Saturday, October 13, 2018

Lazy Days / Deep Thoughts

Note: This first section was written a few days ago. I'm finally finishing the post today.

...I'm thoroughly enjoying being on vacation this week so far. I just really love being able to sleep in, or stay up late, or just sleep whenever it feels right. I love not having to get ready to go out and be presentable in public. I love just doing whatever I feel like doing on any given day. Staycations may not be the most exciting way to spend time off from work, but they can be very satisfying regardless.

I did put some activities on my calendar – things I wanted to get done while at home, to feel at least kind of productive. So far, I've done just a little and I'm OK with that. Late this morning I spent a little time in the basement breaking down some of the many, many boxes I'd had thrown down there over the past few years. I didn't get the whole lot done but enough to feel satisfying. Otherwise I've been cooking a bit and watching a LOT of movies, which quite frankly is one of my favorite things to do. In October, it's even better – we have a tradition of watching at least one horror movie every day during the month, and then finish it off with a viewing of the original 1978 classic Halloween. At the moment we've got the first Nightmare on Elm Street playing in the background.

Food-wise I'm doing OK. I'm mostly doing what amounts to intermittent fasting, I guess, waiting to eat my first meal until early afternoon. Today I tried a new recipe for sauteed pork chops with a crushed pretzel crust. Those were good and appropriately autumn-appropriate served with the roasted sweet potatoes and onions I put together, topped with some crisped (sauteed) sage leaves. I'm throwing together a homemade pizza in a little bit. So yeah, taking advantage of my free time to make as much food at home rather than rely on take out or fast food. I guess overall I can say that I'm feeling pretty good with the choices I'm making. I'm not indulging in "treats" too much, but I did get some bulk gummi bears (having a few at a time) and couple pints of ice cream (again, smaller portions over time, and a local brand of ice cream, Perry's, that is much less calorie-dense than something like Ben & Jerry's), and I'm having a couple-few beers here and there.

I landed on the decision to weigh myself every other Sunday, so that I am aware of what's going on but not obsessing with daily weighing. My last weigh-in put me a just under 330 (329.8), which is a couple pounds below last time. Still not where I was finishing up Whole30, but I'll take it.

There are other things on my mind, though! I've mentioned recently that I will be going back to school in January to begin coursework for an Associate's degree in Environmental Studies at a local community college, which I am really excited about! But lately since doing more research about where to take it beyond that, I'm even more so. Originally my thought was to continue on...

(Today)

to get a Bachelor's from the local state university, but I did more research and found that there is a program that offers more of what I am looking for, is completely online, and actually costs LESS per credit hour! So I'll likely go on to study at Oregon State U's online program pursuing either Environmental Sciences or Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences (see comparison of the two here, if you're interested!) I am soooo excited about my further education now that I've found these options, and I won't have to wrangle a crazy schedule between full-time work and getting to classes (many of which are NOT offered online locally – some are though, which is nice).

It's nice to have something major like that to look forward to, not to mention going into a field I never thought I would before a couple months ago. Part of that, I realize, is simply because I didn't even know that the jobs that many of my co-workers do even existed. (Scientists of all stripes, project managers, GIS specialists, etc. etc.)

My vacation is now almost over. It's Saturday and I'm a little sad, but because I do really like my job I don't mind going back too much. Getting dressed in the morning will be the worst part. I didn't get things done like I had kind of intended to in advance, but I did get down to the basement to tidy up a bit – broke down a bunch of boxes, sorted through some things that haven't seen the light of day in forever, put things in piles, etc. etc. That felt good. I still might do more before the weekend's over. But, I didn't do outside cleanup and I didn't do any cleaning inside, I didn't make any art... I basically just relaxed a LOT and watched a shit ton of horror movies (and some regular ones, too).

Since I started writing this post, my eating has been just kind of, whatdyacallit, normal? In other words, nothing extreme in any direction. Almost intuitive. I may get on the scale tomorrow morning or I may wait until next Sunday. It feels to me like I haven't gained anything and maybe dropped a pound or two. I still have aches and pains. My right foot has been really troublesome, I am suspecting plantar fasciitis and it's just not getting any better. My left arm/shoulder is still being stupid too and I am still mystified by what happened with that. The foot issue raised its ugly head a couple days into our cross-country trip in May, so I am assuming it was all the driving that caused it.

