocolates in the office.  I don’t bust into my 18 bottles of wine in my bar (I need to have a PARTY!) or drink Jack Daniels straight from the bottle… (no I didn’t actually used to do that…. Did I???)

A Whole 30 is a great reset… a great way to remind myself of all the reasons that I choose this lifestyle.  It’s a tool to break the bit of a rut one (me) can kind of get into every once in a while when we (I) let too many treats go by.

The thing is… even the book says… No one is expected to do Whole365… not a single person.  We are ALL expected to build in off roading to be able to keep some balance, participate in life events and generally feel some modicum of sanity… sometimes ice cream IS sanity.

I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I didn’t know what I was supposed to learn from this Whole 30…. Well, I think what I’m learning right now is that it is important to listen to my body… it doesn’t want to be done.  It doesn’t want carrot cake yet… it doesn’t want wine with a friend and it doesn’t want to stop at 30 days.  Maybe it will want to stop at 35 days… or 40… I don’t know… what I do know is that I am going to let it tell me… in the meantime, I’ll keep Whole30ing on…

I also think it’s wildly unfair that my 30 day success picture was taken today, at the 2nd day of my Puffer-Fish Week… and the numbers… well they’re off too now… I know I lost 8lbs in the first three weeks… now the scale says I’ve gained it all back plus some…. That is not accurate and is yet another reason why the scale is kind of useless…

Anyway, here is the December 29th picture and today’s picture, 30 days later.

January W30

Also a before and after from when I first started this little journey… I’ve made a pact that once my 1 year W30 anniversary passes, I will no longer make before and after photos using the old 2013 picture.  I am not that person anymore… in any aspect of my life.  And to keep comparing after the 1 year anniversary seems a bit pointless.  I will keep them all tho… printed out and put in an envelope with all my other important documents and then I will erase them from my phone.

March to January

Good luck to everyone on the last hundred yard dash of January Whole 30 and to those starting! You can do it!

Hold my Hand

My sister and I are doing a 5 KM ‘fun run’ on Sunday.

It’s kind of a big deal you see.

We have never in our lives (that I can remember from the time we were 15… which is a long time ago but please don’t do the math!) been in the same place health and fitness wise as each other.

When I’ve been in shape and in a healthy frame of mind, she has not.  When she made her move to improve her life and her health/fitness, I was going down the path of self-destruction… a path I went a loooong way down.

Now, here in our 35th year, we are finally in a place in life where we are walking down the same road in the same direction… near about the same spot on the road even.  If you’re picturing that road, we’re so close to each other we could reach out and hold hands.

So on Sunday, when we run this race together, I plan to hold her hand as we cross the finish line.  We’ve worked very hard and waited a long time for the chance to do that.

Wish us luck!