Thursday, March 27, 2014

Trusting What I Know

Today is the first day in quite some time in which I feel like I'm digging myself out of this hole.  I am making progress, and just today I see that I'm not going to be this size forever.  My jeans are looser.  I looked at myself in the large bathroom mirror at work after I changed into my workout clothes and I didn't hate what I saw.  I still have a ways to go, but I can actually see changes. 
In some ways being uncomfortable with my weight is a comfort.  It is what I know.  I know what clothes to wear to best "mask" it.  I know to avoid looking in mirrors and being caught on camera.  I avoid clothes shopping.  I've learned to just get on with my life at a larger size because at times if just feels like I will be that way forever, so I might as well live my life.  Well, it isn't until I start losing weight that I see how permenent it felt at the size I was at; how used to it I was that my clothes were ill fitting, and how far my stomach would stick out.  Once those things go away, I also realize how much I don't want to be that size anymore/or again.  I have no idea if that makes sense.  I just know that today was a break-through day, mentally.
I know its cliche to say, but I didn't get this way overnight, so I'm certainly not going to un-get this way overnight.  It is nice to see that hard work pays off.  None of this is new, just a great reminder to myself to stick with it, trust myself, trust what I know.   

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Mom Ninja

I'd be lying if I said there were no days when I think to myself "what did I get myself into?"  Life with an infant is no joke.  I have no idea what I'm doing.  Everytime we think we are in a routine, or pattern, it changes.  We went from a solid 6-8 weeks of baby sleeping from 8p-4am, waking for a feed, then falling back asleep till 8am.  It was a great schedule, I felt like I was really getting the hang of things.  Then one night, it all changed.  Then another night it changed again.  Some nights baby wakes up at 10:30pm,12:30am2:30am, and 4am.  Not always to eat, sometimes we can just get away with a simple pacifier replacement...other times- oh, boy...those other times...screaming, wiggling, fighting, madness.  Those are the times I'll do anything to get him to stop crying, including handing him off to a hungry grizzy bear.  Luckily no bear has walked by during one of those episodes yet, and a bottle sufficed. 
Between these times of sheer chaos and hair pulling madness are times of genius, or incredible feats of baby whispering.  Mom ninja moves, if you will.  Babies are so far ahead of us as far as knowing what they want and what works for them, it takes us a few days or weeks even to figure out what they are trying to say (cry?).  When those things finally click and you can anticipate baby needs- that is some mom ninja sh*t.   
I can't tell you how many times I've been woken up in the middle of the night to a fussing baby and did not pee before going in and trying to console him.  Let me tell you something- a fussy baby at 2am is one thing.  A fussy baby at 2amwhen your eyes are turning yellow is completely different.  Lesson- let baby fuss the extra 30 seconds in the crib while you relieve yourself.  It is better for everyone involved. 
A fussing baby in the middle of the night can usually mean a few things.  There is a checklist I run through depending on time of night and volume/style of crying.  If it is before 4am, I try to avoid a feed.  First thing I try is pacifier.  If that doesn't work, I turn on white noise.  Still fussing?  I check diaper or look for wet pj's.  Once that is handled, I will rock baby to sleep.  If crying increases/worsens, I make a bottle.  So, these fussing episodes can be handled in anywhere from 1 minute to 30 minutes, depending on how far down the checklist I have to go. 
Last night was a good night.  I gave baby a bottle at 6pm.  He was asleep by 6:35pm.  Thinking that this would only be an hour nap at the most, I got all my stuff ready for the next day- gym bag, packed my lunch, etc.  At 7:30 he was still sound asleep.  I decided to read in bed until the inevitble wake up as soon as I got comfortable.  I must've fallen asleep immediately.  I was woken up at 11:32 by fussing.  A simple pacifier worked.  I was woken again at 1:26am, and the hubs went in and gave him a pacifier.  The next time I heard fussing was 3:38am, so I knew it was time for diaper change and bottle. 
I got up, went to the bathroom (win!) and there were a few fusses, but nothing major yet.  I went to the kitchen made a bottle, and the fussing started to increase.  I picked up baby, and put him on the changing table.  Right before he was about to scream out, I gave him the bottle and he was in heaven.  I unzipped his jammies, took only one leg out, took his swollen diaper off (no poop!), and put a new diaper on with speed and expertise that can only be described as Olympic considering the 3:43amtime.  I put the leg back in, zipped up, and picked up baby that was eyes closed, still sucking down bottle.  I sat on the edge of the bed while he drank his bottle, eyes still closed.  When he finished I stood up and put his head over my shoulder to burp, but he was so heavy I knew he was asleep.  As I set him down in his crib on his stomach, he burped.  I put his pacifier back in, turned on the white noise, and tip-toed backwards out of the room.  I looked at the clock when I got back into bed- 3:51am.  Like a mother-effing MOM NINJA- no tears.  No waking up the hubby/neighborhood.  I was pretty proud of myself. 
A couple of things I learned here- he might be wanting an earlier bed time.  That might explain why putting him down at 8pm or even 9pm was a FIGHT, and his quality of sleep would suffer.  Perhaps we were missing the window all these other nights and he was way over tired/stimulated.  Makes sense since he doesn't nap for very long during the days.  Second, he IS capable of going from 9+ hours without a feed.  We always just feed him when we don't know what else to do.  That has the secondary effect of more wet diapers and potential wake ups.  Lastly, it was bath night last night, and I've noticed that he sleeps better after bath nights (2-3x week) might need to increase to every night if they calm him down? 
So yeah.  I don't know.  Maybe it was just a freak good night.  Like I said, every night is different.  One thing is for sure, it is never boring, and somehow, someway, seeing his smile first thing in the morning erases all middle of the night grizzly bear thoughts.  :)
Some other mom ninja moves of note:
-Flipping down the sun shade in the stroller seconds before the sun will hit babies eyes.
-Recognizing tired signals and putting him down for a nap before fussing starts.
-Making a bottle while holding a crying squirming baby.
-Catching pacifiers mid-air that have just been spit out and replacing before any sound can be made
-Pushing a stroller and walking the dog on a leash; and
-Breastfeeding while standing on your head, duh.