I do have health insurance now, but my employer only offers high deductible plans and so until my FSA kicks in come January (long story, but it is what it is) affording a doctor visit is not in the cards. That said, I know that losing some more weight would likely help my foot. (I'm in semi-denial about that, but whatever.) Either way, it's frustrating for multiple reasons, personal and political. I guess in the meantime ibuprofen will be my best friend. (I've been avoiding taking it most of the time, but last night it really did wonders, so...)

Ugh, well, I guess I will wrap this up so that I get something up and out. Maybe I'll head back down to the basement for a while.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Doing the Best You Can with What You Have... and Vacation!

A week later...

Not much is new. I haven't been quite getting to where I want to be, but I haven't been too off the rails (well, maybe a little bit). I have been doing a couple things on the positive side:

  • Eating decent dinners
  • Not snacking at night
  • Food journaling 
  • Drinking lots of water
I've been trying to eat fairly healthy, balanced dinners and not too much. It hasn't been too hard to not snack in the evenings, though I have been drinking (keeping it to two drinks usually!). The food journaling is nothing too elaborate, just jotting notes in my little book about what I ate and how I was feeling throughout the day (no calorie or macro counting or anything). Water is easy for me, and not only do I drink it throughout my work day pretty constantly, I also love me some grapefruit LaCroix to go with meals. It's pretty rare that I have a diet soda anymore, and I don't miss it.

That said, I am still trying to figure out breakfast, and I'm still eating too much (or just plain crap, or both) at lunchtime -- those are my big challenges right now. BUT, I have off from work all next week so I am hoping that I can establish a new routine/plan to carry out of vacation mode with me. I have ideas but I really just need to sit down and figure out execution. It will be sooo worth it.

Another thing that will be nice during my time off is maybe getting an exercise routine back in place -- or maybe, would that be too much to try to do all at once? Then again, a simple short walk every day shouldn't be hard to do when I have nowhere to go and nothing to do. OK, well... not nothing, but no big obligatory things, at least.

I'm really looking forward to getting caught up on some things! My tentative list:
  • Outdoor Fall cleanup (my poor yard is a shambles)
  • Painting (art!)
  • Indoor Fall cleanup
  • Sorting through clothes and getting rid of a LOT
  • Sorting through our vast library, maybe "weeding", maybe just organizing
OR it could just turn out that I end up sitting on the couch watching tennis and movies all week long. LOL?

I guess not.

Friday, September 28, 2018

The Issue of Clothes

Since I've gained weight back in the past year, I've pretty much stuck to wearing the same thing almost all the time: One of the half-dozen or so black jersey knit swing dresses from Old Navy and leggings and a cardigan. It's a look that I have enjoyed wearing over the years (and in variations, i.e. A-line skirts with tank tops and cardis) since I was in my 20s. But because I've been wearing almost nothing but those things for what feels like forever now, I'm becoming resentful of it.

Maybe resentful is not quite the right word. I mean, it's a look I feel very comfortable in mentally, it's very easy to put together, and it couldn't be more physically comfy, too. I don't have to think about what I'm going to wear in the morning getting ready for work, which is awesome.

(I should note here that I also have three LuLaRoe Carly dresses that I also sprinkle into my rotation. The Carly is a jersey dress with a high-low hem and pocket T-shirt styling. I'm not super crazy about the style but I like the prints I managed to find, and they're crazy comfortable with my usual cardigan with or without leggings.)

So what's the problem? I guess it is just that I realize that these are the only clothes in my wardrobe that I can wear right now, and it makes me mad.

I guess on one hand, why should it? I generally leave the house looking fairly presentable without much fuss. If I am comfy and public-ready, why should it matter? Even if I was smaller, wouldn't I want to be comfy as much as possible anyway? There are a couple things. One, I need to do another clothes clean out. I am embarrassed to say that I have a huge pile of clothes in my laundry area, stuff I haven't worn in months mainly because I don't even know what's in there. The basement, where the laundry resides, has become a huge pile of clutter and I hate going down there now, which doesn't help. It's building on my already existing anxiety surrounding clothes, so I need to fix that. (Maybe this weekend, even!)

