Monday, August 26, 2013

Vacation time!

Vacation has been wonderful! We've been hanging out with friends and family, just having a good time. Nothing terribly exciting planned, just going with the flow, seeing friends when we can, playing outside, wandering through the Fair (seeing lots of animals - Adi's favorite!) and relaxing. Adi has been wonderfully flexible this trip, so although she's now a tired girl (we're heading home tomorrow), she has done well napping and sleeping.
All week, I've been surrounded by fair food, junk food, desserts, and generally unhealthy foods. I decided at the beginning of the week that I would have one "off-road" food, but that I would wait for the last day of the fair to have it, so that if it triggered a bad response mentally (i.e. EAT. ALL. THE. THINGS), that I wouldn't have to deal with that while having all of my senses assaulted by the smells, sounds, and views of all of that incredibly unhealthy food. So all week, I've done pretty well with my eating, even though most of our meals have been fair food. So what did I eat? Breakfast was at home, so easy to make compliant. Most mornings looked something like this:
Eggs and veggies. Check out those awesome tomatoes. Those are from my father-in-law's garden. They had been gone for a week when we arrived, so the garden was just stuffed with wonderfulness to munch on.

See what I mean? These tomatoes were SO sweet and yummy. I have garden envy.
For lunches and dinners, I did the best I could with what was available and didn't stress about it. That meant salads with the best dressing choice available, sandwiches without the bread, and some chicken. I thought the chicken was supposed to be roasted and it was fried. Oh, well. Often, I couldn't find enough that I was comfortable with eating, so I supplemented with Lara bars. I probably used the Lara bars a little too much, so I'll be putting those away for awhile when we get home, but they were good in a pinch. I also survived a Grove Family lunch with not much problem - I ate some meat and some fruit (only veggies were corn, which I haven't reintroduced yet, so I held off on that) - and fended off the multiple desserts. :)  Today was our last day there, and I had my delicious dessert - a chocolate covered banana. Nothing too outrageous, but it was the one thing that just kept sounding good to me. Amazing that I didn't choose ice cream, or a cinnamon roll, or some sort of crazy fried food or candy!!
One of the best things about vacation? Running! Not only that, but I got NEW SHOES! So excited. I haven't bought new shoes in quite a long time (Okay, years. I was wearing Saucony Omni 7's. The new shoes? Omni 12's. Right. New shoes sooner this time.) Here's a gratuitous shot of my new kicks:

Pretty, aren't they? Ignore the pale legs. :)  I ran once in my old shoes, then bought these babies and ran three more mornings! I ran four mornings and walked one morning with mom, for a total of 14+ miles in the last 5 days. We also did a LOT of walking around the fair, which was slow, but still moving (and often carrying an extra 30 lbs of Adi...).
I don't have weight change info yet, but I'll weigh in on Wednesday morning. I feel pretty good about it, even if it's just maintenance.  I am pretty proud of my control over what I'm eating. I've felt the urge to snack, but have mostly resisted, or have chosen healthy foods.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Over the river and through the woods...

To Grandmother's house we go! We're off for a family vacation this week, to the Grange Fair and home to visit family, and I am anticipating the challenges that will arise. (Well, technically, we're already here, but we JUST got here, Adi is down for the night, and Jared ran to the store to stock up on some things).

This is a whole new kind of challenge for me. Luckily, I have a few things on my side.

First, we're staying with my in-laws who are incredibly supportive (all of our family is), so there are no weird looks when I request "odd" things to eat. Or when I'm eating cauliflower and eggs for breakfast. :)

Second, is that I can control what I eat and when. We're not on a tight schedule, and for the most part, I have a good amount of control over what we eat. We will be visiting the Fair, and I do expect that some of the things I eat there will not be Whole30. Okay, so nothing there other than the possible fruit salad is going to be Whole30, I'm pretty sure. BUT, I am going armed with the knowledge (of food and myself) to make good decisions. I do not intend to blow the last 30+ days of healthy eating in one week. To keep myself on track, I weighed in this morning before we left and I will weigh in again when we get home. I will not accept a gain! Vacation is not a reason to gain weight back! Jared just ran to the store. On his shopping list? Seltzer water (a must for me), eggs, frozen veggies, sweet potatoes, fruit, and coconut milk for morning coffee.

Third, I have lots of opportunities to get in exercise. I am planning a run tomorrow, a walk with my mom on Friday, another run on Saturday and hopefully another run on Sunday or Monday (if not both!!! I'm giddy just at the thought!). There will also be lots of walking around the fair (it's HUGE).

