Whole30 - Let's Do This

I’m finally jumping on the Whole30 bandwagon after so many years of thinking it would be too difficult given my lifestyle and high activity levels. A few things have made me change my mind however, and I’m starting on this day 1 with a more healthy mindset than I would have a few years ago.

  • This is an elimination diet, not a lifestyle. I’m doing it to see if I have sensitivities that I’m not aware of because they’re subtle. For example, my skin is itchy more often than not…is that Colorado dryness or something else?

  • I need to push reset on alcohol. My consumption is moderate-heavy (about 10/week) and every time I’ve tried to reduce, I’ve failed after a couple weeks. I know I use alcohol to cope with stress and while I’m not an alcoholic, it’s time to find healthier ways to cope.

  • I want to be aware of my emotional eating triggers. Like alcohol, I know there’s certain stressors that tend to derail my best laid plans.

  • I want to learn how to eat more whole foods for breakfast and lunch. I do really well at dinner, mostly cooking in a paleo-style but completely fall flat the rest of the day.

  • And, of course, there’s the weight thing. I’m tied for my all time high weight at the moment and would like to get rid of some of that. The re-entry is where it’s going to be difficult so I’m going to look into nutrition coaching at Bite Nutrition to help post Whole30. I love the free resources they have and have learned a lot, but I think I’ll need some one-on-one.

  • I’m finally in a space with therapy where I’ve felt a big shift from digging up all my trauma and processing it to working on finding me. Sounds pretty "OMG I’m so needing to find myself” (said in a valley-girl accent), but yeah, it’s true. I now have the mental energy to focus on planning/prepping food.

I intend to update weekly here and have an accountability post going over on the Bite Nutrition FB group if you a) wanna see what my real name is and b) are interested in checking them out!

Here we go!

So far on day 1, I noticed after reading some other accounts that eating enough food can be tough so I’ll be using MFP to track calories making sure I’m hitting 1800 a day on average. The plan for me is to have 3 500-cal meals with a 300-cal snack (or split up around intense workouts).

p.s. I accidentally hit Publish on my last post and noticed that once I finished editing that the previous version is showing up in Feedly. So, if you use a reader for my posts, pretty please click through that one, cuz you didn’t get it all!

#MicroblogMondays: UGH, Meds

I've had it with Cele.xa after being on it for several years. (5?) I know it's helped level me out, but I've also made a lot of progress with therapy and life is generally even at the moment. 

Maybe here is where I should mention I'm starting somatic therapy perhaps with EMDR. Yep, I finally found a new therapist and had my first appointment last week. Maybe this isn't the time to come off the drug? Probably not, but I'm not sure it's working as well as it used to (anxiety is up), I've had to be on Prilosec for several years because it gives me major acid reflux and I'm sick of that. Lastly, if I'm being brutally honest. It's not helping my mental health to have 10 extra pounds on my frame that will NOT COME OFF. Besides, depression for me isn't major, it's more of a low level clinical thing that has to be managed, but there's got to be a better way than pharmaceuticals. 

Here goes an experiment: I started CBD oil over the weekend (reminds me of taking Chinese herb remedies that taste like dirt. ugh), and I'm going to take magnesium and fish oil regularly (so bad about consistency there). I'm taking 15mg of Celexa as of last week after first trying to cut it in half to 10mg, but that made me dizzy. At 15mg, so far, I'm having some brain fog and constant nausea. Awesome.

This should be a fun ride. 



#MicroblogMondays - Challenge

I'm not into resolutions, but challenges and goals tend to motivate me. For example, the goal to complete a 100-mile bike ride. That got me on my bike on days when I was tired or sore or just not feeling it. Generally, my goals will be activity related to keep me working out and in shape.

I didn't set goals for this year, and I may or may not do any big bike rides, choosing to wait until I have a chance to get on my bike in the spring. 

Challenges on the other hand...I need to challenge myself to do all kinds of things, and have started with the low-hanging fruit:

Only drink 2 days a week

Writing that down feels like I'm admitting I have a problem. I don't have a problem, other than spending a stupid amount of money at our friendly neighborhood liquor store, and my expanding waistline. 