Another thing is relating to what I wore to work yesterday. I have been scraping bottom of barrel with available clothes this week (i.e. I need to do laundry!) and I ended up wearing a pair of what are essentially yoga pants with my beloved Universal Standard t-shirt and a cardigan -- all black, of course. What horrified me as I looked back at my reflection in the mirror of the office ladies' room was how prominent my belly was without the benefit of being skimmed over with a dress. It's big, and it hangs low -- classic apron belly. I don't know, I was just kind of shocked at the sight of it again. I don't picture myself looking like that. (In case you're wondering, no, we don't really have full-length mirrors in the house. Bad idea, I guess.) Wearing something like yoga pants, which offer little to no support, made it worse. I felt really exposed! I really hate saying this, but because I value honesty especially when it comes to this stuff, I'm telling you: I felt like a monstrosity.

There's so much going on right now with me. There's the whole rebound from Whole30 that has been really upsetting, there's gaining back all the weight I lost while on Whole30 (I got on the scale two days before I'd planned on originally, and I'm back to 333 today), there's the clothes stuff, there's some intense personal/relationship stuff, there's the crap going on in our government stuff... and it is all really overwhelming and makes me really... sad? Sad and mad and frustrated and I just don't know where to go with it. I drank too much last night. I feel like hell today.

I still have not got my eating back on track. On paper it seems like it will be so easy. Sometimes it is! But now I've hit a brick wall, and it scares me. I know that I have to just keep trying, but... well, you know how it is. Some days you just don't have the fight in you.

For now I think that working on my wardrobe clean out will be a good place to go. I love the idea of minimal wardrobes (obviously) and think it is time to actually follow through and make it happen, and reframe where my thinking is at regarding my dear friends the black jersey swing dress gang.

***

Kind of Unrelated sidebar: This relates to my previous post about climbing mountains. I love this quote from a van-traveling married couple, in response to a question about how they stay fit on the road:

"We want to be ready for any and every adventure that life has in store. We train to stay strong for life!" Mr. and Mrs. Adventure 

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Housekeeping and Resetting


Yesterday and just now this morning I have been trying to catch up on all the comments I missed responding to, many from back in August when I first announced my return. First of all, I’d like to thank all of you who read, who comment, and who provide support and feedback – it is so helpful to me as I kind of struggle along the path, knowing that I have virtual friends cheering from the sidelines and giving me high fives. (Well, that is what I like to imagine, at least.) I promise that I will be better responding to you, so keep it coming! 

But, I would also like to mention again about spam comments and those that are just like, “Have you tried this weight loss tea? It really helped me,” followed by some sketchy link. I’m just telling you that your efforts are in vain because I don’t buy into any of that and most comments that smack of gimmicky suggestions are promptly deleted. Now, I know that this mention won’t curb those comments from happening, not really, but just in case… it’ll save me a few keystrokes and mouse clicks. Thanks!

Now… let’s talk about resetting. Yes, AGAIN. I am here at this place once more, just a week after I decided to ditch the Whole30 and venture back into the real world where I thought I could just carry on without a hitch. As I have hinted at the past few days, things have not gone well. I’ve returned to eating pretty much crap most of the time. And having at least one drink every evening, just because. I knew that I had to get back to a better routine, but kept putting it off and having “one last treat” until my body sent me a very clear message last night:

WHY DO YOU HATE ME???

After I ate dinner, I could tell that I was in store for some heartburn. I could feel it coming on, so before I went to bed I made sure to squirt some mustard down my throat (cool home remedy that actually works!) and figured I’d be good to go. But, a few hours later I was awake and experiencing some really nasty heartburn and indigestion. I got up, went to the bathroom, and then tried my second home remedy, baking soda dissolved in water. I then laid back down in the guestroom (so I wasn’t disturbing my partner in case I had to get up again) next to the bathroom. I was able to fall back asleep, but it wasn’t a very restful rest of the night. I even had a dream in which I was at a party and explaining to people over and over about how I could only eat certain foods because I was doing Whole30, had they heard of that? My body was telling me in its own way what I needed and my mind followed right along.

You can imagine it was not hard for me to make the decision without hesitation to go back to the kind of eating I was doing on Whole30, and I started right away with breakfast this morning. I’m not super prepared for this right now so I kept it simple – three eggs and some baby carrots. I’m drinking green tea and water now as I sit at my desk at work. I’ll cobble together something easy from the grocery store for lunch, and I have chicken out to thaw for dinner. I already feel more at ease and hopeful, more in control again in just these few hours.

