Halfway Kids!!

Today is Day 19 and I’m (pretty much) halfway through my Whole40!!!

The goals that I had set for myself have been pretty much reached here at the halfway point so it’s time for some new ones on the back half.

To recap on what I’ve achieved in the last 20 days:

Goal #1A: Relief of my almost daily headaches.  This has been a bit of a hit and miss… the headaches that I was getting throughout the day have gone but have been unfortunately replaced with a pretty much ongoing stress headache.  I’m using my massage therapist to help with that but it’s not food related anymore.

Goal #2A: Less Itchy Skin.  I’m less itchy but I think it’s partially because my sister pointed out to my dismay that I may in fact be allergic to grapes, and having cut those out, I am indeed less itchy.  Overall my skin is pretty kick ass and I have almost no dermatitis on my hands, which I often get from eating crappy food.

Goal #3A: Kick my current obsession over ice cream.   Ya, I’d say this is pretty much kicked.  Would I eat ice cream if it miraculously ended up in my house right now?  Yes, probably but I’m not obsessed with the mental battle over whether or not I should go buy some (and then consume it in it’s entirety).

Goal #4A: Wake up feeling more rested.  Yes, this is (aside from yesterday being hit with the fatigue stick), I’m sleeping much better and for less time but more quality time.  I wake up at 5am without an alarm daily.  I’d say that’s a met goal!

Goal #5A: Log as many kilometers as possible. Well, as there is no actual number, it’s hard to say whether that was reached or not, but I did make a commitment to get home from work (8KM) under my own power 3x a week and I’ve done that. (today being the last day).  I’ve logged 76 kilometers (47 miles) in the last 19 days. The work based challenge that precipitated that is over as of today but my plan is to keep up the 3 days a week for at least the duration of my W40… then I go on holidays and I’ll figure out the next steps (punny) after I get back. If I manage it, that’s 7 more walks, which will be a total during my W40 of 132KM (82 miles).

Goal #6A: Eat more vegetables.  I was pretty uninspired by my meal plan this week but I ate a decent amount of veg at every meal (except last night). I’ll leave this on my goals for the back half of the W40.

Goal #7A: Fit my denim capris more comfortably.  Yes.  They fit perfectly now.  They will now start to get to big, which is okay for a little while… They’re cute and I get a ton of compliments on them but the rivets on the pockets gives me a rash spot.  I’ll try nail polishing the rivet and see if that helps.

 

Now, on to new goals.

Goal #1B: Come to a place where a pint of ice cream in the freezer wouldn’t mean needing to be restrained to the sofa to avoid diving into it face first.

Goal #2B: Go to bed by 10pm and when I wake up at 5am, get out of bed.

Goal #3B: Try and get to 132KM by the end of W40.

Goal #4B: Eat more vegetables.  Plan veg purchase and prep better.

Goal #5B: Wear the striped $8 dress to work.

Goal #6B: No side by side comparison shots until Friday, July 4th (day 40)

Okay, I think that’s it… unless I think of something else in the next few days.  Really, the biggest goal I will have for the next 21 days is going to be keeping on the walking/W40 path in the face of some stress (hopefully temporary) that is making me really yearn to crawl into bed with a tray of carrot cake. I will not do that because it will certainly not solve my situation and I KNOW it would make me feel TERRIBLE… but the temptation is certainly there!

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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!

Learning how to Walk

Walking seems to be such an easy thing to do, doesn’t it?  What if you’re someone like me that thinks that if you CAN run, then it’s just wimping out to walk… that makes walking less easy.  I’ve long since battled with the kind of competition within my own mind and soul that tells me that nothing is worth doing if it’s not worth doing as fast and as hard as you can.  It can get to be a problem because there’s no middle ground.  I either do something full on, balls to the wall or I don’t do anything at all.  This type of thought pattern has infiltrated my entire life and while it’s not reasonable to repair that way of thinking in every aspect of my life in a day, it IS reasonable to work on changing it where I can.

This 3 week commuter challenge that I’m doing at work is a perfect time to work on ‘middle ground’.  I made a commitment (a rather loud, noisy, braggerty one) to commute home from work under my own power 3 days a week for three full weeks.  That’s a total of 24KM (15miles) per week and I quickly realized that if I didn’t find any middle ground in order to get this done, I would be doomed to failure.  It does the competition, the commitment and me in general no good whatsoever to push my body to excess the first week and then be completely unable to continue on to the next two weeks.

