Day 2

I fell asleep surprisingly fast last night (can anyone say “exhausted”?) and expected to be a bit tired & cranky this morning, but amazingly I woke up 2 minutes before my alarms started going off! Normally I would just lay back down and snooze for 15/30/60 minutes, but I decided to just get up and avoid the drama. Besides, I have to bike in to work early almost every day for the next couple weeks, so I didn’t want to risk falling back to sleep and oversleeping.

The scratchy throat I had yesterday is gone, but I’m still a bit sniffly. Hopefully it’s nothing and will go away.

Meal 1: Turkey chili I made last night, topped with an egg & half an avocado. I also plated a large wedge of melon cos I know my work days are long, but I was completely full and didn’t eat it. Since I’m not sure how long this meal will stick with me, I’m adding it to lunch in case I’m extra hungry later. It was a bit challenging to eat so early, but I think I can get used to it.

Meal 2: Two garlic-paprika chicken legs, 3/4 cup leftover mixed veg from last night’s dinner, a handful of green olives, 1/2 can sliced beets, melon wedge from breakfast.

Meal 2 was not big enough, and I hadn’t planned ahead for an emergency snack. Started getting hungry around 4:30, but I don’t get home until almost 7pm. Bike ride home was ok though, and I managed to get the pets fed but I was feeling a little shaky. Reaching for a plate I managed to knock a stack of glasses out of the cupboard which shattered all over the counter, and had to clean it all up before I could finish making dinner. Finally ate around 8pm, and felt better after that!

Meal 3: 2 hard boiled eggs with mustard, asparagus spears wrapped in prosciutto, some frozen broccoli, and a skillet of sautéed carrots & onions in coconut oil. Finished off with a large handful of coconut flakes, but I only ate about 2/3s of it because I was full.

Cooked a bunch more food between dinner and bedtime: 4 LARGE chicken breasts, and a tray of smashed red potatoes, plus the shining moment of my day…I MADE MAYO! And it worked, 1st attempt. Way cool.

Cooking took a bit longer than I’d hoped. Went to bed at 11pm.

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Day 1

Okay, so the last 2 days went by in a blur, and suddenly here we are. Day 1. I wasn’t able to take measurements like I wanted to, so I’m accepting that and moving on.

Day 1: 190 lbs (5′ 4″)

Hubby slept until almost 7pm last night, and we still had to do a final grocery run, so we didn’t EAT ALL THE THINGS until close to 10pm. Since that’s my bedtime, it was by no means ideal, but again accepting and moving on. Hubby had announced last week that he wanted beer and a “final meal” and our timing was such that we completely missed the crazy dinner rush at a neighborhood joint, which was great. I’d literally never eaten there in the almost-4 years since we moved here because the line was often out the door. Anyway, late or not we ordered our Final Meal. Artichoke Dip appetizer with chips and pita (we didn’t eat all of it – delicious but very rich). Hubby had some beers, which I tasted, but as I’ve said I’m not much of a drinker. We each had a Bison Burger, him with onion rings, me with a side salad. I must say – tasty, but not the omg-melt-in-my-mouth-delicious I imagined it might be. I kind of missed my tilapia and broccoli from lunch.

Now only very recently have I been making a correlation between what I eat (honestly, the majority of my meals consist of things we’ve always been told are “Healthy”, like whole grain toast, brown rice, etc along with some protein and veg) and this morning was an eye-opener. I’ve NEVER been a “morning person” (will be interesting to see if that changes) so snoozing for an hour and then dragging myself out of bed was not unusual. However, I feel like I have a massive case of allergies (which I’ve never really had a problem with): headache, stuffy nose, scratchy throat, and just overall BLAH. Taking note of this.

Meal 1:
2 handfuls of kale, sautéed with some zucchini in coconut oil. 2 fried eggs. 1 big wedge of cantaloup (which sadly wasn’t as ripe as I’d hoped.) Water. I’ll probably make coffee in a bit, but still feel blah so I’m sitting on the couch contemplating the massive amount of cooking (and cleaning) that needs to happen today in order to be prepared for the week, as well as the rest of today’s meals.

My plan for the week is to make turkey meatloaf, Sausage & Sweet Potato Hash, and some Tuna-egg salad for lettuce wraps/boats. In addition to that I will bake some fish and taters, and put some chicken drumsticks in the crockpot. We are used to buying things in bulk, but we may have overdone it a little in our desire for variety. The fridge is now full of veggies & meat, some of which (the meat) might have to go into the freezer for next week. But that’s ok – our hope is that come next weekend the only things we will have to restock are some fresh produce. I made a fairly successful run of shopping yesterday: a local co-op, ALDI, and Target managed to provide us with all the staples we will need this month. I stocked up some compliant hot sauce, fish sauce, coconut aminos, coconut oil, olive oil, and restocked all our dried spices.