As I mentioned in my post-Whole30 post last week, there are some things that I won’t do, and I am not actually going to do a Whole30 as written. I’m not going to worry about whether something at a restaurant was cooked in non-compliant oil or has sulfites and I will use regular ketchup and mayo, but I am going to stick to eating mostly protein, veggies, fruits, and healthy fats. I’ll throw in a whole grain here and there, or a little bit of dairy. I’ll have butter instead of bothering with ghee (I didn’t like the taste of the kind I have).

Most of all, getting back away from obvious sugary stuff and alcohol and getting back into balanced meal mode. It must be done, most of the time and as much as possible.

So I’d like to send a shoutout to my cool body for telling me quickly what it needs and what it can’t handle. I’m hearing you loud and clear, dude! (Yes, my body is apparently a dude, LOL!) I’ve got your back. Thanks for being open and honest with me. I’ll repay you in kind.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Thinking About All the Things

It's been a rough few days since I said goodbye to Whole 30. So much so, in fact, that I am considering trying it again.

But before I go much more into that, I want to talk a bit about the things that are the reasons why I want to continue to lose weight. A few bad days is definitely discouraging, but it's not the end of the road. I have a couple new reasons why as well as reiterating old reasons.

1. I was really inspired by a co-worker who just announced in a meeting that she is to take some vacation time early in the new year to hike Mount Kilamanjaro! I had to refresh my memory as to exactly what and where that was, but I knew it was big. Oh yeah, you know... the tallest freestanding mountain in the world and the tallest in Africa. NBD. So, I really like hiking but we generally do pretty easy trails locally. Once in a while we'll find ourselves on one that is a little more technical or hilly than we're used to, but I'm taking like baby steps compared to anything like old MK. Not even baby steps. Embryo steps! I was very proud to have made it to the top of Mt. Olga in southern Vermont over the summer, which really just qualifies for mountain status at just shy of 3,500 feet. Kilamanjaro is over 19,000!

Anyway, the point to all this is that, you know, if I wanted to just go climb Kilmanjaro one day on a whim, I could. I want to be physically fit enough, if not slim and trim. In fact, I'm not really aiming for slim and trim. I'm aiming for... relatively fit, if that makes sense. Less floppy. Much less.

2. In the midst of deciding to make a potential career shift into Environmental Science and/or Studies, I realize that to work in the field (literally), it'd be to my advantage to have a reasonable level of fitness -- no matter which area I veer toward in the field (figuratively). As a dyed-in-the-wool creative person type, where did this come from? Well, I've been working for an environmental services company since May in the bids and proposals department, and I'm totally digging reading about what the company does and all the cool professions that exist that I didn't even know about before! My company offers a $5,250 education benefit each year to any employee who wants to further study in subjects relevant to their jobs and/or that would benefit the company. I am not one to pass up free anything, so I thought, How cool would it be to become a scientist of some type? I also felt that it would be amazing to take such a left turn in my career this late in the game, and how much I would enjoy the challenge of going back to school. Science and math terrify me, but maybe I just never gave them enough of a chance in high school or college. (I did do well enough in high school bio and chemistry, as well as geometry. But don't ask me about Earth Science or trig, please!)

3. I keep returning to the fact that I have a bunch of cute clothes to wear that I could wear up until late last year. SO. Many. And all I wear these days is any one of half a dozen black jersey dresses and leggings. I am so bored and frustrated with myself over that. My partner and I were texting today about our respective tough spots (mine being eating, of course), and he was just like, "I just wish you would go back down to the weight you were last year, because I know it makes you feel better." And he is totally right. And it's not that far away. 40-some pounds at this point?

4. Although I never, ever dare say it anymore, I would like to start running again. But, I hesitate to do so until I am closer to 300 pounds again, even though I have run heavier in the past. (I'm older now, obvi. And also, my "running" has been comparable to many a person's walking, so there you go.)

Anyway, I have lots of really good, legit reasons, and I owe it to myself. So there.

Friday, September 21, 2018

And Then I Ate...


I’m going to be completely honest with you, as I always am here: I did go off the rails, post-Whole30. Let me share. I don’t usually post food logs, but today I will, partially to just make better sense of what happened.

Well. First of all, I feel like this isn’t unusual. If I am embroiled in some routine that I feel resolute about sticking with, and then I let go? Something unhinges in my brain and it’s hard to click it back in place. I could feel that happen once I made the decision to stop doing W30. But, as you know, I also had a plan in place. I knew what I wanted my new routine/way of eating would look like.