I also did a lot better planning for the trip down and will do the same for the trip back. I packed  dinner for Adi and me; Jared got a sandwich along the way. This meant that I was wholly compliant on the way down and can be on the way home as well. Score one for the team.

I'm excited for time with family and friends away from work for a few days. It's time to recharge before the fall semester gets into full swing (I have a lot of traveling in the next few months)!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

What we eat. And the zoo.

Yesterday we took a trip to the zoo! Lots of fun, a good bit of walking and pushing the stroller, so between that and my morning run, I got in some good exercise yesterday. Speaking of running, I'm trying to figure out where I am on the C25K plan. I started running with the Galloway method of training, mostly because when I started running about a year ago, I started with an amazing group of women who run together every Saturday morning. The group has a variety of different types of runners - some who do 5Ks, some 10Ks, some do half marathons and a few of them have done whole marathons (!).  They use the Galloway method, so I started doing the same. I like the interval running and there's some recent evidence that it's better for women to run intervals than long chunks of cardio (in terms of fat burning capacity, aerobic conditioning, etc), but I really, really, REALLY want to be able to run the entire 5K. So I decided to pick up the C25K and see where I am, and in my 3 runs a week, try to do 2 of them as C25K and the other as a longer interval run. So yesterday morning I did week 5, day 1 (5 min jogging, 3 min walk, 5 min jog, 3 min walk, 5 min jog). It was easy. I should have known it was going to be easy. Honestly, I was scared of the next workout (8 min jog, 5 min walk, 8 min jog).  But I will do that one next...
Anyway, back to our trip to the zoo yesterday. I had a "crap, poor planning" moment and realized as we were leaving at lunch time, that we had done NO planning about lunch. Then, Adi fell asleep in the car while we were looking for a place to eat (the zoo is a bit in the ghetto of Providence, so we wanted to drive a little ways before we stopped). Jared wanted a DD sandwich (he tried gluten yesterday) but there was nothing for me there. But near the DD was a McDonald's. Now, I should have known better. I mean, who expects a salad to have veggies at McD's? But I got a southwestern salad with grilled chicken, no dressing. And what did it have on it? Corn chips. Corn. Beans. Cheese. A few tomatoes (thank goodness) and grilled chicken. And I think I found one carrot slice. So I ate the lettuce and the chicken (which did have some sort of sauce on it) and Adi picked at the rest of it (she woke up, so we went in). She also, to my chagrin, ate an entire kid's hamburger. The first time in her life she's ever eaten at McD's. Preferably one of the few times ever!! Moral of the story: Mama needs to plan MUCH better and will definitely keep this in mind for our 6 hour drive to PA!
Okay, enough rambling. Here's some other yummy stuff we've eaten in the past week or so:
Summer Squash Meatball Casserole was okay. We used pork for the meatballs and they were a little bland. Not crazy about this one, but it wasn't bad, either!

Pulled pork with BBQ Sauce from It Starts with Food, Plantain Mash, and microwave veggies. The pulled pork was awesome. The plantain mash was good but a bit thick. We'll have to play with these recipes!

This is what Tuesday night's dinner looked like on the grill - Jared's a pretty awesome grill master!
And on the plate. This our normal steak marinade, adapted for Whole 30 (so no honey). The mushrooms were marinated in this. Pineapple was grilled plain (normally we'd top it with honey and lime juice).

Breakfast this past week has been roasted butternut squash with a bit of ghee and fried eggs. I love winter squash. I'm so glad fall is coming - lots of big winter squash growing in my garden and it will be back in season in the store and farmer's market's soon, too!
Apple-bacon pork burger (without the bacon for me, Jared had his with), sweet potato fries with cinnamon, and some apple slices for dinner. This is one of my FAVORITE dinners. :)
nom. nom. nom.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

I can't

Clara wrote this on Facebook yesterday and it got me thinking.

Two months ago, I was saying "I can't."  No way I could give up bread. Or milk. Or pasta. Or cheese. What would I eat?!? Then I had a really frustrating eating weekend and realized that when I was saying "I can't" what I was really saying was "I won't. I don't want to." And suddenly this Whole30 thing became possible. Not easy, but possible. I mean, it's only 30 days, right? I can do anything for 30 days. And if I kept telling myself that "I can't", do you know what's going to happen? I won't! 

Spas a reminder to myself, the next time I say I can't do something.  Is it really that I can't (can't keep doing this? Can't fit exercise in? Can't do something else?) or is it that I don't want to, or I won't? Two totally different statements, my friends! So if we talk about this, don't tell me you can't. Because I will probably tell you that "no, you can, you just aren't willing to." And I'm sorry (in advance) if that upsets you, but that's the truth. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Whole30 Recap

We did it! Thirty days with no sugar, no dairy, no grains and no legumes. Whew! So here's the recap - what went well, what could have gone better, results, all that good stuff.

