Friday, December 7, 2012

Changing Things Up


So I've been seeing this thing called the Whole30 floating around the blogosphere for awhile now. I originally came across it when I was training for my marathon, and eagerly ordered the book and read the accounts of many bloggers who successfully completed the entire 30 day program. 

Ann at Twelve in Twelve rocked it. Holly, did, too, and has some awesome advice as well. I found a ton of new blogs with recipes and advice (my Google Reader, it is bursting at the seams!)

I knew from my "gluten free August" experiment that I felt much better when I did not eat breads and carbs, but during that period I also felt tired and struggled with some workouts. I now know I was probably going through the "carb flu" to some degree, since GF alternatives are generally pricey so I pretty much avoided most breads and pastas during that time, but I made the decision to put off trying the Whole 30 until after my marathon.

After MCM (why yes, I do still have to post a recap!), I had a few weeks where I forgot I was no longer running 30+ miles/week and indulged kept indulging in some of my favorite things. I think I ate a cheese sandwich with chips and a Dr. Pepper every day for lunch for two weeks, and the Twizzlers were flowing pretty freely during that time as well. (After gluten free August I pretty much became a gluten glutton).

And by then, you know, the holidays were coming up, so I thought, January 1! That is when I will start! A perfect New Year's Resolution, and also, permission to eat my way through the end of the year!

In truth I was kind of afraid to give up all the things I thought I couldn't live without. Wheat products aside, there was Rice! Milk! Cheese! Sugar! Twizzlers, people, Twizzlers - how could I live without them???

And then I hit myself in the face, because DUH! Small steps, Liz, small steps!!! I did not have to give up everything at once, I could work myself into it gradually. Now, I know there are some people who do better jumping in with both feet, and in some situations that is certainly the case for me. But I generally do better working my way up to hard things by taking small steps, scoring small victories, and then building on them.

Then I snapped out of it and made myself a meal plan and shopping list and got excited to start back to concentrating on healthy foods and shedding pounds. I had five days off over Thanksgiving break, and my calendar was filled with fun classes at the YMCA and running dates. I had blocked out time to shop and prepare meals for the following week. I was ready to roll!

Then I got sick. Bye, bye plans.

Thankfully I still had my shopping list, so when I did manage to roll out of bed to go shopping (I only did it for the kids - I would have eaten ramen for a week, seriously!), at least I didn't have to do any thinking and I was able to get the makings for my healthy meals, which were also simple by design.

As of Tuesday, November 27, I was officially gluten free again. By Thursday, I had decided to go ahead and try giving up all grains (bye bye, yummy Trader Joe's Japanese Style Rice). By Friday, I decided to go ahead and give up beans, which are a staple in our house because J is a vegetarian and the ONE meal I make that everyone loves consists almost 100% of foods not allowed on the Whole 30.

I was kicking ass, building on small steps! I was also sleeping through the night without waking up at the end of every sleep cycle for the first time in months.

Over the weekend I made the kids grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner and E complained immediately after of a stomach ache. I decided to try her dairy free for a week to see if her complaints (and gas) went away, and told her I would give up dairy with her. I still cook with butter and now and then put some cheese in my eggs, but no more milk other than cream in my coffee.

Oh, and my coffee? I stopped putting sugar in it! I would say the only sugar I eat at this point is in dark chocolate or nut butter, and I know they are trigger foods so I try not to have them too often. Sometimes I am successful - sorry, but sunflower seed butter and Justin's Chocolate Hazelnut Butter are just so. damn. yummy. (Thank you, Justin, for selling your crack nut butters in single serving packets, how well you know my inability to #justputthespoondown). I try to get my sugar from fruit, and even then it's only an apple a day...keeps cravings away!

For the first time ever, I made chicken stock and OMG what a treat! I drink a cup or two every day - it is a perfect replacement for hot chocolate for the winter season (even though it has been unseasonably warm).

My lunches now look like this - no chips, no sandwiches, no soda!

Cinnamon Apple Turkey leftovers (originally served in acorn squash)
with sauteed zucchini and onions

Shredded chicken from making chicken stock with
Trader Joe's green beans (the BEST) with craisins & slivered almonds
People who know me, yes, I cooked these things, so please pick your jaws up off the floor.

