seeking: vibrancy, health, healing.... through Paleo, training, and humor.

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Oh. Bread.

There is no doubt. Now that I've cut bread from my diet for three weeks, I just absolutely cannot eat it. If I do (and I've tried more than once because, well, sometimes carb cravings just reach up and bitch slap a girl) I suffer. Horribly. Like, you'd think I'd have gotten it the first 2 or 3 times I tried. But no.... Saturday night, after working on a shoot from 6:30-4 and then coming home and crashing hard for a four hour nap, I decided that since I'd eaten like shit for the entire day that I'd just go ahead and cap it off with some, wait for it!....... McDonald's. Big Mac and fries, baby. And a Dr. Pepper.

Now, I know this is a bad plan. I just didn't realize how bad.

I writhed. In pain. For an hour, before finally falling into restless slumber. Woke the next day still unable to eat because of the stomach pain. Bloating and gas soon followed. It's two days later and I'm still paying for that decision. My waist measurement is still up a half an inch! Bread has become my foe. It seems that I can tolerate a small amount of sugar per day. Dairy is still no problem for my digestion and I do treat myself to a bit of cream in my coffee and sometimes cheese on a salad. But bread. Bread is my enemy.

I'll be honest (I mean, really, this is all about accountability), I've had a rough week. I've been deviating from the plan more than is good. I've given myself permission to make bad choices too many times. I've been craving bad foods and leaving myself with few choices because of bad planning (and a hectic schedule). When I eat clean I feel better than when I don't. It's that simple.

Today I weighed in a day early. I did NOT weight last week. The numbers were on my mind too heavily. I needed to take a step back from the scale and just focus on working and eating well. I didn't do anything "in the gym" but I did take a long, tough hike up the bluffs and I swam twice. I was rewarded, McDonald's day aside (ugh), with a decent loss since my last weigh and a drastic decrease in one of my measurements. Check out weights and measures for more specifics.

A couple of side notes on other things I've noticed that are changing besides my weight in my next blog post. I'm out of town on business this week so eating right is sure to be a challenge.


Sunday, June 17, 2012


I'm not what one might call a "patient" person. In fact, I'm pretty sure the man I live with is the only person I know who can outplay me in the 'instant gratification' department. Scratch that. I'm positive he does. But only marginally.

One thing I find particularly difficult is the initial decline in weight loss. This isn't the first time I've ventured on a journey of losing a significant amount (but by god, it's going to be my last!). The spot I'm in right now I find to be the most difficult. I've made a large loss (9 pounds total when I weighed at Jay's Mom's house this afternoon) but I'm not into my normal clothes yet. I feel triumphant that I've found my way out of the crazy steep incline of weight gain I was on and yet I've found my metal arrow pointing to "frustrated" a lot this week. Why? Because I'm still 195 pounds which is just too much weight for my frame. Because I am still awkward in this too-big body. Because I have an entire wardrobe I purchased two years ago when I dropped to 175 (and stayed there for quite some time) that I still cannot squeeze my ass into even when I suck in and jump up and down. While the loss I've made has changed the way my body looks significantly, I'm losing it unevenly (always first from the last place I put it on) which means I am starting to see the actual muscle definition from the weights I've been lifting while I still have to practically lay down on the bed to button my jeans. I recognize that irritation at a 9 pound weight loss in 12 days is irrational. But there you have it.

Patience. It's virtuous for a reason. Those clothes will be in rotation once again, very soon. Until then, I will continue to wear my one pair of in-between jeans and two pairs of too-big capris and I'm gonna like it, damn it. And today it really hit me how much difference 10 pounds makes. I caught a glance of myself in the reflective surface of the patio door and realized how much better my favorite shirt looked on me today than it did on Memorial Day. :)

My diet has been a little iffy the past two days, thanks to a date night (at Buffalo Wild Wings- HOLLA!) and Father's Day (not horrid, but not as clean as I would like). Time to get back to basics, chug the water, and get moving. I've been slammed with business demands the past two weeks. I just haven't been able to make my workouts the priority I was committed to making them. I thought when my six were gone for the summer I could easily focus on myself and I've found that other things have crowded into that empty space instead. I've come to realize that there will always, always be demands on my time and attention. Part of making myself the priority is learning to say no but also to make focused decisions that put my goals first. It's easy to lay in bed until 10, get up and work for a few hours, run errands in the afternoon, then go to the studio and work there, meet Jay and the kiddos at home for dinner, do housework, work on editing in the evening, and go to bed exhausted without having done one physically demanding activity. Getting up at dawn and running or swimming would go a long way toward making my body more fit, my mind more clear, and my day more productive. Patience and persistence. Onward we go.