Monday, March 24, 2014

The 95%

Yesterday I listed common traps I fall into with eating- or the things that tend to lead me astray.  I mentioned that I want my eating to be on point 95% of the time.  But what does that mean?  It is important to define my "eating right" and what I consider "fueling my body properly" to be, otherwise, there is no context.  Everyone is going to have a different definition of what eating right is for them.  I've put in enough time, and run enough experiments on my body that I know what works for me and what doesn't. 
First and foremost, eating right for me means making my food.  Making my food means shopping to have everything I need on hand.  Typically I will go to Costco once every 2 weeks and spend $60-$100 depending on what I need, and I will supplement the rest of my groceries at the supermarket shopping 1-2 times/week, spending $100-$125/week.  Costco has a tremendous amount of organic produce, organic meats, and things like organic coconut oil, almond butter, butter from grass fed cows; all staples in my diet.  My Costco cart typically includes:
Organic apples or pears (12)
Bell peppers (6)
Asparagus/haricots vert (2lbs)
5lbs of cut and washed broccoli
2lbs of cut and washed cauliflower
Organic skinless boneless chicken thighs
4 pack of lean ground turkey
Aidells chicken sausages
Kerrygold butter
Almond butter (every 2 months or so)
Coconut oil (once a year?  Huge tub)
canned organic diced tomatoes (8 cans)
Quinoa (5lbs) (every 2 months or so)
I fill in the blanks weekly at the grocery store:
spices, if needed (from the bulk section)
green onions
chicken broth
lean beef
any chunks of meat that are on sale
raisins/dried fruit
bananas and/or seasonal fruits
half and half
any household items (paper towels, soap, etc.)
I spend about an hour on the weekend doing meal preparation for the coming days.  I try to keep things fairly simple, the fewer the steps, the better.  A typcial Sunday cooking session looks something like this:
Set oven to 425 degrees, grab a sheet pan, and dump out the 2lb bag of cauliflower onto the pan.  I heat up a few tbps. of coconut oil, drizzle it over cauliflower, then sprinkly with salt and pepper.  I give everything a good toss with my hands, and put the pan in the oven for 30(?) minutes- until the cauliflower is fragrant and starting to carmelize.  Prep time- 3 mintues.  Cook time 30 minutes.  While the cauliflower is roasting, I'll make up a batch of turkey taco meat.  Using 2 of the ground turkey packages from Costco, I'll brown the meat, then add cumin, chili power, salt, pepper, two cans of diced tomatoes, and some fresh chopped garlic.  I'll let that simmer for awhile, and usually by the time the cauliflower is done, I'll have my turkey taco meat done as well.  Prep time - 5 minutes (chop garlic, assemble add ins).  Cook time- 20-30 minutes.
Once my turkey taco meat is simmering, I'll chop up 3 bell peppers into strips, and an onion or two.  When the cauliflower comes out, I'll throw the onions and peppers (with some salt and pepper) onto the sheet pan and roast until super soft and caramelized.  Prep time- 5-10 minutes (depending on your cutting speed) Cook time 30-45 minutes.
Bam.  In about an hour, I have ready to grab protein and veggies on hand for myself and husband to eat.  If I'm feeling up to it, I'll roast or braise some other protein source as well, but I really try to only cook off what we will eat in 2-3 days.  Tuesday or Wednesday when we start to get low on the fridge stash, I'll roast off another sheet pan of vegetables (half of the broccoli bag, some asparagus, or more peppers/onions) and some chicken thighs, or make more taco meat. 
