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Friday, September 06, 2013

Hi friends (if anyone is still paying attention!)

Sorry I've been away from Spark for awhile. I've actually been living pretty healthy. My eating has been probably 75% healthy, with some candy/ice cream/beer excesses that have kept me from LOSING any weight, but I've managed not to gain more than 5 lbs since the spring when I was getting in good shape again. I did a half marathon in April, which was a lot of fun. I'd say that I ran 2/3 of it, which after having only trained for 8 weeks was pretty good! I signed up for another at the end of October, but have had knee pain this summer, so have transitioned to almost all walking as that doesn't hurt the knee. Still going to do the half, but it may be slower.

Started honing in on eating again at the start of August, and saw a quick drop of about 5-7lbs in two weeks, which was fun (gotta love losing that bloat/water weight in the beginning!) Then I went on vacation to the beach for two weeks. We live a pretty active lifestyle at the beach (lots of beach walking, some running, some kayaking, a few 15-20 mile bike rides) and my daytime eating was pretty good, but I definitely enjoyed myself too, and had a beer almost every day, and ice cream many days. Plus some amazing BBQ, but hey -- it's North Carolina. That's a given.

Since getting back from vacation a week ago, I've hit it hard. Tracking everything, really eating very well (aiming for a 50-100 carb range daily, and very very limited processed foods, so I'm getting lots of veggies, protein, and healthy fats.) I'm also ramping up the walking efforts to get my legs ready for the half. I'm aiming to walk for at least an hour most weeknights, and 2 on the weekends (with rest days as needed, of course.) I'm also doing squats and pushups on alternating days to start getting some strength back. The squats with no weight don't bother my knee, which is great. They'll probably actually HELP the knee by strengthening the surrounding muscles.

So that's the plan and the current status. I've lost back the 2-3 lbs I gained at the beach already, and am feeling steady and good. My fiance is in really awesome shape now and eats really well 90% of the time, so it's easy to eat well at home provided that we both keep encouraging each other. I think he's really happy to see me back on the healthy path, so I think he'll be very supportive.

That's it for now. I'll try to blog every couple of weeks to keep myself focused and keep my chickens updated!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MONICA_W 9/8/2013 10:47PM

    Hi hi!!! Sorry I didn't reply right away but I read this straight away (on my phone in transit) and have hardly had a chance to reply til now. I'm so glad to hear you're going strong! It's good to catch up, too... I'm sorry to hear about your injury but I'm super impressed about your dedication to walking! Keep me posted how that's going. And I'm with you - I'm sure the squats and whatnot will strengthen that knee. I went to see the physiotherapist a few days ago and have a new homework list... so if I do my homework 3 days a week, will you do yours? Feel free to bug me when you do your squats... I'm off to do my shoulder work as soon as I hit "post" here. Way to go on knocking that vacation weight back off and kudos to Brian for his support!

Keep it up, chica. You're doing great, and I'm so pleased to see you back!! emoticon

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SAMILIA 9/6/2013 1:33PM

    Awesome! So glad that you've been doing well, even while away from Spark! One of the reasons I've been doing so well is because my husband is also on board. He has lost almost 40 pounds! (Compared to my 18....*sigh*) So glad your fiance is encouraging and motivating you to eat well at home. :)

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Update, and continuing the primal/paleo lifestyle

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Ok, so my paleo challenge has been over for almost 3 weeks, but I'm still going strong. I added dairy back into my diet with no ill effects, but that's the only change I've made, or expect to make. Here's what I eat:

meat: beef, chicken, pork of all stripes (including bacon), fish, and occasional other options like lamb, bison, etc. depending on recipes and sales. We are only buying organic stuff now, and grass fed beef if at all possible, or local from the farmer's market.

eggs: I've had to limit myself to 1 egg at a time and 2/day today or I get a bit of a stomach ache. This is apparently the second most reported food sensitivity! I've cut back on eggs before and been able to eat more after a couple of weeks of low consumption, I assume this will be the same. Again, only organic and local eggs and free-range where possible.