Less Weight Loss, More Eating - Part 1

*I wrote this in January and it's been languishing in my drafts folder ever since.*

Back in September 2015 I finally had had enough frustration at the fact that I gained a few pounds, spent the summer busting my ass on a bicycle along with teaching Jazzercise 2x/week without losing any of the few pounds. In reaching out on this blog, I was pointed to Eat to Perform and I ended up joining. A couple months later, I was hooked and joined for Life. Here's the rub though. It's just as hard as Wei.ght Wat.chers, the only diet program I've ever tried. And I have to clarify, I've never been into any of the extreme diets. I didn't go Paleo, never did a Whole 30, laughed at the South Beach/Atkins/flavor of the month diets. Naturally, an anti-diet approach like Eat to Perform called to me.

When I got set up with my macros I was shocked at the amount of food I was supposed to eat. I guess I didn't share it with you all, exactly how it works, so I'll do that now:

  • Non Workout Days: 1625 calories, 125 grams of carbohydrate, 65 grams of fat, 135 grams of protein
  • Workout Days: 2025 calories, 225 grams of carbohydrate, 65 grams of fat, 135 grams of protein.

What was surprising to me was how hard it is to play macro tetris, and I still don't have it quite dialed in. Many people using this method enter all their food in My Fitness Pal the day before so that they can figure out what to eat to hit all the targets. I'm not exactly that organized and several times I've gotten to the end of the day and been way short on protein, but way over on fat or carb. I've actually hit calories, protein, carb targets and then been way over on fat. Mostly, I focus on hitting the calorie target (I'm still prone to overeat, especially on rest days) and my protein target (the hardest). I'm sorry to say that since starting in September, I have't had one week that was spot on and it's showing in the form of an additional 4 pound weight gain. I have trouble believing in the process when I'm not seeing the type of progress I'm used to seeing once I embark on a diet.

It's no less frustrating than any of the above mentioned diets, and that's been surprising. The other surprising thing - it's typical to GAIN weight until macros dialed in, the metabolism is healed and the body starts to function better, especially since I'm relatively lean to start. I've gained an additional 4 pounds since starting, and I'm sadly up a size in my clothes.

What an endorsement, huh?

On the other hand, since I've started dedicating 1-2 workouts a week to lifting along with 3x/week teaching Jazzercise and using heavier weights (9-lb) when I teach, I've also seen a gain in lean muscle mass. Muscle gains show in my shoulders first, and my shoulders are currently my best asset. My belly however....not so awesome. I know that belly fat is the last to go, especially for people like me who tend to hold weight there. It's frustrating and it's slow. But that's the thing about Eat to Perform. It isn't a fast weight loss program that will leave me rebounding at the end of it. It's supposed to be slow and it never said it was easy, just that we can eat all the foods and be ok. And that's true, but when I have to think about eating 1625 calories, 125g of carb, 135g of protein, and 65g of fat on a rest day, it's a maddening game of tetris. Eventually, I'll be able to eat intuitively, and that's even starting to happen now. I know that I have to have a good amount of protein at every meal to be able to hit that target. Protein is the most difficult target for me to (that palm size serving of chicken doesn't cut it, I need 2 palm sizes)

 But I know that overall I feel better eating more food and I kicked a cold in a couple days. Last year, when I got a cold in the fall, it hung around for weeks.

Lows and Highs

I'm back!

Well, back for now, I would like to think I'll blog once a week or so from here on out, but let's get real. Life gets in the way of my blogging.

You know what I think happened? I think I've been depressed for months. I think the stress of the job change, the estrangement, weighty issues, and parenting all combined together to send me into a deep dark funk. Cele.xa at 10mg (half dose) just barely kept my sh*t together enough to function. Therapy has been ongoing and hard. Really hard. I read Brene Brown's Daring Greatly, and instead of being empowering, it helped send me into the downward spiral. But hey, self help books usually have that effect on me, it's why I hardly ever read them. It's too easy to go down the mental path: I'm not good enough, why can't I be vulnerable, why are those people able to do it and I can't, and ending with f*ck the author, this is me dammit, why can't I just be me? Why can't people accept me?

Clearly, I have not gotten to the point in therapy where I recognize that the me I show to the outside world really is NOT me. The only person who sees all of me is my husband.

I suck at vulnerable.

I'm trying to be better.

It made me depressed to try to be better.

Not really sure how I'm going to navigate this.