So on Monday I ran most of the way home, having not yet discovered this need for middle ground.  On Tuesday I forced myself to walk the entire way.  To be honest?  That sounded like torture to me.  I really believed that walking home was just a cop out and that it didn’t ‘count’, regardless of how hard I worked at it.  Well, as my sister so rightly pointed out, it’s not like I was strolling through the park with an ice cream in my hand… I push HARD all the way.  The mental battle to ‘just run a bit’ was strong in my mind for a good portion of the 8K… So about halfway through, I decided that I would try running and see if that felt good… if it felt like I was flying then I would run. Well it felt like running with lead shoes on…. And I realized that I liked the middle ground.  I was working hard, I was sweating and felt a good burn in my quads and the moments of drifting out of my own head into a meditative state.  I’ve never been very good at shutting off my mind, regardless of how hard I tried.  I’m easily distracted and I have a tendancy to have ‘thought trail diarrhea’ where I realize I don’t even know how I got from the original thought to the current one… I don’t particularly like that feeling of mindless thinking and every once in awhile it’s nice to not have your mind going a million miles an hour.

On Wednesday I walked home again… no thought of running entered my mind and I enjoyed the meditation and the free feeling that not being in constant competition with myself gave me.

Day 5 of my Whole40 is drawing to a close and I’m pleased to report that I am firmly on board for the full 40 days.  I’ve also discovered again that sugar, even from grapes, makes me incredibly itchy.  It’s interesting actually because sugar, when eaten with other crappy dietary choices, doesn’t seem to bother me as much.  When I am clean eating and consuming too much natural sugar from whole foods, I get ridiculously itchy.

In the first five days I’ve noticed some de-puffing, better sleep (I wake up at 5:27 on the dot every day… like WIDE AWAKE) and better… um… bathrooming… ahem.

This coming Wednesday marks 10 days on W30 and ¼ of the way through. It’s an interesting journey to take this time because I know what to expect as far as feeling lousy (I haven’t yet) and as far as potential non-scale victories (as mentioned above). I’m keeping an open mind to new things to learn about myself and my body and food and the way my mind and body interact with food.

No choice in life but to just keep going forward.  So forward I go!

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

Comfort Food

I’ve been quite under the weather lately… Went from running a personal best 5K with my beautiful sister to almost being unable to hold my head up all day and passing out on the bus/in meetings… I’ve not exercised in a week and a half and it’s mentally starting to get to me… I’m hoping to go for a walk after work tonight… slow and not very far is fine by me but I need some freakin’ fresh air.

The one thing that has not suffered while I’ve been feeling unwell is my appetite, thank goodness!  While my sister and I were trying to rule possible causes of this either in or out, she was asking me if I was craving shit food, salty food etc…. thankfully no, I’m quite happy with my Whole30 choices and my standard fare…but sometimes you just want some ‘comfort food’.

The two new things that I am completely obsessed with right now are what I like to call Warm Turkey Coleslaw and Deconstructed Reuben.  One is my own invention and one is a knock off from Well Fed 2’s Reuben Rollups. Both are VERY easy to make and require very little effort, which is great for me right now…

First up, let’s talk Coleslaw… it’s one of my FAVORITE salads of all time!  When I did my first Whole30 last February, I gave up ‘sauce’ and ‘dressing’ because I wasn’t very culinarily (word?) inclined and making dressings and sauces seemed out of reach… so I ate a lot of ‘dry’ food… that meant that things that were on the menu previous, such as coleslaw were disallowed because there is no commercial coleslaw dressing that doesn’t involve at least sugar and vegetable oil…

After a year of making everything I eat and becoming significantly MORE culinarily inclined, I ventured into the world of sauces and the amazingness that is Paleo Mayo!  Home made mayo… kid you not, it’s good enough to eat right out of the jar off a spoon… forget everything you THINK mayo is and go ahead and make yourself some… you won’t regret it.

So!  Now that I had Mayo back, I could have things like coleslaw, right? 

Okay well, me being me, I like to have ‘one bowl’ meals… everything in the same bowl, all mixed together, covered in ‘sauce’ and eaten with a spoon.  Yes, it’s kind of weird but to each their own.