veggies: TONS. But the most frequent of late: broccoli, spinach, brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, carrots, salad greens. Sweet potatoes on occasion. Celery and tomatoes (I know, a fruit), onions, bell peppers, cauliflower.

fruit: still sparingly, as I'm trying to lose weight. Or at least, I go first to veggies. Apples are a frequent on the go snack (probably 2/week.) I eat a lot of frozen blueberries -- a half cup of that with some organic heavy cream is my go-to dessert. An occasional orange. I would eat grapefruit if I could find any from texas!

fats: bacon fat, grass-fed butter, coconut oil, olive oil. That's about it. Oh, and I switched to liquid fish oil (Carlson brand lemon flavored.) It's awesome, and about 10x as concentrated as capsules.

Nuts: no peanuts -- if I eat nuts, it'll be almonds, walnuts usually, though others are good, too of course. Some plain almond butter.

Dairy: half and half in coffee. Heavy cream as a treat. Occasional plain, full fat yogurt or greek yogurt (maybe 2/week.) Occasional full fat cottage cheese. Occasional cheese (a bit of cheddar in an omelet, a couple of slices of high quality stuff as a snack, some parmesan on top of veggies.) Occasional sour cream. Again: all organic, and as local as possible (the heavy cream is from a nearby farm.)

Other: dark chocolate! Very occasional wine. Tons of water and seltzer, coffee every day, tea when I want it. Raw honey or maple syrup in small quantities for sweetener -- mostly for homemade salad dressings. Never for drinks, but I've never been a sweetener in drinks kind of person. Coconut -- milk, cream, flakes (non-sweetened), oil. Olives!

I can't think of anything else... But you get the gist. What's not in there is anything processed, or any grains. Veggies are the star of the show, and healthy fats (yes, butter!) are in every meal, which keeps me full and running on my own body fat instead of blood sugar.

I just read Mark Sisson's "The Primal Blueprint." I'd gotten most of the information in dribs and drabs from his website (marksdailyapple.com), but it was nice to get it in one place. I agree with pretty much everything he suggests, and love his attitude of balance and overall low-stress approach. Highly suggested.

It turns out my "bruised foot" was actually tendinitis! I took 3 weeks off from working out, did lots of exercises, and iced every day. I've been running again for the past 2 weeks with no pain, and went back to crossfit yesterday. My "runs" are really walk/run intervals. Up to 6 miles this past weekend, and feeling good! My goal for the 1/2 marathon on April 28 is to run half, walk half.

I'm also trying to do at least a couple of sun salutations every morning when I get up. It's a nice way to start the day, and my downward dog is terrible -- I know I need to work on flexibility, particularly in my hamstrings and hips.

Last but not least, I've started walking the stairs to work -- I'm on the 9th floor of an office building, which has double stairs for each level, so it's about 18 flights. I've never done this before because the stairs are literally hidden. I had to go DOWN the stairs to find out where they came out on the ground floor. I think they're really only intended as intra-floor use and/or fire escapes, but whatever. No alarms, so I'm doing it!

That's the update. My weight continues to drop. I'm down 13 lbs since my start weight on January 21. I'm thrilled with that. More importantly, I know that I can stick with this way of eating forever. I just don't want bread and sugar the way I used to, and have no interest in being sucked into that craving cycle again. I'm sure I'll have the occasional treat, but I'm going to make them really high quality, and enjoy them and then move on.

That's the update!
I cleaned our fridge and cleaned out our cabinets this weekend to get rid of all the expired and crappy stuff we don't eat anymore (Brian is almost entirely on the same diet as me now -- he eats sprouted wheat bread, hummus, and milk, which I don't right now, but that's about the only difference. Anyway, I really cleaned the fridge. And when I put our food back, it looked so pretty! It's lovely to open the fridge and see. real. food. Here's a pic:

Btw, the pot has paleo chili in it (onion, bacon, grass fed beef, peppers, tomatoes, and spices.)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SPECIALMG 3/20/2013 11:06AM

    Heh, good question, Mon. And funny that you should mention comfort food, because that is basically the answer to your question. I went off the rails when I started using food as comfort, and not as nutritious fuel. Not saying I can't enjoy food -- I LOVE food, and love real food more than junk, especially the longer I eat this way. I'll still have indulgences, but they need to be thought through and I need to continue to recalibrate what I use to comfort myself. Food is not the answer, unless the question is "are you hungry?"

