Monday, March 31, 2014

Cario-infused Strength Workouts

First- had another good weekend! Went to brunch and the movies for a date day with Chris (since it was cold, gray and raining all day Sunday!):

The fireplace at the restaurant was perfect! 

I ate until full and left food on the plate - good step for me (also finally got to drink a mimosa, which I've been dreaming about doing for over a month!).

We walked the dog together in the rain, I did my yoga and ate moderately and clean the rest of the day. Weighing 122.4 today....... Yay! No weekend gain for the first time in a long time!

Now, my post for the day:

I've learned there is a huge difference when I do mainly strength-focused workouts rather than cardio-focused: differences in my overall health, my endurance, my physical capabilities, AND (delightfully) my body shape! Seriously - my core is tight, my arms and legs are ripped, and I stand better! And, unlike popular myth, I haven't put on pounds and pounds of muscle and I do not look like a body builder. That type of body takes a lot of serious work with lifting BIG weights (which I do not do... I rely on my own body weight or smaller dumbbells most of the time).

I made the post yesterday about running, about how I can still run a fair distance at a good pace even though I haven't run in months... and I owe it all to continuous strength training. A variety of strength training workouts can keep your body primed and ready for all types of physical exercise!

I used to focus on cardio when I was losing weight. Obviously. It makes logical sense, right? Cardio burns calories fast, and that is what I needed! But, as Kelly points out a lot: start strength training NOW, not once you've lost the weight. It does wonders for health, fitness and body composition. You won't regret putting the effort in now, even though it might not burn as many calories, because you will look fantastic once the weight is off :D

But, I think we can have the best of both worlds!

Most of my strength workouts (between 15-45 minutes in length, depending on how much time I have) incorporate cardio... getting the heart rate up and KEEPING it up throughout the workout.

I take a lot of cues from Jillian Michaels in this regard. She's big on not wasting a movement - getting your heart rate up through continuous strength movements, and doubling up the muscle groups to maximize the cardio burn AND the muscle workout.

For example:

  • Don't just do overhead presses, do squats into overhead presses. Keep good form, but do quick repetitions.

  • Along the same line - bicep curls while lunging. Or reverse lunge while doing weighted lateral arm raises. There are endless combinations!!

  • Mountain climbers: work on arm/core strength while "running" in place.

  • Do sets of jumping jacks or jump roping when recovering from a strength move, like planking.

This is how I workout - for anyone out there looking for ideas or looking to change it up a little!

There are endless ways and methods and ideas and strategies to working out. In the end, anyone who spends time moving and less time sitting around is doing it right :D

So- keep moving, keep putting good fuel in and enjoy this life!!

Namaste <3

Sunday, March 30, 2014

My semi-annual run :)

Every once in a while, I like to go for a run. I tend not to run a lot, because it's just not the best exercise for me, especially as far as wear and tear on my joints/ligaments/tendons/what-have-you. Running seems to immediately stress my body as soon as I run more than once a week- I do a lot more yoga, strength and resistance training, walking and hiking. Those forms of exercise are more than enough to keep me fit and healthy and keep my chance of injury (either acute or chronic) low. I've never had an exercise-related injury and I want to keep it that way!

But, running is a skill that I never want to lose. I always want to be able to run for a distance and at a decent speed, because you never know! (I'm a weird, worst case scenario type of person and I always want my body to be strong and fast and capable in case something awful happens... I'm thinking running for help if Chris is injured while we are hiking or if someone nefarious is chasing me...... um, I'm slightly less than normal, I told you!).

So, I went for a run yesterday because it was 50° and the sun was shining and I wanted to be outside for my workout! Also, Chris had Koda on a hike, so I didn't get outside for a dog walk.

First run in about three months, maybe more. Just wanted to make sure I could!

I wore some fun workout gear that I have. I don't usually wear the 'official' workout clothes I own, usually just wearing cotton pants and a tank top working out in my bedroom, ha ha. But people would be SEEING me workout for the first time in months, wanted to put my cute stuff on!

It was a successful run. I didn't have to stop at all and walk. I did a 5K in just over half an hour :)

It shows me that whatever I'm doing to work out at home and with my supplemental hiking is keeping my cardiovascular system in good shape and my leg muscles strong. I wasn't winded or overly out of breath at the end. Felt good and strong.

I remember reading stuff when I had some thought that I might take up running - lots of studies that show that overall strength training makes you a better runner. Definitely think there is some truth to that if I can still run at the pace I used to when I ran regularly even though I haven't run in months, only strength/yoga/walking!

However, I reaffirmed for myself that I still do not like running.  Props to those who like to run, I don't get it!!!  It's just not my preferred exercise at all. I didn't enjoy it aside from the whole outside aspect (which I usually get on my dog walks). BUT I will continue to do it every once in a while, as I said, I never want to lose the ability to run if I need or want to!! :D

Now for a nice Sunday with Chris - working AND playing!!


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Dairy, Cottage Cheese

Just a quick post to say something I've been meaning to say, that was just recently asked of me in the comments. Vickie asked how I'm doing with my dairy issues now that I'm eating cottage cheese.

First, I am almost completely lactose intolerant at this point. It's been a slow change over the years, and almost all forms of dairy products really upset my stomach. If I go off Paleo, I find that only very hard or aged cheeses do not upset my stomach like all other dairy does.

Second, I love, love, love the texture of yogurt. I definitely missed it when I went paleo. Also, it was such an easy way to get protein that I didn't have to cook first.

Third, I found a coconut milk yogurt that has 6 g of protein and is really tasty and has an awesome texture (So Delicious Greek Style) I was buying them for over a year. However, they are very expensive. Expensive to the point it started to not make sense to buy them, except as perhaps a treat.

Fourth, I got sick and had the endoscopic surgery. I was put on a low residue diet, so I couldn't have almost any vegetables at all, no rough meats, etc. I was eating cream of rice and cottage cheese and eggs and other soft foods. But it was then that I remembered how much I love cottage cheese, and what a great protein source it was for me. But, it was dairy! And I suffered a little bit.

Lastly, I found Lactaid cottage cheese at the grocery store. There is no lactose in it. And since I am lactose intolerant, a lactose free cottage cheese was perhaps a dream come true. It has 12 g of protein per serving (and 80 cal per serving)!! It's a perfect little quick meal or snack for me and doesn't bother my stomach at all, cause any bloating or inflammation, or weight gain.