I've covered shopping and meal prep, so what do my actual days look like in terms of meal consumption?  Pretty unconventional- unless you are simply looking at the food as fuel. 
Typical breakfast- coffee with half and half, and 6oz of turkey taco meat and some onions/pepper mix or 2 chicken thighs and some roasted cauliflower, or 2 chicken sausages and some roasted veggie, or 2 chicken thighs, a nuked sweet potato and some roasted veggies...see a trend? 
Snack- apple or pear with almond butter
Typical lunch- same or similar to breakfast.  If I don't have a nuked yam at breakfast, I'll almost always have one at lunch, especially after a noon crossfit workout.  Gotta replensish those stores, you know?  Alternatively, I will have dinner left-overs if we made a roast or some other special meal- but it still has the same components- protein and vegetable.
Dinner- guess what...more of the same!  Well, the nights that the husband works that is.  When I come home from work and my husband won't be home till after I'm in bed, I don't want to spend any time cooking.  That's why it is SO IMPERATIVE that I spend time on days when I can preparing foods to just grab and heat up.  When in this cycle of shopping/prepping/cooking it is so easy to keep on track.  Yes, I eat a lot of the same things over and over.  But- I have played around with them enough that I know they are flavors I can eat forever.  There is a reason why I eat chicken thighs and not chicken breast.  With all the different fruits and vegetables, there really are a lot of combinations to be had.
I try to drink close to a gallon of water a day as well.
On days when my husband is home all day, he will sometimes braise off a large pork shoulder, or some hunk of beef.  Summer is around the corner, so that means grilling- burgers, chicken, sausages, occasional steaks, grilled veggies and grilled yam slices.  Or one night a week when we are together in the evening we might head out for some Pho' or Thai food.  I don't get bored.  I don't feel deprived.  When I'm spending the time to shop and prep meals so that I have good foods to eat at my finger tips all the time, I feel amazing.  I feel like I'm in a groove and doing it all.  Yes, I am doing more, but I've figured out how to do it so efficiently I'm spending less time on cooking/eating, and feeling better.  This is where I like to be, this is where I will continue to try to be, 95% of the time. 
Saturday mornings I like to give myself a little leeway for something special- my favorite paleo pancakes (egg, banana, almond butter, 1 tbsp. coconut flour, dash of salt) with some bacon, or a scramble of eggs, bacon, yams, green onion thrown onto some corn tortillas. 
This is my 95%.  Making my food.  Having a good variety of meats (mostly lean) and vegetables rotating through the week.  Using different methods of preparation- roasting, brasing, grilling.  Eating out at restaurants no more than once a week.  Eating corn or rice once or twice a week.  Eating bacon occasionally.  Not fearing fat.  Paying attention to portion sizes.  Including vegetables in every meal.  Eating organic/grass fed when possible.  Drinking water.  Feeling awesome. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Recognizing Pitfalls