Good to see the prairie dogs back in action! And Mon, that's a good idea for another post. I'll write about CF and maybe post some pictures if I can get them. :)

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MONICA_W 3/20/2013 12:50AM

    Sorry babe.... I made cheddar biscuits to go with my veggie-lentil soup for dinner. Max and I are both sick and we were craving comfort food... and MAN were they ever good. I love the idea of paleo/primal, but I just couldn't stick with it. I tried. It was interesting. But kind of unbalanced, for my needs and wants and lifestyle. I admire your dedication, and kudos to you for believing you'll stick with it! Were you able to figure out what threw you off when you un-paleo'd before? I'm always a firm believer in lessons learned and having defensive plans prepared for the future.

So pleased that the tendonitis is behaving itself and you're back to running!!! How is the cross fitting going now that you're back? I loved seeing some photos of you working out when you got tagged in your gym's post a while back. Super cool!

I haven't done anything with my coconut oil yet, but I will this weekend if I get a bit of time! I did browse your Pinterest paleo recipe page. Nummy!

Thanks for the blog update! It's been a while! And YAAAAAAAY 13 lbs!

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GAFFERCAT 3/19/2013 12:49PM

    Wow, you really sound organized and dedicated, good for you! How awesome that you've lost 13lbs since the start of the year, congrats! emoticon

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Paleo challenge 1/2 way over!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Wow. How did that happen so fast? We're three weeks into the challenge. Here's how it's going:

1. I've rediscovered my love of cooking and recipe hunting, after a real lack of enthusiasm most of January. It's great!

2. I've lost 5-6 pounds, 2 inches off my chest, 1 off my hips, and 1 off my waist. I have more options in clothing with just that, and my standard work pants fit right again.

3. I've had fun tracking paleo food on spark. I'd say I'm averaging about 50-75 carbs/day. The calories range from 1100-1600-- totally depends on my hunger level each day, which is liberating. It is SO amazing to eat according to actual hunger and be able to HEAR the signals my body sends me about what to eat. Without the blood sugar/insulin merry-go-round, I just don't have many cravings for crap, and I mostly just eat when I'm hungry. It's eye-opening.

4. I read "Wheat Belly", which was interesting, if a little sensationalized at times. I found myself not totally trusting what the author said because of his tone sometimes. Still, if half of what he writes is true, it's enough to stay away from wheat forever!! I'm now re-reading "Why We Get Fat" by Gary Taubes, both as inspiration, and because I think he gets the science right, so I want to really know it well.

5. I started running, and have been going to cross fit. And then I somehow bruised the bottom of my foot badly. And then we got 38" of snow in one night. It's been a zoo since then. But my food has remained great, and all the shoveling is a good substitute workout until I can get back to the gym. :)

Now, looking past the challenge: I'm going to stick with the food. I am thinking about getting a blood glucose meter (see Chris Kresser) to see how certain foods affect me (particularly interested in sprouted wheat bread, sweet potatoes and potatoes, and rice and oatmeal.) depending on my response, I can continue to really feed my body well without messing with this great steady blood sugar/no craving thing going.

April 28 is my half marathon so I need to get the miles going for that. I've got a lot on my plate in the spring socially and with work, so I'll be glad to be more healthy and svelte for it all!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GAFFERCAT 2/16/2013 4:10PM

    Sounds like you're on a good path right now!

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MONICA_W 2/13/2013 1:53AM

    WOW!!! You are doing SO WELL, Mar!

You're rocking it all around. I'm so impressed. Way to go!!!

Have you saved any paleo recipes? I will have to go check out your food tracker.