It's not Paleo, nope. But it works so perfectly for my life that I'm keeping it in the diet for now! That's why I say I'm 90-95% Paleo, because I have a few things in my diet that aren't strict Paleo.

I'm a firm believer in the basics of the Paleo diet. Filling up the majority of your diet and your day with vegetables, fruits, lean proteins and healthy fats. Leaving grains out of the equation is super important (low nutritional value, inflammatory properties, and they take up  the caloric space which you could be filling up with vegetables).

But I'm not a hard ass, either. I understand for myself and for many others there are going to be a few items out there that can supplement our diet that are not strict Paleo but still have an awesome cost-benefit ratio as far as health, expense and even pleasure.

Off to start the weekend!! Namaste <3

Friday, March 28, 2014

Giving in to the weather...

Well- it's insanely gross out. Been pouring for hours! I have walked my dog in some really bad weather, super cold, super windy, snowing, whatever. I almost feel like I abide by the post offices' motto about rain, sleet and snow not keeping them from delivering the mail! I've prided myself on being really good to my dog, not letting my own discomfort or displeasure with walking on a particular day keep him from getting the walk he needs.

But... This. This is going to prevent his walk today. It looks like a lake out there... Roads are flooding, puddles are super deep, the rain is heavy and cold and relentless (and it's not supposed to stop all day).

Sorry, Koda!!

I'll play with him inside and he's going on a hike tomorrow. He'll have to forgive me :)

I will do some strength and cardio workouts at home for myself because my body is used to the daily walk, as well.

What a difference it makes to TRULY make healthy behaviors habit - to not have to force yourself to do them.

My habits I don't even think twice about now (as opposed to 5 or 10 years ago): 

- taking my vitamins 

- morning yoga stretches

- daily 45-60 minute walk

- making vegetables the star of my daily diet (I like veggies! Never would have thought it!)

These four habits really set me up for success in the long run, because they set the tone for an overall healthy lifestyle. They've replaced bad habits (most of which involve eating junk food, processed food, sugary food), as well.

I have a great grocery coupon today, so I'll head to the store and get the weekly shopping over with a bit early (usually do it on Sunday). I love my non-list, non-recipe focused shopping trips! It is so easy and simple to shop for this house. What my cart will generally look like (keeping in mind most of this is organic or antibiotic free!):

- ground chicken/turkey
- pork
- eggs
- lactose free cottage cheese (a new addition I discovered I loved when I got sick and was on a low fiber diet)
- flax milk
- squash/sweet potatoes
- tomatoes
- spinach
- lettuce
- onions
- mushrooms
- other assorted veggies (depends on sales)
- avocados
- bananas
- mangos/oranges/other thick skin fruit (not as important to buy organic)
- frozen blueberries
- nuts/seeds
- dark chocolate
- seltzer

So- lean protein, some dairy, veggies, fruit and some treats (nuts, chocolate).

I only shop on the perimeter of the store (the chocolate is on the edge too, haha)... It's so odd to not really have been down the grocery aisles in so long. But there's just nothing I want in the actual aisles, all in those nice pretty packages.

Still weighing 121.2 today. I'm officially happy!! I've been doing some good work- tackling underlying reasons for over eating (eg. anxiety) which makes a real difference. I've kept very clean and over 90% paleo this week, listening to hunger/fullness signals.

So, all those confused thoughts this week, all those rants, all the wondering and the self introspection, it really is worth it. I feel very calm and at peace with the work I'm doing, as well as calm and at peace with who I am right now. I'm forgiving myself for my mistakes and working on being better. Replacing anxiety with peace makes it so much easier not to over eat.

The benefits of work- I spent years learning about fitness and nutrition, and that work is serving me really well right now. And the work I'm doing now on my mental state and my peace of mind, it's starting to pay off.

Enjoy your day, hope it is not as wet as mine!

Namaste <3

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Things I am and am not:

Things I am not: an expert, a doctor, a nutritionist, a trainer, a resource.

Things I am: a woman.

Woke up this morning with sexy bedhead (usually it ends up in dreadlocks)!

I've been thinking about what people expect when they stumble over my little corner of the internet.

I am not a typical blogger for someone in my position - someone who has been maintaining a weight loss for a significant period of time, someone who is fit and trim and healthy now, someone who has been eating paleo/clean for almost two years.

It seems like many other bloggers who are in my position blog very differently for me. They are perhaps monetized, or motivational, or speak at events, or don't use their blogs like a diary (as I seem to do), there are mostly posts about how they succeed: recipes, workout gear, workout schedules, grocery lists, tips and tricks.

I occasionally post things of that nature - how I eat, how I workout, how I live - but it's not really my focus.

I have always wanted to stay public. To share my past story and my current story. Mostly because I wish there was a place like this when I was 16, 17, 18.... because I needed help back then, I needed to feel not so alone. If there is someone out there who feels a little less alone or feels a little more hopeful or learns a little something after reading my blog, I am happy.

I vacillate between using this blog as a diary type of place - to recount how my day is going, to share my mental state, etc - and using it to share all the stuff I've learned about health and fitness - what works for me as far as food, exercise, grocery shopping, eating out, etc.

Ideally, I'd like a balance between those two ways of writing.

But, in the end, I am not an expert in any of this. I can only say what has worked for me, personally. If someone relates or tries something I tried and it ends up working for them? I love it. But I'm not trying to tell anyone else how to live here. This is just how *I* live.

Things have been a little too diary-like around here, I want to remember to get back into sharing the day-to-day things that work for me.

So what IS working for me?

- daily yoga/stretching

- daily dog walks (about an hour)

- doing body strength workouts several times a week

- limiting alcoholic drinks to once a week, on average (sometimes I don't drink in a week, sometimes I might drink twice)

- keeping only paleo/whole/clean foods in the house

- never/super rarely buying food out (no impulse snack buying, all meals are made at home.... last weekend we "treated" ourselves to buying a salad at Chipotle - kept it paleo)

My big problem? Social stuff. Gwen pointed out that it's really only when I hang out with friends and veer off the paleo template that I see a gain. It's true.

My work to be done? Get a handle on the social stuff. I talked with my therapist about it and worked on some real strategies for when I go into a social situation - once again, my indulgence in social eating seems to be intimately linked with anxiety (specifically social anxiety). I absolutely use food and thinking about food and eating food and worrying about food as a way to deal with anxiety... even though I love my friends, I still get anxious socially. If I am thinking about food, I don't have to think about people. Which is lame of me. I am taking my attention and my caring OFF of people when I put it ON food.