In the couple months I've been gone, I've been struggling mightily with weight. I grew up with a mother who constantly struggled with weight, and extended family who also struggled with weight. I grew up terrified that I would one day end up obese and yo-yo dieting like everyone else in my family. I also grew up on stage, as a ballet dancer where the skinnier you are, the better. It's not shocking that I have body image issues tied to ideas of self-worth. Up until a couple of years ago, I've been able to keep it in check, and I've been able to easily maintain a weight that, while it wasn't my ultimate goal, was enough to make me feel good about myself. Almost 10 pounds in 2 years has been gained. That 10 pounds isn't coming off easily. I've struggled using the Eat to Perform Wave Method, and have been frustrated with my lack of progress. But here I am, finally seeing a miniscule bit of progress, losing a little over a pound in the past few weeks by being hyperaware of everything I put in my mouth. By tracking all my calories, protein, carbs and fat. It sounds horrific, doesn't it? It's not easy, and it's been sucking up all my brainpower to get this piece figured out. To figure out what it's going to take to get back into the clothes hanging in my closet that no longer fit, and while I know that magical number on the scale may not ever get as low as I would like, I'm hoping I can build muscle and lose fat in order to have a better aesthetic.

I've also struggled with injury and sickness. Not sure if you all know this, but Influenza A sucks donkey-balls. That sh*t took me out completely for a solid week, and then another 3 weeks before I felt energetic again. And that was with Tami.flu. I had been going to my Ac.tive Rel.ease (ART) chiropractor every week for months trying to keep my body from falling apart. If it wasn't the knee, it was a shoulder, or my back, or my calf, or everything all at once. When a guy who works on the professional sports teams, Ironmen/Ironwomen, and does triathlons himself tells me that my body is telling me to take a f*cking break....I ignore him. Yeah, seriously, I ignored him for a while, blowing him off thinking that I don't do that much, that can't possibly be the reason why all this sh*t is coming down the pike. It was the flu that finally pushed me over the edge.  I finally started taking steps to slow down a little bit. I dropped one of the Jazz.ercise classes I teach, going down to 2x a week. Through trial and error (on-going by the way), I've discovered that I need at least 2 rest days a week, and I can't work out the night before I teach a 6am class. I used to be able to pull that off, but I don't recover from workouts the way I used to. 

This is the first week since I took my blogging break that I have felt good.  Well, half of this week anyway.  A few days I ago I told S that I'm definitely in a depression. I tried to describe the black cloud that hangs over me coloring all my perceptions, making me slightly paranoid and making my temper shorter than ever. He didn't get it. So, I guess he's never been depressed. All he saw was that for a long time now I've been especially cranky.

Mid-week, when I had 2 rest days in a row then got up and taught my 6am class with energy and a clear head, I suddenly felt better.  Maybe it's figuring out the workout schedule so that I'm not exhausted anymore, or maybe it's figuring out how to eat so that I get the nutrients I need, and see progress on the scale. Not many of the other things are getting better: therapy is still f*cking hard and I'm quite happy I can't go for another month due to my schedule. I'm still estranged emotionally although there's been limited contact so the kids can see the grandparents.

I hope this isn't a high that turns into a low in two weeks. If that happens, I might have a bigger problem on my hands.



Bullet Points

Now that I have myself completely worked up over the direction of my career and trying to drop the pounds I've put on over the last year, certain things have fallen by the wayside. I feel bad for not posting this week, so here I go, spewing bullet-point style and in no particular order.