LESSON LEARNED! Grocery shopping was an adventure yesterday, as I was searching for a few items I’d never purchased before (like coconut aminos). Reading labels, however, is not new. So I thought I was good. I checked everything. Twice! However, upon getting home and preparing to make ketchup I realized that the fire-roasted tomatoes contained…YEAST EXTRACT! How did I not notice this?? I didn’t know what it was, and that reason alone would have stopped me from purchasing it. Sadly, upon looking it up I discovered it’s MSG! AND, I learned this: A loophole is provided by the legislated labeling laws. It’s within a section that says if the free glutamate or glutamic acid is less than 78% of an additive, it doesn’t have to be labeled MSG.  Luckily I hadn’t opened the cans yet, so they are now delegated to the pile of food we cannot eat this month. And then, even more sad (cos I can live without f.r.toms – the ketchup turned out wonderfully!) this morning I realized that the prized can of chilis in adobe sauce that I had rejoiced over finding, contains soybean oil. FAIL! And it cost me $4!!! I will refrain from cursing on here, but my kitchen witnessed a stream of colorful vocab at 7:30am. And for the trifecta, I was also planning to use a ketchup recipe that included dates as the sweetener. I had dates! I even chopped them up and measured them for the recipe before thinking “oh, fine, I should probably make sure they are JUST dates” and upon looking, discovered (much to my horror – this is a very large tub of dates that we have been eating for months) the ingredient list: pitted dates and glucose. REALLY???

So there you have it – TRIPLE READ YOUR LABELS FOLKS.

Learn more:  http://www.naturalnews.com/033560_yeast_extract_MSG.html#ixzz47PhBFo41

I spent the rest of the day cooking and was kind of sick of cooking by the end of it.
Meal 3 was 2 delicious garlic-parmesan baked chicken legs, an entire bag of frozen California Blend veggies (that I couldn’t finish – I packed the leftovers with tomorrows lunch) and a handful of coconut flakes because I like the idea of munching all the little pieces. I ate the coconut even though I didn’t completely finish the veg, and it made a nice finish to my meal. (and honestly, I hate all but 1/2 a cup of the bag of veg)
Managed to get the kitchen roughly tidy, shower & shave, and only get to bed an hour late. Fell asleep surprisingly quickly, and that’s that.

Countdown: 3 days til Sunday

I’ve decided to use the last few days of this week to share my thoughts, planning, goals, things I think will be “easy” vs. challenging in the month ahead.

First off, I’m excited that both my sisters and one of my nephews has decided to join me & hubby in this venture! We are spread out around the world (okay, 3 of us in the Midwest and 1 in New Zealand – that counts, right?) so we can’t do fun things like shopping and food prep together, but we talk and text and email regularly, so at least I can support them in those ways. We all know we need to improve our collective health, and we all have some history of choosing healthy foods and exercising. Of course, we also all have a long history of falling off the health wagon.

The first disagreement: Hubby works overnights, so not only are we often on opposite sleep schedules, we sometimes go for days without seeing each other for more than 10 minutes in passing. I knew he was working the next 3 nights, so last night I asked if we could do our Big Gay Whole30 Week 1 shopping trip this Saturday (ok, for transparency I’m the only one calling it that! I amuse myself.) and discovered we had a discrepancy in our expected start date. I thought May 1st (Sunday) and he thought “May 1” meant Monday! What a stupid thing to argue about. Still not sure if we reached a consensus*, but either way we DID agree to shop on Saturday. Since we will likely have to shop at at least 3 stores (Aldi, Target, and one of our local co-ops for a few specialized items) maybe I can run to one of those places in the morning while he’s still sleeping. I expect to be doing a good bit of the food prep, so at least this will give me Sunday to prep even if we don’t officially start until Monday.
*It’s official! We are starting on Sunday, May 1! Guess I’ll need to do at least *some* prep on Saturday night.

Goals: I’m approaching my month as an experiment, not an end all be all magic fix. With that said, here are things I *hope* to experience based on my understanding of the program:

-better sleep/more energy
-better digestion
-reduction in chronic pain (mostly due to joint inflamation)
-fewer headaches (mild ones AND migraines)
-reduction of red/flaky skin (this isn’t eczema, but something similar? Started seeing it in the last year+ and my Dr. prescribed an anti-fungal cream that helps when I use it.)
-drop a pant size? I’m currently wearing 36’s, which are snug, or 38’s, which are baggy and require a belt. I have a closet full of awesome 34’s that I want to wear again!
-reduction in cravings/the feeling (and subsequent action) that I can’t stop eating even though I’m full and/or know I should stop (it’s like I go on auto-pilot when I binge)

Even seeing any of these things improving would be worth it. I know Hubby would love to drop a size and see an improvement in mental health.