When it came down to it, though, I think I was really ready for a break from it, from being so hyper-aware, and from being so diligent. My first day off W30 (my sick day) wasn’t too crazy, maybe just a little -- for lunch, it was eating some leftover regular pasta that I hated to see go to waste, with a pat of butter and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese, and at dinner it was eating some whole grain (quinoa), some not-so-whole grain (a hamburger bun) and a little bit of dairy (cheese on top of my stuffed peppers). Oh, and I had a beer. I mean, not exactly what I was planning on doing, but not the worst.

Yesterday, though, was another story and by dinnertime I went to a place I was kind of scared to go, but did anyway. I had a peach for breakfast, and leftover chicken and stuffed peppers (quinoa and cheese) and an assortment of raw veggies for lunch. I was planning to eat reasonably for dinner earlier on, but by the time 3:30 arrived I was feeling slightly angry and definitely ravenous and I just wanted to eat.

Long story short: Three slices of pepperoni pizza (though the way it was cut, was more like two slices from most other pizzas), two hot chicken wings, two and a half beers. But before that, I got from the store a pumpkin cake donut with icing and a very small amount of gummi bears -- just a taste. Just a taste. But that is all the stuff I put into the proverbial pie hole yesterday.

At this point I’m writing after a pause having returned from lunch break. I had gotten frustrated with something that happened at work and it was something, at that moment, I just couldn’t bear it. It was at a point in the day when I could just walk away for a while, fortunately, but maybe not: I walked out to my car, I started the engine, and I drove myself to McDonald’s and ate a two cheeseburger meal (medium with a diet Coke) and a hot fudge sundae. When I came back to the office, my co-workers were out on their break, so I took the opportunity to stuff the big chocolate chunk cookie I’d also purchased at the store last evening and wolfed it down, along with the remaining small amount of gummis. I just wanted it all gone.

I almost cried on the drive back. I’m actually very upset with myself right now. And while I know this is a blip on the timeline and not the end of the world, or the end of my efforts, I am left wondering what the hell happened? In two days, what happened to the resolve I had?

I’m struggling to figure out why a restrictive diet works so well for me but also blows up in my face. I really had little trouble during Whole30 keeping it together, and I liked the way I felt overall (except for the extreme fatigue, of course), and I liked the place I was in in relation to food and eating. I thought I had my sugar cravings conquered (ha! Not even a month, how silly!).

All of this is to say that… I don’t know. I’m feeling really vulnerable right now and a little scared. Part of me doesn’t want to eat anymore at all today but I don’t know how feasible that is. (Honestly, should be pretty darned feasible because I’ve been skipping dinner a lot lately.)

I’m not sure where to go from here but I do know that I have to be really, really careful of how much I let go even just for one day (which turns into two, and then three, and then…). I have to get back to the mindset of one day at a time, and of the idea of fueling my body with delicious food that also benefits it most instead of destroys. Over the weekend, I must be more mindful and careful.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

A Day Off, and Off Whole30

I haven't been feeling so hot the past week or so mainly because it's that time of the month. Nothing new, I know, but its effects get me every time and have since I was a kid. It still gets me down! I was trying to stick it out at work this time, but when I woke up this morning I just. Couldn't. Do. It. You know? So I took a mid-week sick day.

I've also been doing more thinking about what to do with Whole 30 – keep at it, or just put it away. Having read some of what Michael Hull has said about it (and he did his research!) really made me reconsider. Some of what Whole30 founders posited is based in science, but a lot of it just isn't, or it's based on junk science. I feel like I should have known better or done my own due diligence before I launched into it, but like many others I was seduced by the idea that removing "known" inflammatories from my diet would be an interesting experiment. I mean, honestly? I still think it is, but after 16 days I'm realizing that my main impetus has been weight loss all along, so why not just go back to what I was doing along with the couple new things I've learned?

I'm not sorry that I gave it a try. But I'm ready to make some adjustments back to "the new normal".

Pros:

• I'm more in touch with my body's needs – my sugar cravings have improved dramatically, and while I still think about some of my favorite sweet treats, I've been satisfied with the fruits I've been eating. I'm very happy that I've pretty much broken the habit of having something sweet after every meal. That is a big one for me.

• My portion sizes have improved in general. I don't really snack between meals anymore.