So far I have not felt deprived. I have not had crazy cravings - my cravings have actually been more related to emotions. I have not missed anything.

I have felt more energetic - no more dragging mornings or afternoon slumps at my desk. I sleep better. My complexion is improving. I think I may have lost a few pounds, but I do not plan to weigh myself until I go get my body fat tested on December 11 (I have broken my addiction to the scale!). 

I actually get "I'm full" signals from my body and have stopped feeling famished in between meals.

I have been able to resist temptations much more easily than in the past.

I have not decided yet whether I will do an official Whole 30 at some point or not. I am over the top happy with the way the last two weeks have gone. The wish I could give some commentary on how it has affected my workouts, but there hasn't been much of that going on (I will spare you a picture of my poor, elephantine - in both size and color - foot and ankle). I go back to the doctor on Wednesday so I'm hoping to start swimming after that and maybe get cleared to do something like rowing.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Best Laid Plans...

This is not exactly how I planned to wind down 2012...

Let me go back a few weeks, when I was making big plans for the last 6 weeks of the year.

First, I signed up for Amanda's awesome Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge again (I've added a tab to track my points). Last year it really motivated me to get in my exercises and veggies over the holiday season, when the couch and a plate of Christmas cookies was really calling my name. Unfortunately, I got sick right after Christmas so the last week or so of the challenge was more bust than bootie busting. I was excited to tackle it again this year and was doing great, until...

Post-Thanksgiving dinner, halfway through the Redskins/Dallas game (go Skins!), I started feeling a little soreness when I swallowed. Noooooooo! I had such big plans for my 5 day weekend, and this was NOT part of them! When I got home from my parents, I took some ibuprofin and went straight to bed. The sore throat was gone Friday morning when I woke up, but my hopes were dashed as my head started aching worse and worse as the day went on. 

I spent my 5 day weekend in bed. 

Tuesday I thought I was on the mend, as I no longer felt like the pressure in my sinuses was pushing my brain against the back of my head, but then the cough started.

I took it easy for the rest of the week, ate well, rested a lot, and by Saturday I was feeling about 85% and thought maybe an easy run would knock the rest of it out of my system. I took Little Trail Dog with me for 4 miles of easy walk/run and indeed came home feeling fantastic. I decided I would keep my meetup date for a 12-mile hike on Sunday morning.

I felt great Sunday morning! I got up early, made a yummy breakfast, packed my backpack, took Big Red Dog for a walk and headed off to meet my hiking companions. The weather was perfect. We were hiking two sections of the Falls Lake Trail (part of the MST) that I had been wanting to hike. There were only three others and we enjoyed some nice conversation as we hiked along at a brisk pace.

Then it happened...about a quarter mile from our turnaround point, I was apparently concentrating more on the conversation than where I was putting my feet, and I stepped on a tree root, turned my ankle, and went down. I knew as soon as it happened that it was bad, but I didn't have much choice, so I got up and kept walking. I managed to make it the 6.25 miles back to the car but refused to look at it until I got home. I was feeling more than a little stupid!

By the time I got home it was swelling and turning purple and continued to get worse throughout the day. I spent the rest of the day in bed, RICE'ing, napping, watching tv, and generally being bored out of my skull. Also, kind of wishing I still had my cold instead of this!

Yesterday I went to the orthopedist, and turns out I have a grade 2 possibly 3 sprain and I got that sexy boot to walk around in. The PA started talking about where the bones meet and instability and surgery and pins and I stopped listening - basically I have to go in for another x-ray next week where they manipulate the ankle more to make sure none of that is necessary. I am sure it's all "worst case scenario" talk and I am not letting it bother me. I am calling on the powers that be for quick and complete healing!

So...the fantastic gym/running/workout schedule I spent so much time on last week is now mocking me (because of course I wrote it in my planner, in ink), but I am not going to let this turn into an excuse to do nothing. I was given the ok to swim, but I will probably wait for the swelling to go down and until I am sure I can actually get in and out of the pool without breaking anything else, and I am on the hunt for some good upper body/core workouts I can do. I am also concentrating on eating good, whole foods and NOT indulging in any "poor me comfort carbs."

I am really kind of proud of the way I am handling this, AND as a bonus I get to practice my "imperfectionist" skills by letting my kids do all the holiday decorating this year. I will, however, be asking Santa for a good pair of hiking boots!!