“Easy” vs. Challenging:
Eating Whole Foods: For some folks, the Whole30 might seem like a nightmare, or at best a drastic change from what they are used to. While I’ve been making plenty of harmful choices that need to be re-evaluated, eating whole foods and reading ingredients before buying/eating something is not at all abnormal for us. I LOVE to cook fresh food that looks and tastes good. Hubby is a master at the grill! We consider big bags of chopped kale and spinach, flats of eggs, and sweet potatoes to be staples in our house. So the idea of relying on those things for nutrition is not that daunting. However, it wasn’t until I began contemplating my Whole30 meal plan that I realized JUST HOW MUCH we rely on whole grains, legumes and low fat dairy in our everyday diets. Maybe with the exception of cheese (and this can be argued, of course) these are all things we are told are HEALTHY for us. I probably could not give you an example of a single day that I have not eaten bread/rice/pasta, cheese/yogurt/milk (for the Hubby), and peanut butter. Seriously. Generally in moderation, but I eat these things every day! Yes, we buy whole wheat bread and even flake our own oatmeal, yes we buy unsweetened greek yogurt and lowfat cheese, and yes, we eat “high-protein” legumes (generally in the form of black beans or lentils, tofu & edamame + the pb) but it’s never occurred to me that these things might be contributing negatively to my physical & mental health, and I really do enjoy them on a very regular basis. So there will still be some big changes for us, in filling those gaps with vegetables for the most part, but the practice of eating whole foods is not foreign to us.

Alcohol: This one is kind of a no-brainer for me. I’m just not much of a drinker, and haven’t been for many years. I do like my Irish Whiskey, but I maybe drink twice a month as I generally don’t see the point in drinking calories. However, Hubby is a beer- brewer and drinker, and I have a sneaking suspicion this one’s going to be a bit more challenging for him. Not that he drinks frequently, but I’m guessing he’ll have at least a few days where he JUST WANTS A BEER with dinner.

3 Meals a Day: Ok, so this one is interesting. I’ve been an “all-day binger”, I’ve tried “a million small meals (I mean 5-6)”, and most recently I’ve been really enjoying Intermittent Fasting (http://www.theiflife.com/intermittent-fasting-101-how-to-start-part-i/) mostly by way of an 8-hour “feeding window”. IF doesn’t tell you how MUCH to eat, just when to eat it, so I’ve generally been cramming 3 meals, or 2 large meals and a moderate snack, into those hours, and generally eating what I calculate to be my caloric requirement based on weight loss goals and activity levels. In other words, I’m not starving myself and I’m not just winging it. But one of the things I’ve enjoyed most about IF is NOT eating “breakfast”. I still eat breakfast, I just eat it at lunch time. This means I haven’t been spending time preparing a meal in the morning before work, while trying to feed the pets, stagger around in my usual morning stupor, maybe walking the dog or picking up the yard-poop, etc etc. I’ve never been a morning person, so this has helped me be on time to work and the dog gets more walks instead of laying on her bed watching me eat. Technically I have the time, I’m just not peppy in the morning. Maybe this will change!  Anyway, if I’m going to try something new I want to follow it as precisely as possible, and this will mean eating 3 meals a day, plus an extra “meal” on workout days. I don’t know what hubby’s eating patterns have been like since he’s often eating when I’m asleep (overnight), but I do know he’s experimented with IF a bit too.

Food Planning: I’m a planner. I noticed I was getting anxious about food once we decided to try Whole30 (last week!) so I am up to my eyeballs in mapping out my food options for the month. I will likely spend a good chunk of each weekend prepping veggies & meat for each week, including a crockpot or two of meat, cauliflower rice in the freezer, and gallon ziplocks of chopped/sliced/etc veggies in the fridge. Our Whole30 Pinterest folder is overflowing with recipe ideas and meal plans from strangers, but I’m creating our own as well. Since they say that planning = success, I’m expecting my propensity for planning to give us an assist here.

This gives you some insight into what I’m expecting and anticipating in the next month.
That’s all for now.

Preparing for my Big Queer Whole30!

Preparing for my Big Queer Whole30!