That is going to change.

The focus will be on the people, on the laughter, on asking about their day, on connecting. Even if it makes me anxious. If I get anxious, I will sit with the feeling and deal with it and move on. No more switching the focus to food.

I went to TV night last night and drank beer (this was planned, I bought a beer that I was excited to try in advance). So no more drinks for the rest of the week!

But, I weighed in at 121.2 today?

Odd fluctuation. But in the right direction for me! Keeping it clean and paleo today and tomorrow and so on, so forth to keep my weight in my range :) Keep doing what works for me, working on what doesn't work for me.

Alright - errands to be done, dogs to be walked, stats to be analyzed :) Namaste.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Continuation from last post..

You might not know about my ancestry- it's mainly Sicilian, with a bit of Irish. I'm hot tempered and quick to over-emotion and over reaction.... So, sorry!! I try to keep myself under control, but tend to be extra sensitive.

I wrote yesterday's post as an insight into a disordered mind.

It is not a healthy way of thinking. It is why I am working on it, is why I am blogging about it, it is why I am honest about it. I cannot change what I do not acknowledge, I cannot change what I hide.

It's also to show you that lots of problems such as self-esteem and body image and other mental things, they aren't solved when you get thin. It's important to work at it at the beginning of your journey, in the middle and end. Keep your mind and your spirit healthy, to love yourself, at all stages. I didn't do that work during my weight-loss, I just lost weight. I'm doing that work now.

I'm actually writing this blog early in the morning, using voice to text, as I walk my dog. See:

I feel very Zen and insightful this morning. Taking a look back. Being forgiving of myself. But expecting better of myself, at the same time.

I am peaceful, I am working, I'm healing. My brain won't always be so jumbled and confused. It's what I like about this blog and about this community, it helps us remember that there is better out there for ourselves.

Thank you for your comments and your concern. I didn't mean to alarm anyone by my post. It's part of my process. I hope to help other people feel not so alone, too.


Trending higher..

Ok - this is a stream of consciousness rant because I am confused with myself. Something so small is bothering me SO MUCH, I feel a bit insane.

Now, don't let the following rant let you think my days are awful - they're not! I actually have been having some really lovely, joyful days lately. Simple and productive and sweet days.

But there is usually an undercurrent of unease in my subconscious....

I will welcome you into my anxiety-ridden brain for a short ride:

124 again. Definitely a trend here - weighing in around 122.5-124.5 when I *don't* track and weighing in around 121.5-123.5 when I *do* track.

So, about a two pound higher trend.

I really am not sure how I feel about this. Being someone with body image issues and disordered eating thinking and generally messy mental situations, it bothers me. Logically, rationally, with a focus on health - I know that small trend higher doesn't matter at all. I am just as healthy and fit with two extra pounds, because I am still at a good weight for my height.

But... when I weigh more, I panic. I worry about weighing in at 125... 127... 130... 140. It's happened to me before. I've gained and lost ten/twenty pounds as a young adult several times. Now, in my 30s, I just want to have stability. I've been very stable for almost two years and I don't want to ruin that by NOT keeping control.

But... the control. It's an issue. Once again, I am well aware that I use food and weight and my body and my control over these things as a way to deal with anxiety that comes from all other aspects of my life.

It's not a great coping mechanism.

On the other hand... taking my issues with control and anxiety out of the equation, the rational part of me STILL wants to make sure I keep a handle on my weight. I have been overweight for too much of my life, it is not something I enjoy or want to go back to.

So, the issue? How to control my weight in a physically healthy and mentally healthy manner without letting it turn into the obsessive, disordered, self-shaming, self-hating mess it often does?

I'd be okay if I could maintain 124 for the long haul. (Though, I will admit, I really like how my body fits into my clothes closer to 121... at this weight, those three pounds show up not so nicely - totally vanity weight). I know I'm healthy and fit and strong at 124....

But I don't trust myself.

That's the issue.

I don't trust myself to actually maintain at 124. I don't trust myself not to continue trending upwards.

The books I'm reading, the therapy I'm in.... everything is trying to teach me to trust myself and my body. But I don't. I am working on it, but I just don't right now and it makes me want to get control in a very disordered way.

And I feel shameful and guilty and gross for thinking about myself and my body and my weight so much. For not loving myself when I am so blessed in so many ways.

I feel weak.

I want to put this energy into something else... I feel vain and stupid for worrying about my weight. It just is really hard knowing I lost my teenage years, my young adulthood to obesity. I was out of this world because of my shame. I lost too many years and too many experiences to hiding because of my weight. I don't want to go back to that time.

So... these are the thoughts that plague my poor brain as I go through my life. And I have life to get back to just now... therapy appointment, finish writing my test for class, and then back to statistics for the dissertation.

Namaste <3

Monday, March 24, 2014


Have you heard of this? It's a "miracle berry" - a dried berry that you let dissolve on your tongue and its enzymes coat your taste buds, changing the way you taste food for about 30 minutes. It makes sour, bitter and astringent tastes go away or seem sweet!

I've heard of it here and there, was always curious. It's about tasting foods rather than wolfing them down, which intrigued me.

So we had a little "flavor tripping" party last night with a variety of things to taste. This was our spread (and my dinner):

If you can see, there's about 75% fruits and veggies on the table!

So... I ate a whole lemon (it tastes like lemonade!), 1/2 a lime, lots of orange and grapefruit (and I usually haaaaaate the bitterness of grapefruit), jalapeño, raw onion with Nutella on it haha, pickles, bleu cheese, sour patch kids ... It was weird!

It was a fun little experiment. Actually made me think about how important taste is... I love the sourness of sour patch kids, so I didn't eat more than one while flavor tripping because they were just sweet (I had some once the enzyme wore off though).

It helped me eat citrus fruit- I don't love citrus fruit and usually have to force myself to eat an orange, and there I was munching on lemons and grapefruit haha

The bulk of veggies/fruit helped mitigate my non-paleo choices... Feeling fine today, weighing 123.

