April 30, 2016

Day Eleven: The First Weigh-In and Week In Review

It's Saturday! It's Caturday! It's Weigh-In Day! Wait, why am I excited about that last one? Here's a look at how my week went, and, of course, my weigh-in.

I strayed from my meal plan this week, especially on Wednesday when the smoke filled the room, literally. I switched some meals around. I found some new favorites, I found some things I'll never make again. I didn't exactly stay gluten-free, but I did manage dairy-free-except-butter. But all-in-all I did pretty well. I didn't go bananas with anything, I didn't act on my never-ending cravings for Red Vines (should I change the blog name to Go Red Vines? I am obsessed lately). I came in under my SparkPeople calorie goal everyday. So all-in-all, a pretty good week. I only want to work on evening out my nutrients, because right now I'm eating more fat than anything else. And I know some people say fat is good, but I just can't wrap my head around eating more fat to lose fat, you know?

I stuck to my workout plan for the week, yay me! Granted, it was a measly 3 miles to walk over 3 days, so it's not like I climbed Everest or anything. But that's two weeks in a row I have stuck to my plans. And each day I walked my mile, I got a little bit faster. I have a 5K race in 5 weeks, and I want to do be prepared to do my best. I'm almost scared to add any other exercise other than 3 days of walking, because I don't want to detract from training for the race. That's my fitness goal for now, so that's where I want my focus to be.

Am I up? Am I down? I don't know! That's how I felt all week, because I've been so bloated (thank you, lady time!). But the moment of truth is here, and this week's weight is: 234.1. That is down 3.6 pounds from last week! High five, self!

April 28, 2016

Day Nine: Sometimes You Are The Spider

Sometimes you are the fly. Sometimes you fill your entire apartment with smoke trying to sauté a chicken breast. I think that would be a case of being the fly, and yesterday I was most DEFINITELY the fly. Because once I was coughing dramatically while my lungs filled with smoke*, I was not feeling empowered or anything remotely spider-like. I was feeling like I wanted to cry and throw the stupid chicken in the stupid trash and curl up in bed with some Cheetos or Red Vines (DAMN IT, RED VINES!) never to be heard from again.

Luckily, I've learned over the last few weeks that pouting and eating are not the answers to life's problems. Also, I threw away all the Cheetos in my apartment and ate all the Red Vines during RV-Gate last week. So while I searched high and low for some scrap of junk food I had left myself, there wasn't any to be found. Actually, there was still a box of Girl Scout cookies in my freezer, but despite my sad-rage, I still managed to check the ingredients, see they had dairy, and put them back. That is progress, people! Progress!

I finally sat down with some very not-gluten-free but still healthy and multi-grain and not-sugar-coated cereal, sans milk, and even though it did nothing for my taste buds, it let me eat my feelings without consuming two days worth of calories. I feel super accomplished, guys. Like, so proud. Of course, since I had ruined** dinner, I then stuck some chicken wings in the oven and called it a night on cooking. But I tracked my chicken wings. And didn't feel remorse for eating them because, at that point, I was just hungry, and it was the only readily available food that I had left. Note to self: buy emergency foods for when dinner doesn't turn out so great.

So there is my lesson learned about being the fly, and not letting it ruin my life. I didn't let the spider eat me. Maybe take just a little nibble, but then I said, "Screw you, spider!" and flew away. I hate spiders. I hate this analogy. I hate myself a little bit right now for even using it.

*Please note I am being horribly overdramatic. Yes, I filled my apartment with smoke, and yes, it made me cough. But it wasn't nearly enough to do irreparable damage to my lungs. It didn't even trigger the smoke detector.

**Dinner was not ruined, I was just being a crybaby. I ate the salad I made the chicken for, WITH the chicken, for lunch the next day. It was fine.

April 26, 2016

Day Seven: How I Plan My Meals

In the past, I hardly ever planned my meals. What is there to plan, really, when you eat frozen pizza and lasagna every night? The only decision I ever had to make was which box to pull out of the freezer each night. There wasn't much, if any, planning involved. At all. Ever.