After a solid 2 weeks of tightening up my eating, I've got a little distance from the hold food can have over me.  This distance is a great thing because it allows me to be present and see things more clearly.  So much of having a healthy relationship with food is having a healthy mind.  I'm going to list some of the common pitfalls I encounter when it comes to food, and how I deal with them.  It is always easier to deal with them when I'm on a roll with good eating, with a clear head.  I consider each event to be "practice" for my ever long quest to fuel my body with the best quality, and at the right quantities.
#1- I've been eating healthy for X amount of time, I deserve a treat!
This.  This gets me almost every time.  I reach a point where I've just had enough of vegetables and lean protein and I feel that I deserve to eat whatever I want.  Unfortunately, history has shown me that once I do indulge in some form of treat, pulling the reins back in quickly (or at all) is my biggest challenge.  I will continue to work on this forever, because I want to live a balanced life that does include the occasional twice baked almond croissant from Bakery Nouveau.  I simply refuse to believe that I can never eat certain things again.  Not only is that incredibly disordered, its just plain boring.  There are no "good" foods and there are no "bad" foods.  There are just better choices. 
My solution:  I really need to focus on making sure that my times of indulgence are the very, very minority, and 95% of the time I'm fueling my body properly.
#2- Free food/catered lunches at work
I don't know what it is about free food.  I act like at some point I was poor and starving and I can't get that out of my head when I see free food.  Trust me, I have never been starved my whole life.  Even at times of having little money, I always managed to eat plenty.  But when I'm around free food, you would never guess that!  Even if I'm able to pass up the food at first, knowing it is just sitting there and I haven't tasted it haunts me.  When I'm on a roll of eating well, I have the best ability to stand up to it and think about other things.  When I'm down the slippery slope of eating...I tend to go crazy. 
My solution:  Keep vigillant.  Know that their will always be food, free food, things you have not tasted.  Remember what my goals are- to fuel my body properly. 
#3- Going out to eat
The hubs and I love to go to restaurants.  The problem with going out to eat too much is I don't know what they are putting in the food, and portion sizes are generally large.  Not to mention with a new baby, going out to eat all the time is not where our finances should be focused. 
My solution: Keep fridge stocked with easy to make proteins and veggies.  Plan restaurant outings days in advance so they are special and not whim decisions. 
#4- Food = Something to do
Whether it be out of boredom, or a social activity, eating is something to do.  To me, eating is fun.  Something to look forward to.  When I don't have a lot going on, I often plan elaborate meals to make (or prior to ditching the SAD, I would bake things like crazy).  When a friend wants to get together, its usually for lunch or dinner, and I get excited at the opportunity to "treat" myself. 
My solution: Recognize the difference between looking for something to do, and being hungry.  Often, just noticing that I'm bored is enough to get me to think of a different way to spend my time.  Also, baby has been a pretty good time suck so lately I don't have a lot of free time to shop and make elaborate meals.  The occasional outing with a friend, I'm going to put those into the 5% food choice category.  Sometimes I'll be that annoying friend that orders a salad with dressing on the side, other times I won't. 

#5 Celebration food
Holidays, vacations, birthdays, Fridays- you name it.  There is almost always something going on.  It's easy for me to justify things with "special occasion" and suddenly everything becomes a special occasion. 
My solution: Plan out which holidays throughout the year I want to celebrate with food.  My birthday?  Yes.  Fourth of July?  No.  Thanksgiving?  Yes.  Christmas?  Meh/no.  Then when the occasional unplanned event crops up, I can decide if it is worth it to potentially risk derailing myself.

It helps me to call these things out so I can see when I'm doing them.  If I have an explanation for what I'm doing, usually I can act in an appropriate manner.  It is when I become distant and don't own up to my behavior when things go crazy.  I believe that is how people "wake up" and find themselves at 400 pounds. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Oil Pulling-What's the Deal?