• It feels good to know that I am not/wasn't dependent on alcohol. (To be honest, I was a little bit worried that I might be.) I missed winding down with a beer or a glass of wine but it didn't kill me or anything.

• I am learning how to deal with stressors without turning to food.

• I lost 9+ pounds in the first 16 days – yes, I got on the scale this morning.

• The scale doesn't have such a hold on me anymore. I still believe in daily weighing, but I think I will just check in on the scale every two weeks or so rather than every day, at least for a while.

• I found out that I don't have to be so dependent on certain foods in order to make a meal taste better. Case in point: The pulled pork and potato "nachos" I make are delicious without cheese or sour cream. Maybe I didn't quite miss cheese as much as I thought I did while in the middle of it.

• I ate a lot more veggies and really enjoyed it!

• I'm still not great at meal prep and taking lunches to work, but love when I do. It is one habit I will continue working on getting down.

Cons:

• A lot of what Whole30 is based on is junk science. *cue sad trombone*

• I was SUPER tired and achey the whole time, even more that when I started. It started to make me feel depressed and almost despondent.

• I really hated some of the especially picky parts of the restrictions, and like many others have reported, I felt like it screwed with my disordered eating side.

Lots of pros, right? So here's what I have decided to do moving forward:

• Continue to eat lots of veggies and fruits and healthy fats.

• Try to adhere to the meal template for every meal: a protein, veggies, and a healthy fat. In other words, balance.

• Continue to avoid added sugars, and to monitor my daily sugar intake overall, limit to 25g or so.

• Add back whole grains, but in a limited way. Same with my beloved legumes (black beans and all their buddies – small red, pink, white, chickpeas, kidney, etc.). I guess same with dairy, for that matter. They'll all be part of my diet, but not the major players they once were.

• I'll drink alcohol, but cut down overall. I won't rely on it to relax me when I'm stressed out or upset.

• I'll make room for "treats", but they'll be for special foods/occasions in general.

Technically, I have already broken protocol. Yesterday, I got some meat, salmon, potatoes, and fruit from Wegmans (grocery store) prepared foods bar for lunch. On the surface those are fine choices, but I don't really know what those things were cooked in so likely they would be out.

This morning I had a couple tiny sips of my partner's beer – ones I hadn't tried before. Like, literally two barely sips – but that would throw me back to day 1 of Whole30, if I was sticking with it.

That said, I'm not going whole hog back into everything right away. Aside from what I just mentioned, I'm still eating W30. I'll go back into the "forbidden" stuff as it presents itself and as it seems appropriate. I'm not going on a crazy binge today!

I'm very happy to have weighed in at 325.8 today. Great progress! I don't want to jeopardize that. One thing I will say is that despite the restrictive nature of W30, I have not felt lacking. Yes, I have been hungry here and there, but the hunger is different. I'm eating three full, balanced meals a day and not counting calories. I really, really love that, and honestly? That is how I would like to live: Filling my body with delicious foods that help it function at its best, and not worrying about numbers so much. Don't get me wrong, I love my numbers and stats, but I do think setting them aside for a while might continue to do me good.

Ideally I'll continue like this at least until the end of the year, and see if I can continue losing weight and still feel satiated and happy. And I'm hoping that my energy level will improve in the coming weeks, too.

It's been fun, Whole30! Smell you later!

Monday, September 17, 2018

Halfway to Whole30 – and Thinking about Giving Up

Today is Day 15, wow! I kind of can't believe I am still hanging in there, but on the other hand it's not really a hardship. Do I miss just eating whatever whenever I like? Of course. In fact, last night I had one of those famous food dreams. I won't go into too much detail but it involved huge donuts and quite frankly, I can't remember whether I actually ate them in the dream, so... oh well.

On Friday I thought for sure it was the end of it. I had a stressful event toward the end of the work day involving a fairly new bank account (basically, KeyBank froze my account and said that it was ditching me because they found out about an instance of identity theft back in 2011 and considered me too risky, or something -- thankfully I hadn't yet transferred all my stuff over to them yet, but it was still upsetting and stressed me out!), and after that I swear all that was on my mind was how much I wanted to drink and all the stupid things I wanted to eat. I even texted my partner: "I want to stop doing Whole30."