The biggest benefit I've seen from this past month is getting control over what is going into my mouth.  Seriously.  There would be days (or weekends. or weeks) in the past where I would eat with very little ability (or desire?) to control what I wanted. I now have power over what I eat - it's a conscious decision. I have very few cravings for things any more - no cravings for sugary foods, no cravings for dairy/cheese, or chocolate. Now, this is not to say that I don't look at a donut or a chocolate bar and think "That looks delicious." No lie, I do. But I can appreciate how it will possibly make me feel (we'll get to my plans for re-introduction later) and can also appreciate that I'm not hungry, therefore, I don't need to eat it.

Other good things: my skin is clearer, I'm sleeping well (when Adi allows it!), and I do feel much better about my eating in general.

So what could have gone better? Well, I never got the "boundless energy" or "tiger blood" feelings described by so many.  But I think that's okay and maybe that will come.  I was frustrated by this at first, but then I remembered: n = 1. My experiment is different. And if all I gain from this experiment is that I have control again, that's okay.

My weight loss wasn't spectacular. There are so many stories of people losing 10-15 lbs that I was anticipating large changes. Again, this is something that I was frustrated about until I really thought about it. I have about 10 lb to lose, total, to reach my goal weight. It is ridiculous to think that these changes, without exercise, would be enough to lose that amount of weight, especially as close as I am to my goal. And likely, the people who are losing more weight over their Whole30 have more to lose. So in reality, my loss was about 30% of the weight I have left to loose. That's not bad!

Before (Day 1): Sad face because Jared says in the before pictures people always look sad, LOL. Ignore the Pack 'N' Play cover on the floor. I clean my bedroom, honestly, I do.

Day 31. Smiley because we're "done" (well, kinda). Ignore the fact that the Pack 'N' Play cover is still on my floor, now joined by a scarf that Adi pulled off the hook... :)
The official results for me: down 3.6lb, and lost a total of 3.5 inches from my waist and hips. Yay! Jared rocked as well. He didn't do measurements or pictures (shame on him) but he lost 15 lb!! I am SO incredibly proud of him for making this change and sticking with it the whole month with me.
So what's the plan going forward? Well, we're going back to my n = 1 experiment. I'm going to continue on with the Whole30 for a few more weeks. We're taking a trip to PA in a few weeks next week (!) and I may want to enjoy some off program foods. But I will likely continue this for another 15-30 days. The difference is that for my "next 30" I am going to focus on exercise. As I said in my last post, running makes a huge difference in my energy levels and mood. So I have come up with a plan to run a bit more each week, which will work until the days start to get shorter (then, I'll have to come up with a new plan!).  I started yesterday with the "new running plan", which is essentially picking Adi up from daycare and running with her in the stroller. Let me tell you, pushing 30+ lb of stroller and baby is TOUGH. It was a great workout, though, and she really enjoyed it. Now to find a better place to run (or a better jogging stroller!).

So what are my new goals?
  •  Run 3x/week
  • Continue with the Whole30 program
  • Continue to do fun, ACTIVE things with Adi and Jared on the weekends
  • Pay attention to my satiety signals. I'm still not great with this because I feel like "if I don't eat all of this now, I'm going to be hungry before my next meal and need to snack." What I need to be thinking is "I'm full. If I get hungry before my next meal, I'll have a glass of water, and then a healthy snack if I'm still hungry."

So, work in progress, right?

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Almost finished...