Friday, June 15, 2012

That Scale is a Tricky Bitch

I had pretty much convinced myself on Tuesday morning that while I felt smaller and my mother commented to me after seeing my "before" pics on Monday afternoon that I had clearly already lost weight, the number on the scale at the Weekly Weigh-in wasn't going to be any different. And why should there be change? I've been working out and dieting for three months hard core and the scale hadn't budged. Actually, when it did move it went UP! I've been pinging back and forth between 203 and 206.5 since just after Christmas. I tried a juice fast (which gave me terrible headaches), I tried a low calorie diet (1200 a day, baby), I tried running and swimming 5 days a week. Nothing made any difference at all. I went to my doctor and she told me I was exhausted from having nine kids and my metabolism was probably just slowing down. I have been beyond frustrated by my lack of answers to why I can so easily gain weight but not lose it no matter how hard I try.

So on Tuesday morning, I posted my lament to Facebook and then dragged my ass into the gym to weigh. I don't keep a scale at home anymore. Two reasons: 1) My children can't stay off of it and have broken two and 2) I become obsessive and will weigh myself several times a day and make myself crazy. So. I weigh at the gym, on the same digital scale, every week on the same day around the same time of day. I walked up to it like I was being marched to the guillotine. I actually stood there for several minutes, eyeing it up and sort of working up my nerve. One full week of eating Paleo and working out so hard there have been times that just sitting down hurts. I had convinced myself it was going to say 204.4 again and I was going to come unglued right there in the Women's Center next to the treadmill. I sucked it up, pressed the ON button and stepped onto the scale....


That's right.

5 pounds lost. Five pounds. I was nearly hysterical in my delight and relief. Relief because it proved to me that I am doing the right thing. PROOF! The number reinforces my commitment but also my firm belief that this is thyroid related and eating to support my thyroid is the best way to care for my body. I would be surprised if, three days later, I've not shed another 2-3 pounds. I feel like I have. I feel good, too. So much better than I have been feeling the past five months or so. And just to reiterate what the scale said and to double check that this wasn't water or something like that, I did remeasure and have lost a full inch from my bust and waist and a half inch from my hips. Sweet, sweet victory over that damn scale.

I realize there will likely be plateaus in my future. I'm not worried about it. I know now that this is the answer to my quandary. As my friend Sarah stated on my Facebook thread-

"Never see 200 again!"

Until next time-

Monday, June 11, 2012

Cheater Cheater, Fried Fish Eater

Before I dove into this new eating lifestyle, I planned an overnight camp-out at my parent's place. Just me and my love in a tent mostly made of screen in the woods on the side of the property they use as a home in their off months (they travel in their RV most of the year). The lightening bug show was five star.

They offered to take me and my sweetheart, Jay, out to eat at this awesome little spot call The Barefoot in Hardin, Illinois. I knew it was coming from the very beginning and I have been looking forward to and dreading it all week. Owned by a delightful family (grandson Evan was our waiter/bartender and super sweet/efficient as all hell), The Barefoot is the kind of place that never fails to satisfy. A small, family run, river town business, their hand breaded catfish is absolutely divine. I felt like we ordered half the menu. Catfish nugget sandwich, crinkle cut fries, crab rangoon, mini-tacos, and three glasses of iced tea to wash it down. I knew I was going whole hog on the pig out and I wanted to make it good. Can't waste the few and far between cheat days.