Hugs and keep it up, superstar!

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Paleo Challenge #2, and back in the gym

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

well, I'm very sorry to say that I'm in about the worst shape (weight-wise) I've ever been in. It's ugly. I have very little to wear, and refuse to buy more at this size. I'm embarrassed of myself.

How did I get here? I just read my last blog entry, which was at the end of July, right after I'd finished the paleo challenge at my gym. Well, I've gained 20 lbs since then. And lost muscle. It didn't happen that fast -- I was happily going to crossfit through about mid-October 3x a week, and not eating badly. Then my fiance went through some tough times and was away from home, and it became too cold to ride my scooter to work (and therefore, my ride to the gym disappeared), and I just... didn't try hard to maintain my progress. In fact, I did the opposite. I soothed myself with food and laziness. Not smart, I know. But at least I recognize that's my downfall. I need to do some work on how to break the habit of using food as comfort. Thoughts about that are for another blog.

For now, I'm back. Thanking goodness that my gym set up another paleo challenge. I really need some peer pressure to get my eating right. So I'm on day 2, and already happy to be doing something. I've now been to CF two weeks in a row (it has been awhile since I've been more than once every couple of weeks. eek.) I've lost a lot of strength and a lot of cardiovascular fitness, but am determined to get it back.

Also, I signed up for a half marathon with a friend! We're making a trip of it to DC, it's on April 28th. Pretty excited. Inaugural Nike women's half in DC. Which means I'll also be running from now. So between the CF 2-3x a week, running 2-3x a week, and paleo diet, I expect to be putting health front and center in my non-work life. The first couple of weeks should be hard, but I am hoping I spring back into shape soon.

I don't promise to blog every day, but I will be tracking every day. I have to keep a journal for the paleo challenge anyway, so why not do it on spark? I'm curious about the calories anyway.

So that's the scoop. I doubt many people will see this blog since it's been so long since my last, but I wanted to let my chickens know that I'm here and getting revved up!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MONICA_W 1/22/2013 2:39PM

    Hey, your chickens have been here all along! (Haha - okay, no, we just beat you back to the January punch, I think.) Glad to see you back, Mar.

I feel you on the worst-shape-in-ages thing. I'm one week into a beginner's learn to run program, have done one yoga class and one very minor strength training session since the fall... I'm up at my starting weight and although I've been tracking the last few days, it hasn't made my eating habits any better - I've eaten a cookie, two mini chocolate bars, and a mini cheesecake so far... this morning. (A sick day pity party, yeesh.) Fortunately that's just about the last of the sweets and treats in my house, so I'll be safe soon, haha!!

So cheers to fresh beginnings. I'm glad you've got the paleo challenge, because you know that will make a difference. I need to jump on some weights too! However, I would encourage you to also think about longevity, and finding a nice sustainable balance between CF, paleo, and "the rest" of your life - since perhaps it was a one-time slip, but likely maintaining a paleo challenge level of intensity forever isn't going to work. Would you have managed at a happy middle ground if family stuff hadn't come up? I hope all's well with you two.

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MYOWNHERO 1/22/2013 11:58AM

    Hey, it happens. I really like your new plan. It sounds a lot like my own journey. A few stumbling steps are not going to hold us back. RAWR!

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paleo challenge complete!

Monday, July 23, 2012

So I've finished with my 7 week paleo challenge (team challenge through my crossfit gym.) And I think my team may have won, although we still have to do the repeat of the filthy fifty workout, which counts for some points. That's Saturday, and I'm already nervous about it.

So: how did I do? I think I ate maybe 3 things in 7 weeks that I had to take points off for. Awesome! I lost about 10 lbs in 7 weeks (3-4 in the first week, then pretty steady after that, but slower. I need to do tape measurements again, as I know I've lost inches. And my coach will be doing a repeat of caliper measurements at some point in the next week, too. I'll report back, as I'm very interested to see where my body fat is now. I KNOW I've added muscle, so it's likely I lost more than 10lbs of fat. I'm still at a relatively heavy weight (172), but I am wearing clothes that I know I was wearing last year and the year before when I was in the low 160s. That's muscle.