In the past week, I've read about, been asked about, and seen references to oil pulling left and right.  What's the deal?  I'm guessing social media.  Someone posts or pins a 'scientific' article and boom- sharing galore.  Hence everyone talking about it. 
I'll admit.  I fell for it.  I read the hype about oil pulling and how awesome it is.  I decided the next day to try it for a week.  I woke up first thing in the morning, grabbed my Costco sized canister of organic virgin coconut oil, dug my spoon into the waxy stuff and jammed a spoonful into my mouth.  I noted the time (5:12a) as the timing is VERY IMPORTANT, 20 minutes, no more, no less!  It was kind of grossing me out until the oil was all the way melted.  I didn't mind the taste, I like coconut, but the texture was a little odd.  I swished around, being careful not to swallow any of those fresh pulled toxins.  After about 5 minutes, and seemingly the volume of liquid in my mouth had tripled, I was doubting my ability to hold on for 20 minutes.  I continued to swish.  I fought the urge to swallow, but why is it that when you can't do something that's the thing you feel you need to do the most?  After what seemed like the longest 20 minutes ever, I spit the coconut oil/saliva/toxins into the garbage.  My teeth felt nice, but they were also coated in oil.   Day 1 done. 
Like I said, I would give it a try for a week.  As the week passed, it got less weird, and just part of morning routine.  I could do it while getting ready, feeding the baby, packing up my stuff for the day, and be done in time to spit it out and brush my teeth.  I even did it on my commute to work one morning, but then I had to spit the crap into a ziplock baggie at a stoplight, and that felt weird.
I researched a little more and found many of nearly the exact same "instruction/benefit blog posts" and then after some more digging, and a timely article by Huffington Post, I came to the conclusion of 'meh.'  There are no scienfic studies to back up all the incredible claims.  Supposedly it is really good for oral health, and it is also supposed to "remove toxins from your body through your mouth" as well as a myriad of other beneficial claims.  Um, ok.  The oral health improvement, I can maybe see, as the oil might provide an environment in which bacteria do not like, and therefore a reduction in bacteria can occur.  The "removing toxins from your body through your mouth claim?"  I'm calling BS.  How exactly would that work?  Toxins generally collect in your fat tissue, all over your body.  I have no idea how swishing oil in your mouth for 20 minutes a day could possibly pull those toxins out of your fatty tissues, dispose of them into the oil, and then easily be spit into the garbage.   
To each his/her own.  If you like doing this and feel it has benefits?  Then by all means do it!  To me?  Its just one more thing to do in the morning, and I can't help think that someone is playing a cruel joke on me everytime I stick a spoonful of waxy coconut oil into my mouth and keep it there for 20 minutes. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

A New Reason to Hate Moby

Poor Moby.  He gets a bad rap (ha, Eminem, get it?).  I don't really hate him.  BUT he is responsible for some super sore quads and hammies today.  Part of our warm up was "tempo squats to Moby."  I saw that on the gym website and in my head was like "huh?" 
Turns out, it was exactly what it said it was.  We put bars on our backs, the trainer cued up some Moby, and we squatted.  And we squatted.  And we held the bottom of a squat.  And we squatted some more.  It was only 3ish minutes, and not knowing what I was in for, I went with a blank bar (35#).  Thank god, I didn't go prescribed weight- 65#, or I wouldn't be walking today. 

If you want to give your muscles a nice wake up call, give it a try.  I've seen videos on the interwebs of people doing this with squats, push-ups, and even handstand push-ups. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Boot Straps: Found