It's day 28 of 30. Two more days after today, and Jared and I will have successfully completed our Whole30. Sounds crazy, doesn't it? I'll be back later this week with a recap (successes, challenges, pros and cons, etc) so today is just a quick "what we eat" post, since I know a lot of you reading this (well, all three of you, LOL!) might be interested in the recipes.
Although I did re-discover something this morning. I am a much happier person when I run. I know that sounds silly, but I really miss it (subconsciously) when I don't run and I'm just not as happy.  The last few days have been tough. Adi was sick on Friday and still wasn't feeling great yesterday. That meant lots of changed plans. On Friday, Emma came to help me with Adi in the morning, so I could get a little bit of work done. It was SUPER helpful, and I was actually pretty productive working in the office while Adi and Emma snuggled and read books on the couch in the living room. (PS - we have the greatest summer nanny. She's fabulous. Adi loves her, and thus, so do we.) Friday afternoon was spent snuggling my feverish baby and taking her to the doctor (virus, presumably). Saturday was a day of constantly changing plans. I wanted to run, but wasn't able to, although Jared, Adi and I did go for a short walk around Horsebarn Hill to see the animals at UConn. I was pretty cranky yesterday (sorry, Jared!) and did not deal well with the feeling that EVERYTHING was changing every time I thought I had something figured out. At least dinner (which I made) wasn't a complete bust. But this morning, even though Adi woke up at an ungodly 5:15am, I went for a run (thank you, Jared, for dealing with this morning's melt down so mama didn't melt down, too). And what I discovered (remembered?) is that when I run, I deal with things better. I'm calmer, I'm happier, I feel better about life in general. I can deal with Adi when she doesn't nap. I can calm her down when she's upset, or frustrated. But when I don't run, I get frustrated. I get angry. And then we're both in for epic meltdowns.
So the moral of this really long story is that mama needs to run. So I'm going to make a serious effort in the next two weeks (before vacation to PA!) to do more of it. How, you ask? Well, I do have a treadmill. But I have serious motivation issues running on a treadmill when it is just this beautiful outside. So my plan is a few times a week, to come home and change into my running clothes, and take Adi down to a park where there's a flat, paved trail. I'm pretty sure I can push her stroller while I run (eek!). I'll get a good workout, she'll get some additional outside time, and we both win. 
I'm also signing up for another 5K. I'm thinking about the Coventry Harvest 5K, which is being organized by some friends.  I usually run intervals, but want to be able to run the whole thing, so I may pick up somewhere around week 4 of Couch to 5K and work on that as well.  
Okay, so on to some new recipes and remixes of left overs!
Today's lunch: left over veggies from the veggie mix I made earlier, over riced cauliflower (I used Emeril's Essence, not the seasoning mix she mentions), with cantaloupe (I'm realizing that I really do like melon - Adi does, too, she ate nearly half of the melon I cut for myself!) and an egg, because I didn't have any other protein with this.
Jared and I made Baked Eggs in Portobello Mushroom Caps for breakfast yesterday. The prosciutto was amazing and baked, was similar to bacon (Jared really misses bacon!).  I've never had eggs baked like this before. It was yummy, but the texture was a little different. Not bad, just different.

Crockpot Brazilian Curry Chicken over Riced Cauliflower. This was okay. Chicken was a little dry, but I'm pretty sure it's because I over cooked it. I'm realizing I'm not a huge fan of curry. It's okay, but not my favorite.

Moroccan meatballs again! Side was cumin roasted carrots that I cheated and steamed in the microwave rather than roasting.

And this is my fruit eater, picking strawberries from our garden. That's mint behind her, and the winter squash in front of her that's overtaking our garden (I'm SO excited!!). We planted a few more lettuce plants today so hopefully we'll have some fall lettuce in a few weeks. I also planted some cilantro, parsley, and oregano seeds indoors to grow our own little herb garden. Seems silly to buy so much of those things that we use on a regular basis!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Day 24 - What we eat

Just some yummy food pictures for you today. Not much new to report. We did survive a birthday party for one of Adi's friends on Saturday, with not too much stress! We had salad topped with salsa (compliant, I checked the label when no one was looking!) and fruit salad. And since Adi was getting cranky, we took the easy way and left before cake. We were both a bit hungry when we got home, so had some protein.  We've got another birthday party for another of Adi's friends this coming weekend, so hopefully that will go just as well!

Anyways, here are some of the yummy things we ate this week:
This is a veggie mix that I made tonight. It made a LOT of veggies, so there will be lots of leftovers for breakfasts and lunches. It was just sauteed onions and garlic, with zucchini, carrots and tomatoes. Nothing fancy!
Dinner tonight was left over chicken (from a meal I don't have a picture of, but it's Slow Cooker Roast Chicken and Gravy, and the gravy is AMAZING), summer veggies from above, and grilled pineapple (literally just pineapple cut and put on the grill).
Lunch was left over Chocolate Chili and a salad.
Breakfast lately has been Sweet Potato and Apple Breakfast Patties and eggs. I'm actually kinda meh on these patties. Something about the spice mixture in our sausage and the spices in the patty just doesn't blend well. But we have them, so I'm eating them! (And I realize from this picture, that if I'm going to keep doing food photography, I either need to get new dinnerware, or need to pick ones that don't have the edges all chipped up!)