So the hardest thing about starting the Whole30 and cooking everything I ate from scratch was that I actually had to sit down and decide what I was going to eat for the week. The entire week! At once! Who has time for that sort of thing? Truth be told, I do. And I found that I actually really enjoy sitting down with the grocery ads and deciding what I am going to eat for the week. The entire week. At once. Really the hardest thing about it is getting my cat off my lap so I can actually see what I am doing.

Now, each week I get excited on Tuesdays, because that is when the new grocery ads come out. I can see what's on sale, and start dreaming of the things I am going to eat the following week. Meal planning for me starts the day the ads come out, even though I won't go shopping until Saturday. I take Tuesday through Friday evenings to scour Pinterest for recipes based on what is on sale. Dairy-free, recipes, to boot. By Friday, I have a pretty good idea of what is out there, and I sit down to actually plan out what I am going to eat the following week.

I try to make recipes that will serve 2-4 people. I eat an abundance of leftovers, so I keep that in mind when choosing recipes. How long will this feed me for? Will it be TOO long, do I need to half the recipe? I plan lunches and dinners accordingly, usually planning super simple things like hot dogs and steamed veggies on nights when I have things to do, like my workouts or after work appointments or anything like that. I'll make extras on those nights so I have something to take for lunch the next day, but will usually end up having to cook dinner again the next night.

Breakfast is the easiest thing to plan. I eat the exact same thing every day, except weekends. I love the breakfast sausages that I was making for my Whole30, so I have kept making those for breakfast 6 days a week. I also like to have a banana with every breakfast. During the week I try to find something portable (like this week's pumpkin spice muffins) since I don't actually eat breakfast until my first break at work. I'm so excited that I can eat baked goods now! Breakfast was the worst part of Whole30 for me, because I hate savory breakfasts, I hate eggs, and I couldn't whip some muffins together with compliant ingredients because it is against the rules. Even now these recipes are hard to find for me. A lot of the dairy-free baked goods are also gluten-free, paleo, etc, and make excessive use of coconut flour/oil/milk. I will pretend to be allergic to coconut if I have to, so great is my loathing for it. I would rather make full-dairy versions and deal with the consequences than ingest coconut. So it takes a while to find recipes, but I'm doing my best. For weekend breakfasts I try to plan something a little more involved, like a smoothie. Maybe next week I'll even go for some French toast!

Hopefully all of that made sense? In the future I'd like to make a more detailed, specific, even photo-filled post about the process, but since it's still sort of new to me, I'm still figuring things out.

April 24, 2016

Day Five: This Week's Plan

You know that obnoxious saying, "Fail to plan, plan to fail"? It's obnoxious, right? But it's also, I've discovered, very true. It was so easy not to overeat or consume an entire bag of chips while I was doing the Whole30, because I made a plan every week of what I was going to eat. And until Red Vine-Geddon, I stuck with that plan. So as much as I hate cheesy, obnoxious sayings, I definitely want to continue to plan my meals for the week, with the idea of not failing in mind.

This will be my first full non-Whole30 week, and I was so excited to include things that weren't allowed on the Whole30. Rice, people, rice! If I can't have cheese, I at least want rice. And there is no gluten in rice (which I didn't know until post-Red Vine Gate), so I'm okay on that front too! As an aside, I'm going to keep eating butter, at least for a little while to see if I have any reaction to it. Because butter is mostly fat, according to the internets, it doesn't always cause the same problems that other dairy does. And I've never been particularly anti-butter, regardless of how "bad" it is for you, because butter is amaze-balls. So I'm hoping my body can handle it.

So here is my food and fitness plan for the week. Please note, I live all alone and usually cook full-sized recipes, so there is an abundance of leftovers in my life. As long as the food was good, I'm okay with that.