Went shopping yesterday and the house is once again stocked for the week with tons of beautiful produce and lean protein. Going to be another good week for me :)

Not much else to tell you- I had a great weekend and am feeling good and positive. I'm seeing that my body maintains closer to 122 than 119, and I'm starting to accept that, if I'm working out and eating right, and like my body, it's okay if I weigh 122 rather than 119. I am loving my muscle tone right now- been working on strength almost every day since October, so trending higher makes sense a bit if I'm focusing on strength for 6 months rather than cardio. I don't think I've put on 3 pounds of muscle, don't get me wrong! But I've put on a little bit and have not been focusing on weight loss- just fitness.

I have to learn to be happy where I am and not always want better- I wear a size 4, am right at my recommended weight medically, feel strong and fit, etc... Being 119/120 won't change those facts, that's where I am right now.

I will admit, though, I do like a little buffer of weighing a little bit less than 122 so if I have a drink with friends one night or a slightly decadent meal with my husband, I'm not over my comfort zone the next day.

But working on the mental part, still!

Have a great start to your week, friends <3

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Practice what I preach :D

Well, you all know I've had some trouble staying paleo and clean and on plan during the weekends and when socializing, yeah?

Determined to break that bad habit!!

Friday night started with an awesome salad and soup for dinner (salad: romaine, beets, tomatoes, mushies... soup: squash base with broccoli, carrots, and ground turkey).

Then, instead of sleeping in and eating brunch with a bunch of people, I woke up at 4 AM, chugged some coffee and headed north for a hike!

Breakfast was chicken sausage with sweet potatoes and lunch was a salad with shredded chicken (amazing snack of chocolate on the mountain top, though, mm).

It was gorgeous! Hurricane Mountain in the Adirondacks, beautiful hike, slow incline stretched over the last mile for the final ascent, and amazing views:

Koda is as big as me!

Ending the day with a little school work, a little house work (Chris is prepping our sun room for a new floor!), dinner of bunless burgers with asparagus and rutabaga (GET THOSE VEGGIES IN YOU!!) and then some quiet time on the couch with a sleepy dog as we watch Game of Thrones reruns <3

Tomorrow starts with a grocery shop at my co-op for some nice produce, a little dog walking, and a visit with friends.

Life is hard and confusing, but also really beautiful all the time, if I remember to look in the right places.


Friday, March 21, 2014

My rules for keeping salads actually healthy

Salad: organic romaine lettuce, mushrooms, roasted beets, raw tomatoes, roasted carrots! Avocado on the side :)

I'm really on a huge salad kick (take that two ways- I am loving salads all the time AND I like my salads huge :D).

Now, just because something is a salad doesn't automatically make it healthy or a good choice for a meal. So I have some rules I stick to rather closely to make sure my salads are doing what I MEAN for them to do - fill me up with fresh, nutritious vegetables!!

1 - make sure salad dressing has good ingredients (no HFCS!! and no vegetable oils... stick to olive oils!)

2 - stick to the correct portion size for the dressing (the one pictured is 2 tablespoons, which is more than enough if you've taught yourself to like the REAL taste of vegetables)

3 - main ingredient: vegetables

4 - make sure there are several different colors in the salad (I've got red, REALLY red, orange, white, and green in my salad above)

5 - add either a healthy fat (like the dressing or avocado) or a lean protein (like shredded chicken) to round out the meal

5 - absolutely no crap processed foods, no croutons (duh, I'm paleo), no cheese (paleo, again) or other unnecessary items. A salad doesn't need bacon to taste good!

6 - I'll say it again: make vegetables the star!!

It's been a really important step in the past few years of weight loss/maintenance to really, actually, truly take the time to taste and appreciate a variety of vegetables. Raw or roasted or lightly sauteed. Veggies at their most basic are delicious. Especially if they are good quality (fresh or organic!).

If you hate eating "healthy foods," I think your tastebuds are still pretty confused by processed stuff. For years and years I thought I couldn't stand any vegetables, but that was because I was focusing on bread and sugars and chemicals that ruined my palate.

It took a long time, but my palate is back to normal... I appreciate the simple things that are grown on this earth.

Been enjoying my salads... lots of fiber leads to me staying full for a long time, lots of nutrition keeps me satiated.

Off to get some statistics done before Chris comes home. We are off to deposit our tax refund today and buy some new flooring for our sunroom (and we might just use some of the money we aren't putting into savings into a new TV.... we still watch my childhood 24 year old tube TV!).


Thursday, March 20, 2014

How to really look at health...

I have this photo I took at Blue Cliff monastery as the opening screen on my phone.

It's a reminder that the present moment us all we have.

"When we are mindful, deeply in touch with the present moment, our understanding of what is going on deepens, and we begin to be filled with acceptance, joy, peace and love." - Thich Nhat Hanh

Living too much in the past or future is not healthy. 

Though, it is still important to do WELL in the present moment- to take care, to love, to do careful work. These things matter. But, this moment is everything, and happiness can be found in the present.

If your present body is all you have, it is important to enjoy it and treat it with respect... If you aren't guaranteed any amount of future with it, be at peace now.

But like I said before.. It is still important to do well by your body:

"Keeping your body healthy is an expression of gratitude to the whole cosmos — the trees, the clouds, everything." - Thich Nhat Hanh

I'm trying to remember these teachings. To be present and to be calm. It makes the rest of the things I need to do easier - because I'm not stressed about what may or may not happen (which is the crux of anxiety- worrying about things that have not yet come to pass, and may never).

So I continue to do right in the present, for the sheer fact that it is good and right and healthy and honoring.

Sorry for the introspection this morning. However, in the end, the health of your spirit and your heart affects the health of your body and your life so much. It's not something I want to forget and it's not something I want to pretend doesn't matter here.

Exercises, food, all of those things matter. But it's not the only thing we should be talking about.

I've only truly begun to have a healthy body and to enjoy that body once I started to feel my spirit and mind.

Peace and Light to you all out there!!!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Photo Check In

Just so you all know that I am still on track (despite the turmoil I've been going through with regards to eating, I took a selfie for proof that I'm not over here gaining weight and getting sad:

Not flexing here- earning my abs!

I'm at 122.8 today (back in range) and it makes me EXTRAORDINARILY happy that I'm able to affect my weight without calorie counting.

I overdid it socially and went off paleo last week. This week I am focusing on clean, whole, paleo foods and listening for true hunger.

I'm also taking 15 minutes out of my day to do yoga and 15 minutes to do body-weight strength training.