But While the totally tasty morsels of delicate, perfectly breaded-and-seasoned fish were as wonderful as always, I was barely done eating when my stomach loudly said "hell to the fucking no". It was immediate discomfort. Bloat. Ick. Thankfully it stopped there. I did not vomit or pay in other, less delicately described ways for my errant eating, but it was so very clear to me as it could not have been before: bread and carbs = total distress for my body. After a week of perfectly clean eating (okay okay, soy sauce aside) one meal of head first dive into soft, yummy white bread was all it took to remind me- this is how I will feel all the time if I go back. I don't wanna go back. I woke this morning feeling just fine and consumed eggs, bacon, fresh fruit, salad, and grilled chicken during my day. No carbs. Feels better. I never, never thought I'd want to avoid them this much. I mean, I suppose I always figured I could do it because I've got the determination of a rhinoceros (Wait... is a rhino 'determined'? Seems like they might be, to me.) but I figured I would feel deprived, sad I was missing out, always wanting a nibble of this or a night out to eat there. And perhaps I will occasionally take the plunge... but I can honestly say that I don't suppose I'll feel much in the way of what one might call deprivation.

It hurts too much to be good for me. 

No weigh in this morning because I was out of town. I'll give a number in the morning. I've been chugging water all day to try and beat the bloat that settled in this morning after consuming both alcohol and carbs in the same night. Erg.


Saturday, June 9, 2012

I Resisted the Popcorn

Last night my beloved youngest brother and his beautiful partner (whom I adore) came over for dinner before we headed off to the theater for the opening of Prometheus. I'm not a critic so I won't go into the details of my disappointment at the movie, but I will state proudly that I said "no thank you" to buttered movie theater popcorn. AND Dr. Pepper (which is, hands down, the most likely suspect when it comes to temptations to cheat). WIN!

Yesterday was the first time all week I had a complete dinner fail. My brother, god love him, requested my home made ricotta gnocchi for dinner. It's a huge no-no for me because it contains flour. It's also one of my all time favorite meals. I had the good idea that perhaps I could make a paleo friendly portion for myself by subbing in coconut flour and ignoring the fact that I was consuming cheese (dairy in moderate amounts seems to have no negative affects on my body). Heh. Didn't go as planned. Lacking any sort of gluten or other binder to hold them together the little nuggets of yummy goodness dissolved as soon as they hit the boiling water. Sad face. I had to improvise at the last second and fry up a few chicken tenders in coconut oil. I whipped up a quick salad to go with. I love how flexible paleo can be at a moment's notice!

I am currently resisting the urge to go weigh myself, for two reasons. One, if I have lost no weight (which is likely after only five days) I will be disappointed and frustrated. Two, if I get all obsessive about the scale again it will be the most direct path toward failure. I mean, really, if it didn't matter if you ate chocolate and sugar and junk all day while lazing around on the couch because working out and eating right didn't drop any pounds at.all.... what would you choose? I have to move away from the idea that this is a short term change to lose weight and look better and toward the idea that this change is for life because it's about my health rather than my body image. Losing weight and feeling better go hand in hand in this undertaking but I think... no I know, it's vital to my success to keep them in the right order of importance.

Whether I've lost 4 pounds or no pounds on Monday morning, I am making the correct choices for my body and my life. A big initial loss would certainly give me a jolt of further motivation. I'd be lying if I said anything less. However, I've got to brace myself mentally and know those numbers may not budge (like they have been for the past three months) so I don't give in to the binge eating that's always followed.

Short post! I am running off to an ordering session in just a few minutes and then it's Baseball Saturday for my step-son and more editing this afternoon. Busy busy! I have often wondered what I did before my six kids... and now I remember. I did the exact same things I do now just with less juggling! I miss them, and they are terribly homesick already, but I am indeed enjoying a summer break from parenting nine.

Enjoy your weekend! It will be interesting to see what this first week holds on Monday mornings weigh in. ;)


Friday, June 8, 2012

Department of Weights and Measures

My fiance Jay and I have a joke. Jay works in the hardware department of Lowe's and he runs into many a character in his daily customer interactions. Once upon a time, a man came in who just could not accept that the nut he was being offered was, in fact, the size Jay proclaimed it to be. No matter what he said or did this gentleman just would.not.believe it was the correct size. Finally, in desperation, Jay told him that the bolts and nuts in his department were standardized by the US Department of Weights and Measures so he could be sure that the labeling on this particular nut was absolutely correct... and henceforth we've had a running joke about the Department of Weights and Measures. They do their job. And don't you forget it.