Wow! My very first blog post ever. So why, after 38 years and 50 weeks, am I starting to blog? One word, ACCOUNTABILITY. In less than a week, the hubby and I will be venturing into our very first Whole30 (you probably know what that is, but just in case you don’t: http://whole30.com/downloads/official-whole30-program-rules.pdf) and we are terrible at documenting. We are also REALLY good at “falling off the wagon.” But I’m really curious about this food protocol, so I want to stick it out. And I want to document the adventure. So there you have it. I will make some notes every day about how I feel. Post some yummy looking pics of whole foods. Probably cry and moan a bit about how badly I want pizza (or ice cream, or cheese, or just to be able to eat out without agonizing over the menu and calling ahead, etc etc), but that’s part of the point of trying this thing anyway.

A bit of history: I’ve been overweight pretty much my whole life. I’m short and stocky, but in this day and age, in the US, many people think I look healthy and fit, or at least average. But more about that later. When I was just a baby, my mom noticed I was gaining weight at a surprising rate and she voiced her concern to her Dr. Perhaps today her medical community would have taken her concerns seriously, but this was the late 70’s and I was at the very front wave of our now ubiquitous Childhood Obesity Epidemic. Her Doc’s advice? “You have a very healthy baby.” As I aged, my weight continued to spiral far out of correlation with my height, and I was teased and unhappy through elementary school. My mom asked her Dr. about my weight again, and was told “don’t worry” until he hits 200lbs. Well, that magic number came and went at the age of 12 (!!!) at which point I was already in full-on adolescent rage mode, and wouldn’t have listened to my mom or our Dr. telling me to stop stuffing my face with pizza or chips or pasta or cheese or [insert food here]. My mom and I didn’t have many pleasant conversations for much of the following 7 years, but again, that’s a story for another day. Regardless, I was now a FAT teenager. Sadly, I would never grow above 5′ 4″, and at 200+ lbs I was officially Obese in medical terms. I stopped weighing myself at that point, and I don’t know how much my weight fluctuated over the years. It never occurred to me to “diet”, and after a couple failed attempts at middle school sports, exercise was more or less non-existent. I guess where I lucked out is that my weight seemed to stabilize somewhere in the low to mid 200’s and stayed there, despite a long history of binge-eating. I’m sure there are medical charts somewhere in the multiple cities I’ve lived in over the years that could give me some insight into my weight during those years, but I don’t have any recollection of voluntarily stepping on a scale until I was in my mid 20’s.

In 2004 I decided it was time to make a change. I was 235 lbs. I know, because I wrote it on my bathroom wall and proceeded to weigh myself and record the numbers every day. On my bathroom wall. I came across a magazine article that included a magic formula for figuring out how many calories one should eat (this was before I had regular access to the internet) and without question, I ran the numbers and started to restrict my food intake. At the same time, my BFF bought me a one-month pass to her gym (speaking of stories for another day, I proved so MISERABLE to work out with, she quickly refused to go to the gym with me until my attitude improved!) and shortly before that, I had started a supplemental hormone medication and I believe it was the combination of these 3 changes that ultimately led to my initial success. I know a lot more now, and I think I was starving myself, but I lost 40 lbs in roughly 5 months, and the scale dipped below 200 for the first time since I was TWELVE YEARS OLD!

I have now yo-yo’d multiple times between 160-195 in the last 12 years, but I have never hit 200 lbs again, and I promise myself that I never will. But the whole weight yo-yo thing has really started to speed up, much to my frustration. I’ve accepted that I have a binge-eating disorder and that my relationship with food has not been healthy since I was a young child. What’s so incredibly frustrating is that even though I know what’s going on, I continue to struggle. I can’t just say “ok, here’s a healthy schedule of eating and exercising” and stick to it. My greatest success was the first time I attempted P90X (and the only time I actually completed it), after which I was 155, lean and muscular, if not the “ripped” physique we think we want. Since then I’ve learned a lot more and know now that my error was in trying to continue eating at a deficit. At that point, I should have started eating more of the good foods I was consuming, and continued my intense workout schedule. Instead, I stopped working out so intensely (ultimately stopping completely for intervals of time), and went back to a more relaxed way of eating (ultimately back to eating Whatever, Wherever, Whenever.) 6 years later I was back in the 190’s. Sure, I am still stronger and more active than I was before, but my clothes don’t fit, I struggle to find energy most days, and binge-eating has become a sometimes-daily event. A year and a half ago, I scraped my way back down to 172 and was really excited. Then my dad died, and between grief and all the things that need to be managed after a parent passes away, that 20 lbs came flying back.

It’s time for a reset. It’s time for my first Whole30.