Breakfast: Chocolate Banana ShakeBreakfast Sausage
Lunch: Dirty Brown Rice with Shrimp
Dinner: Dirty Brown Rice with Shrimp
Fitness: Walk 1 Mile

Breakfast: Breakfast Sausage, Grain-Free Pumpkin Spice Muffin, Almonds, Banana
Lunch: Dirty Brown Rice with Shrimp
Dinner: 2 Applegate Farms Uncured Beef Hot Dogs, Steamed Green Beans, Brown Rice

Breakfast: Breakfast Sausage, Pumpkin Spice Muffin, Almonds, Banana
Lunch: Dirty Brown Rice with Shrimp
Dinner: BBQ Chicken Salad
Fitness: Walk 1 Mile (Walk 5 min, Run 30 sec, Walk remaining)

Breakfast: Breakfast Sausage, Pumpkin Spice Muffin, Almonds, Banana
Lunch: BBQ Chicken Salad
Dinner: Steak, Steamed Broccoli

Breakfast: Breakfast Sausage, Pumpkin Spice Muffin, Almonds, Banana
Lunch: Steak, Steamed Broccoli
Dinner: Applegate Farms Hot Dogs, Steamed Veggies, Brown Rice
Fitness: Walk 1 Mile (Walk 5 min, Run 30 sec, Walk remaining)

Breakfast: Breakfast Sausage, Pumpkin Spice Muffin, Almonds, Banana
Lunch: Hot Dogs, Veggies, Rice
Dinner: Pasta Pomodoro

Breakfast: Chocolate Banana Shake
Lunch: Pasta Pomodoro
Dinner: Pasta Pomodoro

So that is the plan for the week. Sunday is already off to a good start. I've walked my mile, made breakfast sausages for the next couple of days (I like to half the recipe and prepare 3 on Sunday and 3 on Tuesday evening for the rest of the week. My first week of Whole30 I made all 6 on Sunday and by Friday, it was a little iffy on whether or not I should eat it. I did anyway and survived, but they just taste better when they're not almost a week old), and had an adventure in using my two-year-old Ninja for the first time. Here's hoping the rest of the week goes just as well!

April 23, 2016

Day Four: What I Learned From My Failed Whole30

I may not have stuck with the Whole30 for the, uh, whole 30, but that doesn't mean I didn't take anything valuable away from it. I learned a lot in those 15 days, and I'm learning a lot more now that I've started adding non-Whole30 foods back into my diet. These are just a few of those things.

I think the most important thing I learned is that I can eat 3 meals a day, and get enough nutrition from those that I don't need to snack at all. Snacking is one of my biggest downfalls when trying to lose weight. I'll grab a bag of chips, or some crackers, or chocolate frosting, and before I know it I've eaten everything in my apartment. Snacking is discouraged on the Whole30 - you should be getting all the nutrients and calories you need from your 3 square meals a day. So with that in mind, whenever I wanted a snack, I asked myself, "Why?" Was I actually hungry, or only bored/tired/upset? In my 15 days on Whole30, the answer was only "hungry" one time. So I only had a snack one time. And I survived, and will continue to do so. Snacking is a gateway to food overload for me. Even if it's not junk food, if I snack when I'm not really hungry, I will inevitably overeat. So snacking is out.

I also learned that I don't need junk food/packaged/processed foods in my life. I didn't even miss them. Do you know how good grapes taste? And strawberries, and feta-less Greek salads, and roasted chicken breasts? They taste amazing, and there is nothing in them from a box, bag, or carton. I don't even miss Coke, which has always been my drug of choice. There are still 3 cans of Coke in my fridge from before the Whole30, and they've sat untouched, even since I stopped following the program. For some reason I can't bring myself to get rid of them, but I've yet to be tempted by them. Cold, refreshing water is enough for me. So no more junk food? Check.

Probably the worst thing to come out of the Whole30/15 for me is also the saddest thing that has ever happened in my life. Cheese and I, we are not friends. And even though I pretty much already knew that, I was hoping this would prove that it was something else making me feel queasy all the time, and not dairy. But it is. Because I ate some cheese yesterday, and my face got puffy, I got bloated, and then I suffered. I was lactose intolerant as a baby/toddler, but it went away for most of my childhood and teenage years. It has come back with a vengeance in the last few years. And even though I knew going in that dairy was probably the culprit behind a lot of my problems, I'm still really sad to have it confirmed. Like, deeply sad. I never even got to have pizza before I found this out. Goodbye pizza! You were my best food friend in the entire world! I'll miss you! *sob*

In addition to dairy, I will also be giving up gluten, at least temporarily. I don't think I truly waited enough time between eating a flour tortilla, and eating that cheese, to know if the gluten had any real effect. The effects from the dairy were immediate, and obvious. I'm not so sure about the gluten, so I'm going to go a few more weeks without it to see.