But, then he came back with how proud he was for me sticking with it and that just kind of popped me back into reality. I realized that I was also proud of myself for hanging in there and working on bettering my habits. Shouldn't a time like this be a good opportunity for me to find a new way to deal with stressors or quell my emotions? Long story short, I didn't quit and I didn't even slip. I consider this the second major learning "thing" – number two after having successfully attended a family get-together without crashing. Those things always, always involve a lot of food – a lot of foods that I really like to eat but are definitely not W30 compliant. What I did in that case was made sure to eat a filling meal before I went, but once I got there I realized that I would be hungry anyway and should have planned better. In the back of my head I figured that there would be something there I could eat, like a veggie plate or something – not to mention that I was really only going to see everyone and not to eat. Of course, this time no dice. There was literally nothing on plan... until my cousin unveiled a gorgeous, home-grown watermelon.And then shortly after that? She handed me a baggie of freshly-picked string beans from her garden. On top of that, her sister had some Fuji apple slices that she shared with me. All in all, it was a tasty and satisfying-ish makeshift meal. Lesson learned, though – in social situations, make sure to have a Plan B.

If nothing else, I appreciate that Whole30 is teaching me these new coping skills. I have always relied on food for so many things, and it feels totally freeing to have tools like these to use for the rest of my life. It's been worth the challenge only for that, but of course I am hoping that I'll reap other benefits as well.

So far my aches and pains have not gone away at all, and I am still really dragging, energy-wise. It's like I can't get enough sleep, even with nine, ten, eleven hours a day some days. I will say that I have had a much better quality sleep, though. I sleep like the dead.

As the day goes on and I'm writing this, I am finding myself wondering if I should throw in the towel, seriously. I'm reading lots of different things on various forums and blogs about Whole30 experiences, and... I don't know. I've made it this far and hate to give up, you know? I am just so tired of feeling so tired and there is no way to know if it's going to get better or if this is just it, i.e. no "Tiger Blood" for me. Then again? It seems like most days at around this time I go through this whole thought sequence and end up putting in another day. Best I can say at this moment is what I find myself saying so often: "We'll see."

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Whole 30, Day 11

I'm still hanging in there! It's probably one of my toughest days today, which, according to the Whole30 Day by Day book, sounds pretty normal. But I can't give in. I can't throw in the towel – I'm a third of the way through, you know?

One thing that is not making it easier is that I got my period today. Again. (Second time in two months, which is a huge bummer as I make my way through perimenopause.) So yeah. The so-called Sugar Dragon is raging hard today, and I really had to talk myself out of eating not one, both the Larabars I had in my desk drawer. Larabars are technically compliant on W30, but recommended to use only in emergencies, if ever. So, after reading a number of posts on the online forum, I decided to pack the bars away until post-day 30. It's for the best.

I did have take-out lunch today from an old favorite, Panera – the Green Goddess salad, modified a bit. No dressing, olive oil instead. I probably made a mistake having them leave the bacon on (probably was cured with sugar and sulfites and whatever else that is NOT allowed), but I threw caution to the wind. No, I am NOT restarting, but I will tell you one thing: something did not taste quite right with that salad. Maybe I'm just used to my own delicious homemade versions so much now. I'll take it as lesson learned and to continue to work on improving my prep skills so I can avoid this kind of thing in my remaining days.

Randoms:

+ I'm getting sick of sweet potatoes. They are the bottom layer of my breakfast casserole this week and I find that I'm getting really put off by the flavor when I bite into it. Get this: Too sweet!

+ I LOVE yukon gold potatoes. I'm so happy regular potatoes are considered compliant on Whole30.

+ I have probably been eating too many pistachios. I could do that with macadamia, hazelnut, or cashew, but apparently pistachios should be enjoyed with stricter limits. Oops.

+ Another new fave: Capers. I had no idea how flavorful and yummy these were – a perfect addition to eggs, salad, veggies, etc. If I want to be honest I've been avoiding them for a long time without any cause.

+ I bought sardines and smoked rainbow trout but have not yet gathered up the courage to try them. I did used to eat sardines packed in tomato sauce back in college and loved them, but for some reason I am afraid of them now.

+ I need to make some homemade mayo. I'm not usually a big mayo person, but I want to make egg salad and tuna salad soon.

+ I'm still not sick of eggs, thank goodness.