Welcome to my own little corner of W&M, which will be done (accurately!) on Monday of every week (weights) and the 5th day of every month (measures) to track my progress, give me inspiration, and let me know when it's time to kick it up a notch again.

6/5/12 - 204.4



7/3/12- 200.0

7/14/12- 199.0

7/20/12- 193.0

8/14/12- 195.2 *afternoon weigh-in

  •    bust-44"
  •    waist-39"
  •    hips-45"
  • bust-43"
  • waist-38"
  • hips-44.5"

  • bust-42.5"
  • waist-38.5"
  • hips-44"
  • bust-42.75"
  • waist- 37.5"
  • hips-43"

Day Five! I'm Alive!

Today is the fifth day of my new eating habits. I'm doing quite well and have yet to really struggle with cravings for sugar, yeast, or junk. Are y'all familiar with Pinterest? If not, you need to hop over there and request an invite to participate. It's been revolutionary for my eating habits, my business, and my level of organization! Sure, sure, you can get mired down in all the "impossibly detailed crafty crazy" pins but as far as planning my meals (and my photo sessions!) goes... nothing rivals its visual bookmark genius.

Last night I enjoyed a mostly paleo friendly version of lettuce wraps which I gleaned from a "paleo" search on Pinterest and it was completely delicious. They seriously tasted like the PF Changs version I adore. Why "almost" paleo friendly, you ask? In my experience, most huge shifts in eating habits, unless you have unlimited finances to spend on stocking your pantry immediately (I do not), have a good week or two of an adjustment period. There's always that ONE ingredient you're missing when preparing a meal and substitution must happen. Last night it was regular soy sauce. I will have to find a paleo friendly substitute but in the mean time I'm not overly worried about a few minor variations. That may seem less than fully committed to some, so let me explain:

I'm a recovering perfectionist. When beginning something new in the past, especially something monumental like completely changing my eating and exercising habits and trying to fit something totally new into my life, I've often been very hard on myself and have required strict and perfect adherence to that new regime for the onset. This makes me feel like I'm "doing it right" and have successfully pre-jumped all those difficult hurdles that everyone else has to face. This, of course, isn't even close to the truth so when I do a half-pike off the back of the wagon my shame and humiliation are that much worse. Rather than picking myself up and admitting that I'm human and I'm going to screw up, I'll just quit to save myself the horror of failure. For some reason I considered quitting to be better than failure. Odd but true. Actually, this goes for many of the 'new' things I've tried in my life, which is why I have a long string of jobs, hobbies, and people I've started and then "quit" shortly thereafter. One misstep, one screw up, one failure and I tell myself that I may as well stop now because clearly, clearly, I am not going to be able to do this right. Better to not do it at all than to do it imperfectly.

In order to combat this insanity (and believe me as someone who's been dealing with this mindset my entire life, it can absolutely drive one insane) I have had to learn to back off and allow myself to be an imperfect creature. I must give myself room to stretch into this new lifestyle. Does that make it okay to give myself license to go on a three day carb binge? No, of course not. However, said three day carb binge is also not an excuse to throw my hands up, declare that I will never, ever get this right, and go back to my old eating habits, and live with chronic illness for the rest of my life. I may never understand why I have come to believe I am supposed to be above human frailness. I will continue to combat that mindset for my lifetime, I'm sure. But if I need to use some soy sauce to make a delicious meal because I've already been to the store twice and I'm starving and I just need to make this food.... I've deemed that part of the learning process. Surely my gut is much happier now that, for five days, it's only invaders have been three teaspoons of regular sugar, a packet of regular mayo, and a couple teaspoons of soy sauce? Compared with constant, all day inundation by gut irritants and empty carbs---- I'm okay with the deviations from perfection.