Feeling fit and strong and trim and healthy!

I'm being careful, though, since not tracking is so new to me, but I'm optimistic that I can create a new life here!! 

Treating my dog to a little hike this morning instead of his normal walk. Got to get going!

Namaste <3

Monday, March 17, 2014


So some things I'm working on towards becoming a "normal eater" (in quotes author explains that eating normally is different for everyone):

- removing guilt and shame from eating

- recognizing true hunger and fullness

- not letting preconceived notions of when and how much I SHOULD eat dictate my habits 

- noticing cravings

- trusting myself!!!

I've spent so much time completely ignoring my body: letting myself go hungry too long, eating past fullness because I had room in my calories for the day, or eating foods that were completely distasteful to me at the time because it's something I thought I should be eating.

For example, yesterday I fully and completely craved green and orange veggies!! (Remember, the past week was not a very nutritious one for me.) I think my body was telling me to get some really dense, rich nutrients into myself stat!

I let my cravings dictate what I ate, because I think I was in a great headspace- ready for clean, whole foods with a focus on veggies.

I also didn't not measure or track, but ate when hungry and to fullness (trusting that I wouldn't overdo it on veggies!!)

My food yesterday:

  • Coffee and a ton of water
  • Cottage cheese with blueberries 
  • Eggs with squash
  • Romaine lettuce wraps with roast sweet potatoes, ground turkey and salsa
  • Romaine salad with beets and roasted carrots
  • More ground turkey and sweet potatoes!!
  • Dark chocolate 

I bought lots of awesome goodies for the week: asparagus, broccoli, cantaloupe, mango, avocado, peas, etc.. Got plenty of eggs and meat (chicken sausage, ground turkey, ground beef, nitrate free turkey bacon).

Weight is still up this morning, but I'm ok with it. Feeling better after getting back on track!

Namaste <3

Detoxing (and struggling in social situations!)

Last week was an incredibly busy, social week:

Sunday- all day board game gathering (Game of Thrones game and dinner)

Monday- chill night in!!!

Tuesday- Girls' Night ;)

Wednesday- TV Night... Survivor! 

Thursday- Friend's birthday gathering

Friday- Book of Mormon

Saturday- Family gathering and dinner AND a late night hangout with friends 

Sunday- driving to and from Providence, RI to visit with new niece :)

Ayiyi!! Was exhausted by the end of it. I usually only socialize about two or three times a week max. We also ended up eating socially a whole lot last week, which we try not to do more than once or twice a week.

Some wins: I didn't drink alcohol at ANY of the events! I sipped on seltzer instead, not wanting the extra calories or the metabolism interference of alcohol. Chris and I also held true to No Chip 2014 (and there were a lot of chips!!)

Some fails: last week was perhaps the least Paleo week I've had in almost 2 years. Gah.

So I'm at 124.5, a pound and a half higher than I'm comfortable with. But I obviously earned that extra weight by eating grains several times last week. I definitely did not eat as many veggies last week as I like, either (last night I was absolutely desperate for a spinach salad, so I ate a big plate of spinach with mushrooms and radish... Needed raw nutrients!!)

This week will not be super social- Chris is away and I want to focus on my schoolwork, which means I will have plenty of time to focus on my health and fitness this week, as well.

I'm struggling with eating Paleo in social situations. I am so, so, so tempted by breads and cake like things.

So, we're going to do what works for us when we found that we were overindulging in chips in social situations, veering away from the Paleo template that makes us feel so amazing! We implemented No Chip December (which expanded into No Chip 2014 because it worked so well) to get real serious, make a promise to ourselves and to each other to stop doing things that are, in the end, very destructive.

Same thing is going to have to happen here with other non-Paleo treats in social situations. No Bread April (which I hope will go extraordinarily well and morph into me being completely Paleo in social situations for the rest of the year)!

I need to reassert and reaffirm the things I believe. I don't bring grains into my house, I don't want to eat them outside the house either. It really helps to make a firm commitment to and with Chris to succeed. It will be nice in future social situations to see him abiding by the promise we need, it gives me strength. Even just making a promise to myself, out loud and with clear rules, helps me succeed.

Not going to stay in my ideal weight range if I keep letting these social things derail me.

Leaving you with pictures of us with our new niece (we love her dearly!!!!):

Looking forward to my detox week- getting real about life progress and my physical and mental health.

Off to the grocery store!

Namaste <3

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Starting the weekend right...

... with a five mile hike at the local pine bush preserve!!

It was 40 degrees, didn't need snowshoes (the ice was grippy enough to bare boot!) AND no one else was using the trails!!

Koda was off leash the whole time (he's exhausted) and it was great to feel the sun on my face :)

Having corned beef and cabbage with my cousins tonight!!

Namaste, my friends!

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Rules of Normal Eating - what I'm getting out of it

"For disordered eaters, food and feeling have a special, unique relationship. You use eating - or not eating - and weight worries as a way to manage uncomfortable feelings that you may not even realize exist."

"As a restrictive eater, your excessive and obsessive control over what you can and can't eat and what you should weight - counting calories, limiting portion sizes, labeling foods good and bad, worrying about what you ate or might eat - is a misguided attempt to manage your emotional landscape."

"Uncomfortable feelings are not there to plague you, drive you crazy, make you depressed or sick, or cause you stress. Feelings, like food, have no hidden motives. All feelings are meant to do is provide the information you vitally need to make your life better and keep you from emotional and physical harm."

Using food/weight/etc quiets these feelings, but "if you keep the volume of your emotions turned down low, how will you make out what they are saying?"

- The Rules of "Normal" Eating by Karen Koenig

I'm liking MOST of this book. It's helping me to get real and see what I am doing that is irrational or rational, helpful or harmful.

The problem with this situation is that so many of my behaviors AT FACE VALUE are extremely healthy. But the emotions behind them are not.

And, other than obsessive calorie counting, I want to keep all of my behaviors. I eat healthy, clean, whole foods. I eat normal portions. I keep track of my physical health. I am physically fit.

I just want to change why I do these things.

I only want to do them because they are healthy and helpful!

Therapy's been really good. We don't talk about eating, really. We talk about those bigger things that I always try to drown out, those feelings and situations that make me really uncomfortable.