+ I am really looking forward to wearing different clothes again once I lose more weight. I have so much to wear from last year and it breaks my heart. In the meantime, I have been wearing pretty much non-stop my collection of black Old Navy swing dresses with cardigans, and a couple LuLaRoe dresses. And leggings. All the time leggings. I cannot wait to wear pants again. And other dresses. And yes, I know I could get more clothes to wear now at the size I am, but a) I don't want to spend the money and b) I'm kind of using it as a reward to look forward to. Hoping by the end of the year I'll have wardrobe expansion? Shoes too.

So many mixed feels about Whole30 today. On one hand I could see myself continuing on with it for life because it is really not that bad and I feel like it's giving me a whole new, more healthy relationship with food and eating. But on the other hand... I want to eat all the things. I'm pretty sure that I will end up somewhere in the middle, but closer to W30 than to my old way of eating. I would leave room for special occasions and just a "fuckit" day here and there, but generally keep an eye on my intake of grains and sugar in particular. Dairy and legumes I'm not so worried about although I do have to watch it with them not to eat too much at once. I don't know. I guess we'll just see how I feel as it goes along post-W30. I really can't wait to see where I am at then, mentally and physically!

Monday, September 10, 2018

Whole30/Life Update

Hi ho!

It's day 8 of Whole30 for me and I am hanging in there just fine so far. I'm very pleased to have made it through my first week, and while I have definitely had some ups and downs, I've found it pretty easy to be compliant. This is probably the most healthy my diet has ever been in my life, no lie, no exaggeration.

I am still going through a weird time as far as how my body feels, though. I hear this is common – there is quite a range of symptoms associated with the various "withdrawals" you're going through. For me, it's manifested as extreme fatigue and intensified aches and pains. I'm assuming that those things will get better over time, and I'm not going to worry too much about it until after the 30 days is done.

One thing that I struggled with a lot in the first week was not weighing myself every day, or even every few days. But, now I feel liberated from the tyranny of the scale! It is really nice to just not think about how much I weigh or what the number on the scale will be. OK, honestly: I do think about my weight all the time and wonder what it's doing as a result of this new way of eating. BUT I am not going to step on that scale until it is time to! I am super curious but I am also not into the idea of sabotaging my progress by relying on what that number says. (I know that if it didn't say what I think it should/could, it would really upset me and I might go off the rails. I am still delicate, after all!)

Another thing is that while Whole30 is super restrictive, it is also super freeing! Instead of focusing on all the things I can't eat for the month, I've definitely shifted focus on what I can. It's a wonderful feeling! In general I'm eating better portions than before (I always tend to overeat), and sometimes, honestly? Even if I am hungry I don't really feel like eating, which is weird. I'm not sure what that is about, but I'm just following my instincts for now. Don't worry – I am far from underfed over here. Though fun fact: Whole 30'ers often do undereat! I like that Whole30 makes it pretty easy to manage your eating: choose a protein, a veggie, and a healthy fat for every meal and bam, you're done. This has meant for me that I'm relying on a few staples over and over, but at the same time I know that there are many options otherwise if I get bored. (I still love my eggs so far!)

I haven't yet noticed any miraculous changes in how I feel or how I look, although once in a while I have moments where I think, "Maybe...?" My stomach might have shrunk a little, or maybe my face looks a little slimmer, or maybe some things are getting easier to do again. But it's only been a week at this (plus the 2+ weeks where I was getting back on track and mostly avoiding sugar), so I really can't expect miracles. Still, I am enjoying the process and think that this just might be the thing that gets me right with food and eating.

My feeling is that once the 30 days is over that I will take things very easy, gently trying each food out to see how it affects me, before I start thinking about no longer restricting. For instance, I do want to continue to limit obvious sugar stuff after this, but I won't worry so much about the little bit of sugar we might see in certain types of bacon or mustard, you know? I don't want to go back to the way I was eating sugar, which was making sure I had something sweet after every meal, for example. That was definitely NOT good for me by any stretch. I will go back to enjoying alcohol more moderately. I will eat grains, but continue to try to stick to whole grains as much as humanly possible. In other words, I will try to make better choices most of the time. I cannot wait to eat legumes again. I miss my black beans! That said, I need to think about that – I tend to gorge on them when I do eat them, so maybe not? *sigh*

So, we'll see... maybe adding back certain foods really won't feel good, in which case... they will be out of my life (or nearly so).

Anyway, I am actually really enjoying the Whole30 journey and can't wait to see where I land on the other side!