My official weigh and measure stats are being added to the link list at the top of the page. I'm considering adding meals and recipes, as well, but I'd love to hear feedback. Are you interested in seeing/hearing about/learning how to prepare the foods that I'm eating? It's quite a lot of effort so if you have no interest and just want to hear my random ramblings, let me know. Or, if you'd be down with starting something like this yourself or you're just curious what the crazy lady is eating... let me know that, too, in the comments section down below.

I feel fantastic both physically and mentally. I've been super, super sore from intense work outs and took yesterday off completely. I have a lot of "desk" time today because I have a lot of editing to finish to prepare for an ordering session and disk delivery. Perhaps I'll stop every 30 minutes and do some push ups and squats then take a nice stroll this evening before my brother and sister-in-law come over for dinner? We're seeing Prometheus tonight at the theater and man is that buttered popcorn going to be hard to resist!!! My sweetheart has threatened to sit on the other side of my brother so I can't reach the bag. I lurve him. ;-)

Until next time!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Before the After

I really, really, really don't want to post these pictures. I am a horrible perfectionist. I like to look nice in pictures. I use my copy of Photoshop liberally (and have the training to be good at it). These were taken with my iPhone, just before my workout last night, in so-so lighting (I'm a professional photographer so I'm picky about these things), in my work out clothes, no makeup, hair a mess, shot from a BAD angle....

So. It takes a lot for me to put this out there. This is determination personified. I will let you see how bad I can look. I did not suck in my tummy (more to come about the wreck of a stomach my twins left behind after their 39 week stay...). About the only way I could look worse is if I had the flu. This is what 200 pounds plus a little looks like on my 5 foot 4 frame without a smidgen of liquify to make it more palatable...

I will post a new image every 10 pounds or month- whichever comes first. And they will all be no makeup, in random "mommy" clothes... but I might make her shoot me from a better angle next time. *wink*

Working out with Lesley

My trainer, Lesley, likes to do what's called "burn out" at the end of my sessions. That's when you've worked about as hard as you think you can work, when you've hit that point where your legs are liquefied, shaking, and weak, when you don't think you can actually do one.more.exercise.... then she says "Awesome! Do 10 more lunges and 10 more squats!". After she peels me off the sidewalk, I am grateful. I want to work my muscles to the literal point of exhaustion so they will use all the protein I am consuming to repair themselves to bigger, leaner versions of themselves. 

I am left with just enough oomph to walk to my car and drive home. It's divine.

Our training sessions have thus far been outdoors, around her home. I enjoy this so much more than a gym. Last night as the sweat was rolling down my body I was atop the bluffs in my home town, high above the Mississippi River, enjoying the beauty of huge thunderheads rolling off to the south and the sky to the west turning pink and orange as the sun dipped to the horizon. As I lunged and squatted and dipped my way down the street I couldn't help but think how very majestic nature is to behold. It can sometimes be hard to focus on how majestic when you've just run up 38494972 stairs and your lungs are screaming for air and your thighs are screaming "what the fuck!?!"

Last night was the trifecta of difficult, too. Not only was yesterday the dreaded first day of my period, I frequently suffer from blinding headaches (another sign of hypothyroidism) and the one I had last night was a real pisser. Add to that some tummy trouble and the idea of going balls out in my work out was, shall we say, less than appealing. But I knew if I called and tried to whine that Lesley would tell me to get my butt in gear. No whining, no excuses. It paid off. The headache was more manageable after sweating it out last night and I feel fantastic this morning. That first step can be torturous though. Which is why I love working out with a  trainer. It's all about accountability, man. That's what this blog is about and that's what my work out partner is about. In addition to her correcting my bad form on lunges and benefiting from her creativity ("Here, hold these 3.5 pound balls above your head and walk up this steep hill") she also keeps me honest. While Lesley and I are friends, she's probably not going to drive over to my house, drag me out of bed, and shove a foot up my ass to get going.... but just knowing that I will disappoint her, that I will have to answer for my actions, helps me get going on those harder days. 