I DID make some progress on this before this year. For example:

When I was 10, and my mom died, I turned to food like crazy, just ate and ate and ate and never really thought about the fact that my mom was gone. This happened till I was obese and so wrapped up in the crazy situation I had created for myself (isolation, mostly) that I didn't even associate my obesity with that early trauma.

When I was in my early 20s, I forced myself to change. I substituted obsessive "healthy" eating for overeating. I still thought about food ALL. THE. TIME.

However, with time comes some wisdom. My dad died when I was 30. I knew the connection between my mom's death and my weight. I refused to drown myself in food after his death, though the pain and the grief was almost unbearable. But I sat in it. I felt it all. I felt every awful, raw emotion. It took many months. But I stayed at a stable weight and actually went THROUGH instead of around the process of grief.


So I can do it. I can feel these things. I can acknowledge them. They make me uncomfortable for a reason! It's a clue that I don't like what's going on and I should work to change it. That's all.

Feelings will pass. Anxiety will ebb.

My biggest problem with eating right now is eating because of social anxiety! I am technically an extrovert, I love being around people and in groups... but I oddly get very anxious in those situations, too, and will eat to quiet them in the moment so I can enjoy the group.

Awareness is a big part of the battle.

I am glad for this book and for therapy - I am looking closer at my beliefs and the causes of my actions. I don't think I will change much outwardly (I will still eat paleo and mentally moderate my portions, etc.. I will still work out several times a week... still care about my fitness and my appearance), but I think it is important for me to change inwardly. To become a more well rounded person.

Alright, my friends, have a wonderful weekend!!

I am going to Book of Mormon tonight (the South Park creator's show on Broadway... except it is at our local theater!). Going to dress up cute and have a nice date with Chris :)

Namaste <3

Thursday, March 13, 2014

More Paleo Tacos/Spices

First, I'll say things are going well. Still not tracking and my weight is holding steady (122.8... Would probably have been down a little but I over indulged in some chocolate last night - but for the most part, diet and exercise have been spot on!).

We have a busy weekend starting tonight, though it's only Thursday! Tonight is a friend's birthday get-together, Friday night we are seeing Book of Mormon at the theater, Saturday we have a get-together for my family and Sunday we are finally getting to go see our new niece!!

So, with all that AND not tracking, I have to be a little careful!

Anyway- tacos!

Still had plenty of romaine lettuce left, so we decided to use them while fresh and crispy. 

Used a TON of spices to jazz up some ground turkey meat to give it a Mexican flare. Also chopped up some garlic to cook with the meat for more flavor.

Sautéed onions, mushrooms and peppers for a topping (also had fresh tomatoes for a topping!).

Tossed some tomato salsa on top and another yummy dinner (and EASY dinner):

Spices used: cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, garlic powder, black pepper and a bit of cayenne.

As I said in the comments yesterday- I am pretty new to the world of spices! My whole growing up, food was pretty bland (the main spice used was pepper... Usually we just covered things in cheese or ketchup hahaha).

As I discovered nutrition and the importanance of cooking for health, I started to experiment. When I would eat out or eat at someone's house, I'd ask about the spices. I'd watch cooking shows. I would just go to the store and buy a bunch of spices and try them out (sometime successfully, sometimes not).

Now that I know the flavors that I like the spices I need to achieve those flavors, it's really easy to spice my food.

Experiment, practice, practice :)

I think anyone and everyone can be a competent cook. It's a skill like driving - we all can do it, some better than others, but it's really about how much you practice, pay attention and care.

Time to get moving... Though the icy snow world outside isn't super inviting haha :)

Namaste <3

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Paleo Fish Tacos

Dinner last night was... awesome. Totally. Chris and I were fish taco lovers before we went paleo and I would order them every time I saw them on a menu! I had many varieties (different fish, different spices, different salsas, etc) and loved them all :)

But we've been making paleo breaded fish off and on over the past two years we've been paleo, using ground flax seed or almond meal, etc.

Last night was almond meal breaded haddock with mango/avocado salsa!

I'll give you the recipe of exactly what we did last night:

First, I posted about the mango salsa a few days ago. This is a must to complete the flavor palate :D

The fish:

- buy haddock fillet (I got 3/4 of a pound, MORE than enough for two people haha)

- cut into bite size chunks

- have three bowls ready: one with coconut flour, one with a mixed egg, one with almond meal spiced with your favorite flavors (we did pepper, salt, garlic powder and paprika)

- dredge fish first in fine coconut flour

- then dredge fish in the egg

- then dredge finally in the almond/spice mix

- put on baking sheet and bake at 365 degrees for about 10-15 minutes!

The fish was perfectly tender and moist while still being fully cooked. The breading stuck beautifully (and wasn't too thick!).

We used romaine lettuce leaves as the taco shell, filled them up with about 3 fish chunks and salsa, a dash of hot sauce and VOILA!

Our beautiful "breaded" fish!

Ohhh yeah, so pretty!!!

I ate three "tacos" but only really needed two for dinner (but leftover fish isn't as good, haha, and MAN was this good).

As I've said before, I don't usually like mimicking the Standard American Diet with paleo alternatives... but using a lettuce leaf as a vehicle for my delicious noms? Totally acceptable to me :) Also, we rarely ever get to use the almond meal, because we never bake or bread anything!! This was a nice change of texture for us.

Also - I will reiterate you don't need complicated recipe books, just a basic understanding of cooking techniques and flavor profiles. We did not use a recipe for this, just worked with what we had and what we know we like! So easy :)

Keep it simple everyone. Simple can be tasty and filling. No need to complicate your life.

Have a great day, my friends.

Namaste <3

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The 1200 Calories Myth?

I ran across this article: 1200 Calories by Sophia Herbst and found it really interesting. I have also been guilty of this magic 1200 calories idea. When I first started losing weight in my low 20s, I ran across this information on the internet and decided I would never eat below 1200 calories but would try to eat as close to that as possible (usually hitting closer to 1400 because 1200 is NOT a lot of food, even bulked out with veggies).

It's interesting to me NOW, after almost a decade of learning about my body and about better nutrition, that I never eat below 1500 calories (and often closer to 1800). And I still can lose weight eating like this. I had a lot of things wrong early on - I definitely was starving myself early on, in retrospect, and that led to crazy binges because my body was so freaking hungry.

I just threw that article out there, just so everyone can start thinking about WHY they believe what they do about food/calories/nutrition and if that comes from a credible source or not!