So what now? Well, I'm still eating the same. I think knowing I CAN have things if I really want them is liberating. But at the same time, I don't really want them. I had a bite of potato salad from a store bought container yesterday, and ew. the potato itself was good, but it just tasted off. Then I checked the ingredients: the dressing was full of all sorts of soy based products and corn syrup. Gross. I think I will make a pan of "paleo" brownies this week, though. I had held off on doing that, because although they look healthier than a standard brownie, they still have chocolate chips. So not strictly paleo. Whatever, I'm tired of labeling things. I'm just going to keep eating whole foods and avoiding sugar and bread products. So there.

Also: I started running again this past week. I signed up for a 5K on Labor day (sept 3 in the us), and figured the 7 weeks until then gave me time to do the couch to 5k and then have a week to be comfortable at 3 miles. Well, I went out on Thursday and did the first of the C25K workouts (5 min warm up, alternate 60 sec jogging and 90 sec walking for 20 min, warm down.) And... it was a little too easy to be honest. I think in the past when I've done C25K to start my running habit up again (and that's worked several times), I had a very low level of overall fitness. This time around, I kind of forgot that I'm in pretty good shape from crossfit. We don't run long distances in crossfit, but there are 1/4-1/2 mile intervals almost every day, and the cardio fitness level in general is obviously high. Brian suggested that I didn't HAVE to follow the plan to a T. That hadn't even occurred to me. So I went out again Saturday morning, and this time skipped to the week 2 workout: 90sec jogging, alternating with 2 min walking. Still pretty easy. So now I'm skipping to week 3, and I'll see how it goes from there. I do still want to work up to running more than a mile or two, because I want my joints and tendons to be up to speed, too. Not just my lungs. I'm also running in much more minimalist shoes than I was last year, so I want my legs used to that.

And about that: my stride is better with these shoes, seriously. I don't land hard on my heel anymore. I can't, so I don't, and it's much better. Also: I don't know if the stride or crossfit is to thank, but I also ran a lot FASTER than I used to in these two times out. Maybe too soon to tell, but on the running portions, I was about a minute per mile faster than my old pace. Hooray!

ok, that's the news for now. I'll post again when I have more objective measures of my success with this challenge (bf measurement, filthy 50 time, etc.)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MONICA_W 7/29/2012 1:47AM

    Wow, good news all around! Congrats on rocking that challenge! Sorry I dropped off the face of the (Spark) planet for a while there - I'm trying to come back but struggling a bit. 10 lbs is great... fitting low-160's clothes is even better! I'm thinking about re-paleo-izing as well. I've been having over-tired-and-sugar-low-cranky fits lately... not cool. Getting more sleep would also be wise, I suppose... but tough to do. I'm very excited about your running! I need to get to the podiatrist and then I'm going to get back into it too... but I've been putting off making an appointment because I don't want "more things on my plate" pre-wedding. Interesting about the minimalist shoes, too. I think you're wise to stick fairly close to the program. Even box jumps are different than running in terms of impact to your joints and ligaments, and that's 100% more true with minimalist shoes. I always say it, but take care and listen carefully to that bod of yours!

HUGS! Glad to see even an outdated catch-up with your life and progress. Makes me happy! Now if only I had equally wonderful things to report... been having fun (stagette last weekend! planning progress! dress fittings!) but not taking very good care of myself at all, food, sleep, water, or exercise-wise. At least my stress levels are okay so far.

Thanks for being such a good influence - it's so motivating right now!!! Hope all continues to be well with you. Blog again soon - I've re-signed up for updates after losing my subscription!

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CMSLOCUM1 7/25/2012 10:50AM

    Way to go for finishing so successfully!

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ARCHINTRAIN 7/23/2012 11:40AM

    I have been curious about the whole "paleo" thing... and have been debating trying it.. good for you and the weight loss!!

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