So enter Warm Turkey Coleslaw.  Salad, protein and warm… score!

Basically, during your weekly cookup, you’re going to cook a pound or so of ground turkey… add a ton of sage and thyme and a bit of salt and cook through.  You’ll also shred a few beets and slice up some cabbage. (I cut the cabbage in half and then slice the half rounds into long ‘noodles’.  You could also shred this like real coleslaw and it would be just as good).

When you’re ready for dinner, heat some coconut oil in a pan, toss in a few handfuls of cabbage… be generous, it cooks down.  When it’s almost cooked to your liking (shiny and a nice bright green color), add in some shredded beets and mix all together.  Then throw in your serving of the precooked ground turkey and let it all warm together.

Pile in a big bowl and then put a generous scoop of home made mayo on top.  Mix it all together and put a bit of salt and pepper on top.  Warm Turkey Coleslaw.  It’s amazing… just try it!  I’ve done this with left over cooked chicken thighs and when I ran out of meat, I made an opening in the middle of the pan and cracked a couple eggs into the middle… cook until the yolk is runny and the white is done and then squash it all together with the mayo in the bowl… also amazing!

coleslaw

The other really easy, really yummy thing I’ve been having is Deconstructed Reuben Sandwiches.  Basically just pile some pastrami or corned beef (good luck finding sugar free if you’re Whole30… I waited till I was officially done W30 to eat this because my Pastrami has a touch of added dextrose) on a plate.  Beside it pile some wine-free sauerkraut and then put a big dollop of home made mayo and a big dollop of wine free/sugar free grainy mustard.  You can be fancy and put the sauerkraut and sauce on the slice of meat and then roll it up if you’re inclined… that makes it look a bit nicer but I’m a smidge lazy lately.  The Reuben Rollup from Wellfed 2, which is where I got the idea suggests that you make a Russian Dressing (basically the home made mayo mixed with Kickass Ketchup) and use that as the sauce.  I’m sure it’s amazing but I’ve not made the ketchup yet so mayo and mustard it’s been and it’s pretty dang delicious!

reuben

Let’s be Real

So after 2 false starts of W30, I’m now officially on my 2nd day.  I did my first day three times… the first two of those times were great, right up until the evening when I sort of fell apart and found some left over Christmas chocolate in my house.  Having done a good job of consuming all of that, and also finding the skin on my hands getting worse and worse, I buckled down yesterday and successfully put the first day in the bank.

I’ll tell you something, cleaning up your act after three weeks of silliness is not easy!  It’s incredible how quickly your body becomes dependant on those nasty little things like sugar, grains and sugar…

For almost an entire year I ate as close to W30 as possible with weekly offroading days thrown in.  There was never enough in any one off road meal per week to bounce me into a dependency… so when I went completely bananas in December and ate and drank whatever was in front of me, I naively thought that I would be fine and I could just turn off the switch and go back to my clean living with no adverse side effects.  That is certainly not how it happened and I am currently fighting the ‘are you hungry, no you’re not, you don’t need to eat’ battle.  I think that our bodies have ‘muscle memory’ as far as food goes and I don’t think I will get a very bad case of Low Carb Flu or really be in this battle for very long… the long term positives that I already know about far outweigh any short term struggle to get back on track. 

I see no reason to lie about how easy detoxing after a free for all isn’t… or hide the fact that I had to do my 1st day three times in order to be successful.  That’s real life and anyone that tells you otherwise is lying.  That said, this idea of real and honest is the driving force of a new project I am a part of. 

My sister came up with the idea that there are probably a lot of women just like us out there, struggling to maintain balance between health, fitness and real life.  She found a group of us that are all taking different journeys in order to find our balance and we will be coming to you daily to share 90 second of our Real.  90 seconds of our struggles, successes, failures, hopes and dreams.  Every weekday a new 90 second (is) vlog from one of the contributors will be posted to hopefully help motivate, inspire and encourage you.  Every day you’ll see one of us being real about life and we hope that it inspires you to be real about where you are at and where you’re going. 

Please come and visit us at www.90secondsofreal.wordpress.com.  I will be posting there on Thursdays.  We’ve got three videos up with an expected four more this week as we get into the swing of it and get back into a routine after the holidays! 

You can subscribe to us (and to this blog if you’re not already), so you get an email when a new video is posted and we hope you participate with us in the comment section!