A decade ago, I never really checked my sources or the science behind things. I always DOUBLE check, now. :D

In other news - things are going well. I weighed in back in my acceptable range today (122.8) after being up a few pounds from eating non-paleo during the weekend.

Still not tracking though.

Starting to think I perhaps will not go back to it unless something changes.

I really, really like not tracking. A decade of recording almost every bite of food that has gone in my mouth. Definitely time for a change, for me personally. I was.... tired. Frustrated.

I am still eating the foods I normally would. Eating them in the same portions I would when I tracked.

Tomorrow, I think I will try and discuss some things I am picking up from the book of "Normal Eating" I am reading. Some things I LOVE, some things have opened my eyes, and some things I don't like or don't apply to me. But that is for a day when I have more time - running out of the house after I hit publish here!

Namaste <3

Monday, March 10, 2014

Less than stellar performance..

The rest of the weekend was really nice. Warmer temps and sunshine do a lot to keep depressive/anxious thoughts at bay!

Did a lot of walking, a lot of quality time with my husband and dog. That's all I'm really looking for!!

We did an early morning grocery shop (the co-op was so quiet because of the time change- I think most people were still asleep!... Made for a lovely, calm experience). Got a TON of beautiful, fresh, paleo food for the house.

We saw friends twice over the weekend. Once to celebrate a friend's new job and once to go play the Game of Thrones board game (which was fun but hard to learn and took forever!):

I didn't track. And the same thing that happens every weekend still happened... I ended up gaining weight. Was up 1.2 on Sunday and up another 1.8 today. Arg.

It was really the fact that I veered away from paleo too much. During the week, I'm almost 99% paleo... Then in the weekends? Sometimes I can stay paleo and sometimes I go completely off the rails.

But I won't let feelings of guilt and shame mar the great weekend I had! 

I liked not tracking, but want to make sure there is a downward trend starting today rather than an upward one. I strongly feel the desire to stranglehold control the situation to make SURE I lose this week. But I think I'm going to take a calming breath and relax, eat how I know how to eat.

Still reading my book about "normal eating" and am pleased they bring in Buddhist ideas about mindfulness into it. I'm challenging some deeply held beliefs I've had for a long time that are hurtful but I've always just accepted (things like I am worthless/unloveable if I'm overweight or that I can't trust myself/my body). The book asks the reader to really look at beliefs and thoughts and see if they are rational/irrational or helpful/hurtful.

Trying to bring this all together -- learn from everything, including my mistakes, and emerge from it healthier and happier :)

Will keep you updated!

For now, I'm finishing my coffee, heading to work, looking forward to my afternoon dog walk, and eating clean/paleo when I'm truly hungry :)

Namaste <3

Sunday, March 9, 2014

So far....

I am having an extraordinarily lovely weekend!!!

I feel very... Free. Not tracking feels good in a way I didn't expect. I'm still keeping a mental note of portions and when I've eaten, but trying to listen to my hunger cues mainly!

I went out to brunch with Chris yesterday and ate till full, leaving half my food on the plate. I usually feel like I should eat everything on my plate (a mix of how I grew up, feeling like I'll never get more- strange depression era attitude!, and not wanting to waste money). 

I got to the store early, stocked up on veggies like whoa! Also made a lovely mango salsa for the week:

Mix: 2 mangos, 2 avocados, 1/2 red onion, 1-2 tomatoes! Spices: black pepper, sea salt, Hungarian paprika, cumin and garlic powder. Mmmmm.

Lots of dog walks this weekend too- the weather is warming and I can FEEL spring coming!!

Also lots of coffee drinking and hanging out:

Going to a friend's house today to play board games and eat chili. I'm bringing a huge yummy salad :)

Did a strength workout yesterday- taking an extra walk today (a mile walk to our friend's- and a mile back :) ).

Feeling great!! Freedom and sunshine and confidence and feeling loved. Good things!!

Namaste <3

Friday, March 7, 2014

No Tracking, Day 2

Today was my No Grains, No Gains monthly blogroll post- check it out below!

But I also wanted to do a quick check in since yesterday was my first day of not tracking my food. Usually if I'm not tracking my food it's because I'm on vacation or have some other crazy day planned- I always, always track my food into my calorie counter app on my phone on a normal day.

I think I did well. I tried really hard to listen to my body and it's cues, to eat clean and whole and Paleo food, and to remember everything I've learned about nutrition over the years.

We had this awesome dinner (turkey and chicken meatloaf, mashed sweet potatoes and organic peas!):

I weighed in this morning because I'm not about to give up tracking my food and weighing myself daily. Not yet, not now. I need some way of making sure I'm still on track!! I'm not in that frame of mind where I 100% trust myself and my decisions. I need some checks and balances.

Well- I was down to 121.8 after being 123 all week! It was a nice thing to see on the scale that after my first day of not tracking my food I didn't go crazy and eat ALL the things!!

Another very normal, clean and Paleo day for me today. I actually went out and bought some nice work clothes for my upcoming substitute teacher jobs and potential job interviews in the future. I look kind of bangin' in the suit!! Feeling great :)

I haven't really gone out and bought clothes in the past couple years, because my job hasn't been steady and I've been unemployed for large chunk of that. But it was only in the last two years that I got down to the low 120s- and it made me realize that I have no idea how small I am. I have no fitted clothes that fit THIS body- just this body with 15 extra pounds on it. (And saggy, droopy clothes do not look professional!)

So I didn't know what to do or where to go or what to pick up in the store! I got a variety of sizes. A lot of fours were too big on me. It's really strange, because in my head I really should be going to the larger sizes first. 

Ahh, body dysmorphia at its best!

I see a big hulking beast of a woman in the mirror when I stand in front of it. But all my clothes are tiny. Maybe someday my brain will catch up with my body. Another rung on the ladder of work that is life :) 

So, to sum up, I'm feeling very good and very positive about the changes I'm making in my life. It's important for me to move into the next phase of maintenance where I'm comfortable with what I'm doing and not holding on for dear life. Where I'm comfortable with my own body and trust myself.

Onwards and upwards!!!!

No Grains, No Gains - Health Benefits!!


This is a great topic for our monthly No Grains, No Gains blogroll! Because it really fits in to my pursuits this year: HEALTH!

If you've read for a while, I obviously am a big proponent of total health: body, mind and spirit. I believe that if you heal your body (and mind, and spirit), then your weight will normalize to a healthy range and you will be filled with all types of energy.