  • My temporary job is going pretty well, and I had a major freak-out over what to do at the end of it. S finally stared at me exasperated, "Do what you want to do right now!" Hey good advice that is totally lost on me!  I think I will have to go back to my old job for a while, then apply for this one, but I haven't broached that subject to my temporary supervisors. Since the job I'm in right now isn't a promotion, they may be able to lateral me over without having to go through the application process. I'm ready for a career change, and even though the job is program management, not engineering, I have a really strong technical background that will be an asset. Plus, if I want to go back to engineering and become a manager in my old group then having this experience is a plus. So..I think I've decided. It's hard to leave project work behind though. One of my current projects is an interesting and complicated problem that I like in theory. Its the execution of the complicated-part where I always feel like I don't do well. But, maybe that's a universal feeling among engineers?
  • X started swim lessons on Monday. The Y we go to for lessons was under remodel last year and it was a total nightmare. Thankfully, they have the new pool finished, and there are no sets of stairs to navigate! Plus they have family changing rooms that have a shower and sink and lots of space in them. It's pure heaven compared to last winter's debacle of stairs upon stairs to get to the locker rooms, then back up to the pool.
  • Speaking of walking, Baby Z started walking right around his birthday and now he's picking up speed. Just the other day, he blazed by me and tumbled down 4 steps to the landing. *sigh* Good thing babies are made of rubber as it only scared him, and he hasn't gone near the stairs since. I give it another couple days before he forgets and goes for it again.
  • We are late getting our letters and pictures to the agency and Baby Z's 1stmom inquired about where they are. While I'm embarrassed that we are a month late with the 1-year letter, I'm encouraged that she is inquiring about it. At least we know she's reading them and we aren't just sending them into a black hole of nothingness, which is what it feels like a lot of the time. Especially since she has yet to give us a picture of her despite repeated requests! That really bothers me.
  • I'm on my third week of Eat to Perform, and have been working on getting the right amounts of protein, carb, and fat. Much of this program is centered on fueling the body with the right proportion of macro nutrients so that your metabolism functions efficiently. It's so different than anything I've ever done that it's been way more challenging than I realized.
  • Along with the ETP, I picked up another Jazz.ercise class and am now teaching on Wednesdays at 6am. oof. This week was my first week and unfortunately, my Thursday afternoon class suffered because of it. I was so tired on Thursday and my muscles were fatigued just enough that I had a major bonk in the middle of class despite eating prior to working out. It'll take a little while to get it regulated I think, but having Wednesday morning then Thursday afternoon should be enough recovery time, if I fuel correctly in-between!
  • I bought a Polar Loop and chest strap to keep track of daily activity and calorie burn during workouts and I must say, I love it! I really wish that FitBit had figured out the HR issue, but the Charge HR isn't accurate and that would drive me bananas. If I'm recording a training session, I need accuracy, therefore the annoyance of the chest strap must continue.
  • I rode my bike over the weekend. That was the second time I've gotten on the bike since August 29th. heh. 
  • One of these days, I'll write my century ride post. I swear.

How Many Calories Do I Need?

In my last post on weight issues, I was pointed in a few directions. I decided to pursue two of them after some research. Because I hate being restricted, I looked into Eat to Perform and the Go Kaleo Blog. I also checked out the Willpower Instinct from the library, and have slowly been making my way through it. At the moment, I'm taking an observant approach to how my willpower ebbs and flows. One of the most interesting points in the book is that willpower is akin to a muscle. It takes developing, and becomes depleted when we successfully use it, thus why we can easily use it one time, then just as easily cave in the very next decision. I might have to buy the book, because I can tell it's one of those that I might need to keep around for reference. I have a feeling it's a slow process!

 Both Eat to Perform and Go Kaleo  pointed me in the direction of calculating how many calories I really need to eat. I used this one to figure out what my basal metabolic rate is.  Here is what it comes up with on a typical exercise day in which all I do is teach Jazzercise for 1 hour, sit on my ass at work for 8 hours, then chase kids around in the evening.

Well, now that's a far cry from the measly 1200+workout calories MFP tells me to eat!  

In addition to figuring out my calories, I also need some kind of motivator, so I joined Eat to Perform after perusing the blog for a few weeks. On their forums, they offer to do a Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) calculation as well as daily macro targets (carbs, protein, fat). Mine turned out to be a bit different than the health-calc calculator based on how I answered the survey questions.  I'm finding that I'm a major carb-monster, eat only about 1/2 the protein I need on a daily basis, and like to go over fat quite often. *sigh* I've gained 2 pounds (not unheard of when starting) and I'm pretty frustrated with figuring out how to eat more protein. I realize it may take a while to get dialed into shifting eating habits, not to mention I haven't been working out as hard the last 3 weeks due to lots of traveling for work. 

So, there I am, a little ol' Jazzercise instructor and newbie cyclist hanging out in the ETP forums with all the Cross-Fitters and Olympic Lifters. ha. I need to try to add in weight training, but at this point, we don't have the money for me to start at a gym, so I'm going up in weight at Jazzercise from 8lb to 9lb hand weights, which is quite a challenge. I'm also adding one more class a week to teach, and will try to get to a Strength45 class on Saturdays as much as I can throughout the winter. 

Hopefully, I get to share progress soon, because freaking hormones be damned, I'm gonna' fit into my clothes!