Yes, yesterday was a good day. All first days should be, eh? Lots of motivation and determination. Eating Paleo is never really all that hard. My partner made the most delicious baked chicken last night (he's a fantastic cook and supportive as all get out... I'm a lucky girl) and I hoovered that along with steamed broccoli, asparagus tossed in olive oil and garlic and pan fried, plus a small serving of carrots. I detest cooked carrots but I needed another color besides the green of my other two veggies so I forced myself to eat them. I did not get to the gym for an official weigh and measure to go with my before pics (which Lesley snapped last night and they are AWFUL!) so I'll get in there this morning. First challenge of the 'new' lifestyle.... I have a client meeting at 10am at Panera. I made this appointment before I made the decision to be done with the tempting tasty treats of life. Now, later when I'm at my goal weight and my body has stabilized, having one tasty treat at the old Bread Co. won't be a huge deal so long as it's an isolated incident and not an every day or even an every week occurrence. Unfortunately, day two is not the day to go there. Instead I'll be having black coffee with a little bit of cream and I'll be taking my own Stevia packets. Wish me luck (or strength of conviction, probably). 


Monday, June 4, 2012

One More Last Day

The blog is named after my propensity to start a diet.... tomorrow. One more last day of gluttony. One more last day of eating poorly. One more last day of making poor choices about the way I nourish my body....about my health.

My very last "last day" was yesterday. And I can say, with certainty, there is not one junk food, fast food, or bad food choice I want to put in my body right now. There isn't a food out there worth how poorly I have been feeling since topping 200 again.

Here's the facts as I know them:

  • I am 35 years old this fall
  • I have nine children who need me to be an active, vibrant part of their lives
  • I am the sole proprietor of a busy photography business that just leased it's first real, actual real estate. 
  • I strongly suspect my thyroid is in the process of giving up on me... even though my TSH levels are within normal range. I've had too many symptoms this past year to have it not be so... including gaining 20 very stubborn pounds that just with a low calorie diet and exercise. 
  • Right now, my thyroid symptoms have mysteriously vanished and my body seems willing to let some of this extra weight go. I am taking the opportunity to really go for it and lose the 70 pounds that have plagued me since I was 22. 
  • My reading and talking to others has led me to believe that a low carb/Paleo type eating style will benefit my possibly thyroid condition in addition to decreasing my body fat while supporting the muscle I plan to build. 
  • In the fall of 2010 I did a modified Paleo diet and exercised 5-6 days a week. I lost 25 pounds in 6 weeks and haven't felt that good since I quit. My goal here is to not quit, ever again, because I know it's the way my body should be fed in order to work at it's optimal level.
This is no longer about my weight or my body image... this has simply become about health. I do not want to be chronically ill for the next 35 years. I do not want to rely on pills and western medicine just to survive. I refuse to give up my vitality at my young age. I will not bow down to the Standard American Diet and the sickness that comes with it... 

Gentle reader, either real or in the confines of my imagination, you are here to bear my witness and keep me on the straight and narrow. Making good choices can be difficult but I've got two things going for me here:

I am ridiculously honest when I commit to something and I'm very easily embarrassed. 

If I know I will be forced to spill the naked truth here that I pigged out on cake and I've gained three pounds and I skipped a session with my personal trainer, I will be less likely to make those choices. I want the upcoming progress pics to show change-not that I've been sneaking and lazing and not getting it done like I said I would.

I expect there to be difficulties and pit falls and plateaus, but what I promise here is that I'm going to commit to 30 days of eating a healthy, modified Paleo diet. Modified in that I will consume some dairy (mainly greek yogurt in reasonable quantities) but still rich in plant matter and healthy animal protein. I will work out with my personal trainer (who likes to torment me- but in a good way) Lesley Elkins, twice a week in addition to engaging in physically challenging activities that I love the other five days of the week. These will include (but are not limited to!) hiking the bluffs surrounding my beautiful Mississippi River town, biking the river trails, swimming at my local gym, running/walking in my historic neighborhood, and camping/boating with my life partner. And then we'll see where I am on the birthday of my country, July 4th, and set new goals. 

Yesterday was my last last day, ever. Today has begun a new chapter, a new try, a new determination to take care of this body... the only one I will ever be blessed with in this life. Thank you for caring enough to read. :)