Lunch today was more leftovers: Herb Marinated Roasted Pork Tenderloin, Sweet Potato soup (this just makes me think Thanksgiving. It's amazing. It smells like Thanksgiving, tastes like Thanksgiving, and just makes me all warm and fuzzy inside. Best part is, that if you're too lazy to use the microwave, you can eat it cold. It is every bit as good cold as it is warmed up! Also good for warm days!), and blueberries.
We just finished another batch of Moroccan Meatballs for tomorrow night, and have steak and another curry on the menu for Friday and Saturday. Can't wait!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Three weeks in

This week has brought it's own challenges. Staying compliant has become easier, because while there have been temptations like this in the lunch room at work:
I love marshmallows. Seriously. But I walked by them. That has been fairly easy. And today we went to a birthday party for one of Adi's friends. The main dishes for lunch: pizza and veggie lasagna.  But we both had lots of salad, topped with salsa and some fruit salad. Not terrible. We were hungry when we left (we excused ourselves before the cake, both because neither of us wanted that temptation, but also because it was getting very close to Adi's nap time and we didn't want to have a melt down at the party). But when we got home, we each had some protein (a compliant hot dog, no less!) and felt better.
What has been difficult for me has been not feeling that much more changed. I'm not sure exactly what I expected, but based on the "timeline" and changes described by others, I really expected to feel MUCH better and MUCH different. Don't get me wrong, I do feel good. I am not bloated. I don't get hungry every two hours. My skin is clear (!). I'm not craving caffeine or sugar (although I do occasionally look at something longingly). But I don't have limitless energy. I'm still tired and I don't have that tiger blood feeling.  So, like I said in my last post, I'm choosing to focus on the positive and, as we are entering the last official week of our Whole30, thinking about what comes next.
Jared and I have had several conversations about where we go from here. Honestly, I'm considering continuing my Whole30 for a few more weeks, for a few reasons. First, I want to add in more exercise. My schedule has been so hectic this month that I haven't gotten in the time I want for my running and I've done very little else. I want to see if the combination of exercise and dietary changes help my energy level. The other issue that I'd like to address more fully is my thyroid. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism after Adi was born and know that certain foods are suspected to play a role in how thyroid hormones are metabolized in the body. I would like to continue the program for a few more weeks, and have my levels tested again to make sure everything is okay, since the dietary changes have been pretty drastic.
As far as what we will do as a family, the plan right now is to reintroduce things as described in the book (It Starts with Food). Then, we'll keep our dinners compliant, with a few exceptions of meals that we really like. Those meals (no pasta dishes, but some things like ham and bean soup, chicken piccata, etc.) we will work to make compliant, or more so than they are currently. And when we're out at a friend's house, as long as we're not on a Whole30, we'll be okay with trying a little pasta, or rice dish, or salad dressing that might have some sugar. Or dessert, because it tastes wonderful. But at home, when we can fully control what is cooked, it'll be paleo, if not Whole30. This is a work in progress for us, but it feels good to have a plan going forward. It also means the world to me to have Jared and the rest of our family's support in this, not to mention the many friends who have been uber supportive (ahem, Clara). :)

 Anyways, here's what we/I've eaten this week. Feast your eyes on this yumminess:
Breakfast Saturday morning, before my riding lesson: two fried eggs, a tomato and an avocado. And I stole some of Adi's strawberries. :)
This was a yummy Apple Dijon burger topped with a fried egg, served with tomato. I added some mayo to my tomato after I took the photo. And strawberries. :) I love strawberries.
Zucchini boats! These were okay; Jared thought they needed more meat, less veggies (or a different veggie:meat ratio. Eating the "boat" made it a lot of veggies, but I liked them).
Lunch (can't remember which day): chicken, an egg, tomato, avocado, and a banana that was getting too ripe. Too ripe bananas are meh, but I ate it anyways.
Mustard Lime Chicken, steamed carrots with Italian seasoning and roasted asparagus with a bit of balsamic vinegar.
Lunch (again, no idea what day this was anymore): B.A.S. (big ass salad), steamed broccoli with ghee and a bit of salt.

Thursday, August 1, 2013


(from here)

The Naked Plate has a post up today on 7 Things Every Whole30er Should Know. Number 6 really resonated with me:

6. Comparison is not your friend. You know that old saying, “Comparison is the thief of joy”? It’s true. Whether you’re comparing before photos, weekly meal plans, end goals, or something more insidious like weight lost, measuring yourself against someone else is a recipe for dissatisfaction. Someone will always be the superstar, or make prettier meals, or have better results. The grass is always greener. It’s a fact. But no one is starting exactly where you are, no one shares the exact same challenges, and no one will have the same successes. This is your story, and yours alone. Don’t let someone else’s story cast a shadow on yours.

This is what I need to remember. Comparison is the thief of joy. And this is MY story. Mine alone. I started in a different place than everyone else. I have different medical issues than others, a different metabolism, a different body. My journey will be different than anyone else. And my results will be different. And that's okay. Because this is my science experiment. My n=1. And I have the power to make it fabulous. And make it mine.