So even though I "failed" at being a good Whole30'er, I still learned a lot about myself. About what I am capable of NOT eating, and what kinds of things I actually enjoy eating. I also found a love for cooking, and a great disdain for doing the dishes. But since I live alone, and those things have to go together, I will deal with the dishes for now.

April 21, 2016

Day Two: Quitting the Whole 30

Here's a true story. I lasted 15 days on the Whole 30. 15 days! Then I tore into a bag of Red Vines ravenously like they were the last food on Earth and I'd been hiking in an apocalyptic wasteland with no nourishment for three days. Actually, this is false. I ate them slowly, and savored every last bite...of every last Red Vine. Thus ended my Whole 30, much like any attempt to get healthy/lose weight might. Except it really wasn't the same at all. 

I think it's a common feeling for people trying to lose weight, to be ashamed of messing it up. "It's my fault I ate that entire pack of Oreo's, I'm a failure at everything," etc. etc. until we talk ourselves into such a place of despair that we eat nothing but pizza and Twinkies for 3 days. I've been there, I've felt that, many, many, oh so many times. But "screwing up" my Whole 30 honestly felt like one of the best things I'd ever done for myself. Perhaps decadently dining on an entire bag of candy was not the greatest decision, but giving up on the Whole 30? It was such a weight off my shoulders. And I didn't even realize what a weight it was until night 15, when I was sobbing violently because I just wanted a goddamn slice of pizza.

So the next day, I quit the Whole 30, chowed down on some Red Vines, and the strangest thing happened - nothing. No self-hatred or self-loathing. No feeling like I'd failed by stopping halfway through. No regrets for binging on sugary goodness. Nope, I felt absolutely nothing. I went about my day, ate the Whole 30 lunch and dinner I had planned, and went to bed. And the next day? Still nothing. I added some crackers to my Whole 30 dinner, and went about my business.

It has been more than 48 hours since my Red Vine romance, and I still don't feel bad about it. Which is amazing, let's be honest. But the reason I don't feel bad is very much something that the Whole 30 taught me. I was horribly honest with myself that night I cried myself to sleep over pizza. Because pizza isn't a normal, healthy thing to cry about. So I had to ask, why am I crying about pizza, which is when I realized that I wasn't crying about pizza, I was crying about the stress I felt trying to eat the perfect things, cook perfect meals, be the perfect example of how a person should and should not eat. I was trying so hard to do everything right, that I realized, in this instance, I hated being right. Being right didn't make me feel better. Doing and eating the right things didn't magically make all my problems go away (just like eating all the wrong things won't either). In fact, it was making me feel worse about myself, because I was doing everything "right" and I still didn't feel any better. I lost 12 pounds, I impressed my co-workers who thought I only ate Jack in the Box, but did I feel any better about myself, about my life, about my eating habits? Absolutely not. And so I decided it wasn't worth it, to be so miserable not allowing myself to eat the foods I enjoy, when I wasn't getting any real benefit from it.

Yes, I know the Whole 30 is supposed to make you feel like this amazing tiger or something, give you all the energy in the world, destroy your cravings for sugar, and I'm pretty sure there's something in there about dragons as well. But it didn't do that for me. I'm betting it doesn't do that for a lot of people. Just like it does wonders for some people, it's just not the right fit for others. I base too much of my life's happiness on enjoying the things I eat to ever give most of it up for 30 days. Because even though they say food can't make you happy, it really can. I don't usually eat because I'm having an emotional breakdown, I eat because I ENJOY FOOD and yes, good food heightens my mood. And no matter how many Whole 30 approved recipes I tried, I just couldn't find happiness in what they were selling me. So I gave it up, I'm moving on, and for the first time in my life I don't feel like a failure for eating an entire bag of Red Vines.

April 20, 2016

Day One...Again

I'm not sure what is harder, losing weight, or writing a blog about it. I seem to be pretty terrible at both. But if at first you don't succeed, choose whatever ending you see fit and insert it here. So here I am, trying again. I can't guarantee this time will be the time it all clicks and everything works out the way I want it to. But I can try my hardest, and that's all I can ask from myself. God I sound corny. Anyway, today's starting weight: 237.7.