After a solid 4 days of eating well, exercising, and drinking lots of water, how do you think I feel?  Great.  The answer is great.  Of course.  I mean, who doesn't feel good when they are treating their body right?  I'm not going to waste time talking about how good I feel, or how 'this time is different' or any garbage along those lines.  Talk is cheap. 
I followed through on creating an Instagram account for things related to this blog- i.e., I'll be posting pictures of my food, pictures of my gym, progress pics, etc.  If that interests you, you can find me under username: imissmycollarbone
When I have the itch to change, to start doing what I need to do, the motivation and drive is easy.  That's why I always kind of chuckle at "the Monday starters."  I mean, everything is great, the grass is green, the sun is shining...and then somewhere, somehow that initial energy wanes.  Oh, do I know about that!  In fact, if that initial energy didn't wane for 98% of the population, everyone would be fit, rich, highly educated, successful, grateful, and achieving all their goals, whatever they may be.  If you can't relate to this energy wane in a health related sense, then I'm sure you can relate to it in some other way; tomorrow I'll start saving more money, tomorrow I'll quit smoking, tomorrow I'll spend more time with my family...
My battle is no longer with knowing what to do, or even doing it.  My battle is doing it forever.  I have a lot of respect and admiration for individuals that are so driven, they reach goal after goal.  There is no reason why I can't be one of those people as well.  I know from experience that everything takes practice.  I've had plenty of practice being at the crossroads for that point when the energy wanes.  I don't know if this is the time that things will finally click, and I push past that point to infinity- but I'm going to try my hardest. 
Fall down 46 times, get up 47. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Getting my Head in the Game

I've spent the majority of my life being conscious of my weight.  I think I went on my first real diet at the age of 10, when my dad and I decided to "do" Weight Watchers.  We didn't sign up or attend any meetings, but my parents had all the materials for muliple previous attempts, so we just used the pamphlets as our guide.  I can distinctly remember how great I felt watching the numbers on the scale drop, and the praise I got from both my parents who, at the time were overweight.  I also remember getting to the point where I preferred an apple versus a cookie or candy bar.  For a 10 year old?  That's pretty huge. 
Strangely enough the weight watchers way of life didn't stick with my 10 year-old self.  It was not long until I was conscious of the fact I was larger than my peers, and I need to be doing something about it.  I can look back on my family life now, and see things I was unable to see when I was immersed in it.  Everything in our lives revolved around food.  What were we going to eat next?  Let's walk somewhere to get a treat.  Oh, a special occasion is coming up, what should the menu be?  It's a holiday.  Let's go out to eat.  This was all met with constant guilt as well- oh, we shouldn't be eating this.  We need to walk extra to burn this off.  I need to go on a diet...etc. 
I'm not making any excuses for myself now.  I am an adult, I have been living on my own for nearly 15 years.  But I can see how a foundation was built for me to put more emphasis on food than it ever deserves.  A foundation was built for me to see food as either "good" or "bad."  A foundation was built for me to judge my self worth by my size.  Not only did food = love in my family, but thin = love, success, health, and all things good.  My struggles with food and body continue today.  In the past four years of keeping this blog, and hashing out so many of my issues, as well as completely changing the way I view food and exercise, I've learned tremendous amounts about myself.  I've learned what I need to do for me to succeed. 
For the past year, I have been giving myself a major pass.  Yes, I was pregnant.  Yes, I just had a baby.  Yes, I'm breastfeeding.  But seriously, I don't feel as good as I know I'm capable of feeling.  I only know I'm capable of feeling so. much. better. because I have.  After my experiments in ditching the standard american diet and eating foods mainly prepared at home by me, consisting of one ingredient, or recipies that put multiple one ingredient items together (still with me?) I realized that I can feel superhuman.  My mental clarity is off the charts...everything just makes sense.  The pull food has on me vanishes, and I can focus on so much more.  I don't know how to explain it, except its miraculous.  I've said it before, and I'll say it now.  I had no idea it was even possible to feel that way.  But I've felt it, and now, I'm too the point where I want it back.
If there is anything I've learned from my own self, the countless articles I've read, the blogs I follow, various teams I've been on, etc.- it's that my head needs to be in the game.  I can't be saying one thing and doing another.  It will take constant attention to eat what is right for me, the majority of the time.  I'm gearing up.  I hit up Costco yesterday for massive amounts of veggies and lean protein.  We are well stocked on yams, onions, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, pears, almond butter, ground turkey, and chicken.  The way I see it, I spent the past year bulking.  It's time to start cutting.  I'm toying with creating an Instagram account associated with this blog to track progress, I'll keep you updated on that.  For some reason I don't mind if blog followers see progress pics/my boring food pics/gym selfies (because that's all I talk about here), but as far as some aquaintences/workmates/ randoms that follow my personal account...awkward.  So, personal account can be for baby/dog/travel pics, and blog account can be for real foods/heavy weights/ass shrinking. 
Here we go.