So what health benefits have I experienced since going Paleo two years ago?

Well, I had been maintaining my weight around 135 before Paleo. I was still eating grains, though I had eliminated fast food and reduced the amount of processed food in my diet. So I wasn't what you might consider eating the Standard American Diet as I had cleaned it up a fair amount.

However - my weight trended higher than I wanted and I had excess belly fat. I was pretty fatigued all the time. I also had itchy rashes on my legs CONSTANTLY. Literally scratching my legs at night till they were raw because the rashes were so bothersome. I would put all sorts of topical creams and oils on it and nothing helped. Why? Because there was nothing external causing my rashes.

The real culprit? INFLAMMATION. 

Inflammation inside my body, deep down on the cellular level. Making my face break out in pimples, causing rashes, making me hold onto excess weight, bringing down my energy levels, etc.

Then, early in 2012, I tried the Whole30. Strict Paleo - no grains, no dairy, no legumes, no alcohol, no sugar aside from fruit juice.

By the end of that month, my rashes had COMPLETELY disappeared, I was experiencing energy levels higher than I could ever remember, I had no pimples on my face (though they do come back because of hormones when I'm menstruating), AND I dropped 10 pounds.

I've been maintaining a weight under 125 pounds since the day I tried Paleo, because I've never gone back.

I do slip up occasionally. When I do, in a matter of minutes or hours, the rashes on my legs come back. If I eat white potatoes, I get hives on my arms. My face breaks out.

Those things are not psychological. They are real effects of introducing modern wheat/potatoes/other grains into a clean body.

I never noticed these things much, even though I lived with them most of my life. The only time I noticed the incredible inflammation in my body and the symptoms (weight gain, rashes, pimples and fatigue) was when I stopped ingesting grains (wheat especially). I also strongly limit alcohol and sugars. I have dairy every once in a great while (but I am lactose intolerant, so I need to take lactaid if I do, ha). Legumes haven't made their way back into my diet, either.

So - do you suffer from a host of problems that can be attributed to basic full body inflammation???

Give Paleo or Primal a try. Just a try. A month. Why not? It can NOT hurt you - eating a diet focused on a whole, clean foods, mostly veggies with nuts, seeds, fruits, healthy fats (coconut oil, avocado, etc) and lean protein will NEVER, NEVER hurt you. It might be a hard diet to follow, but you will get all the nutrition you need.

And if your symptoms go away? Huge plus! Lose a little weight? Why not!

And if it doesn't work for you (even though you didn't cheat at all!), you've got nothing to lose. :)

I would also caution people to keep a keen eye on the quality of their food: keep it organic when possible, eliminate nitrates TOTALLY in your meats, keep added hormones and antibiotics out of your food. No processed foods or minimally processed if necessary (like frozen veggies or someone mixed up the baba ganoush for you, etc).

Eating HIGH QUALITY vegetables, fruits, meats (keep red meat to a minimum) and fats is the way I got to maintain a low body weight, eliminate my rashes and pimples and start living life with energy!!

Enjoy your day, my friends!!!

If you want to see how other women who follow a paleo/primal template heave experienced health benefits from their diets, give my fellow bloggers a read:

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Not Tracking?

First, very interesting, an anonymous commenter said something that my therapist said to me as well, basically "Don't avoid social situations because of food."

And I get that, I do. And I usually don't! I see my friends several times a week and rarely change my behavior based on knowing food will be there (though I often wish there was less junk and less a focus on food in general). But last night was my birthday and right now, it's hard for me not to eat in social situations, so I decided for a quiet night with my husband who has my best interests at heart and knows my demons :)

But, rest assured, I'm dedicated to learning to be around junk food and controlling myself- so I never have to fret about a social situation again. I'm just not fully there yet!

However, I DID relent and go out to dinner with Chris. I ate well all day and had room for two sushi rolls in my day. We love the place and had a nice time (we also walked 1.2 miles to the restaurant... And 1.2 back, meaning I walked a lot yesterday when you add in the dog walk!) ... I didn't gain any weight, either :)

So- yes, a nice meal, a nice night, bad TV, hanging with my man and my animals. It was perfect!

On to topic #2... And I want to try and be careful in my wording so I'm not misunderstood.

I'll put this out there first: I believe calorie counting and tracking food is an excellent and useful tool! It helped me get control of my eating after a decade of overeating. It helped me learn proper portion sizes and how to eat normally.

And I will also put this out there: I've been tracking almost every bite of food I've taken for almost ANOTHER decade. It's gotten to the point I don't really listen to or understand physical cues about hunger/fullness. I know how much food I should eat for maintenance and for weight loss - I eat that amount, no matter what. For example, if a 500 calorie dinner fits into my night, I will put 500 calories of food on my plate and eat it, no matter what, no matter if I'm full.

This all leads to me overeating in other situations, like at a party or a friends house, when I don't track AND have no ability to listen to my body- to realize it's satiated and full.

I've wanted to stop the obsessive tracking of my food for a couple years. I think I'm ready to try, to work on other tools to maintain my weight (like relying on my knowledge about nutrition, working on eating when hungry and stopping when full, getting connected to my body).

My therapist said something that helped me put it into perspective: I don't have to think of this as giving up tracking forever!' If this doesn't work, I wasn't ready or didn't have the right tools/mindset and I gain weight, I can go back to tracking. Work on things for a while before trying to give it up again.

After a decade of being tied to my phone or a notepad 6 times a day (meals, snacks, coffee, etc).... I'm ready to see what I do with my freedom.

Thankfully- I eat the same things everyday, so I DO know what are proper portions. 

My plan: stay super clean and strict paleo  while not tracking. Focus on nutrition, a variety of vegetables, etc. It is hard to put on lots of weight when I'm eating mainly veggies!!

This is something I need to try. Things have gotten too controlling. I'm controlling my food/body to manage other anxieties. That's not how I want to live.

So this is a step. It might work, it might be the wrong step. I won't know till I try!

Again, I'll say, this is for me- a situation that has become too obsessive and time consuming. For others in their weight loss journey, I think tracking is AWESOME and often necessary.

I welcome thoughts and comments. Just know this isn't a spur of the moment decision... I've wanted this for a long time. Having the support of my husband, a therapist, and this blog finally made it time to try.

Namaste my friends, thank you for the birthday wishes :)