Monday, December 22, 2014

My Whiplash Year

I have been seeing all of these "My Year" things on Facebook. I thought about doing them but couldn't. Why? Because it's tagged with "It's been a great year."

I honestly can't say that. My year has been...a year. More has happened this year than I think has happened in my entire life put together. Here are the events that have made up this year.

1.      I started a new job
2.      Started dating the Love of my Life
3.      I closed my business
4.      My mom had an accident that turned into spinal surgery, then turned into almost dying several times, then turned into a Trach and stomach tube. Then turned into a miraculous recovery.
5.      During this time, I realized I could trust the Lord in anything, even potentially losing one of the most important people in my life.
6.      My dad’s cancer flared back up, then flared back down.
7.      I ran my second half-marathon, in which my boyfriend (now fiancĂ©e) surprised me at the finish line
8.      I quit running for good
9.      My dear friends (and future in-laws) moved away
10.  We celebrated my parents 40th wedding anniversary (something we didn’t think we would get)
11.  I completed a Whole 30 and changed the way I ate completely
12.  I got engaged to the love of my life
13.  We celebrated my cousin’s wedding
14.  I started weight lifting
15.  I started running again
16.  Then I remembered how much it sucks, and stopped.
17.  I bought a wedding dress that was smaller than the smallest size I have worn since high school
18.  I got randomly chosen to be audited by the IRS
19.  Kurt and I hosted our first Thanksgiving

I have had more laughter, joy, anguish, anxiety, and tears in this year than I have had my ENTIRE life.  Here’s to a completely boring and mundane 2015. Oh wait, I’m getting married…never mind:)

Saturday, November 22, 2014

It's All About That Face

I made a choice for my life this morning.

I threw away my scale for good.

I threw away my scale once before when I was really struggling with eating disorder tendencies, but I still always planned on weighing myself for progress.

This time, I don't plan on weighing myself for progress anymore at all. Sure, I will likely still have to weigh in for doctor's offices and insurance policies.

But the scale can no longer control me.

Why did I decide this? One reason, the Whole 30.

After I finished the Whole 30, I got really obsessed with my weight again (a 13 lb loss in 30 days will do that). So I began to struggle with binge eating in a way that I haven't since I got into recovery for this eating disorder three years ago.

I would do the Whole 30 type eating for a few days and then binge eat. At first I blamed the restriction of the program and went back to counting calories for a while. This worked except for one thing: I started to get nosebleeds, headaches, and joint problems.

The Whole 30 is the optimal way for me to eat. I know this and my rational brain wants to eat this way for the rest of my life. As someone who has struggled with an autoimmune disorder and regular sickness for my entire life, I found freedom and wellness in eating the Whole 30 way that I haven't found in my other 31 years of life.

But when I brought the scale back into the equation (you aren't allowed to weigh in on the Whole 30 at all), I found that I began eating this way for weight loss instead. This led me to make decisions based on what would be best for my weight loss (or cause super fast weight loss) than what would be best for my body.

The thing about Whole 30 eating is that my body self-regulates. It feels amazing and energetic and doesn't overeat. Sometimes I might eat more and sometimes I might eat less based on my hormones. But I never felt the crazy sugar or binge eating hangovers that I felt when I eat other food.

My ultimate goal is to get to a place where I am eating like this ALL THE TIME because it's best for me and because I am a more enjoyable and productive individual at social events when I'm eating this way.

I am going to allow myself some indulgences on Thanksgiving and Christmas with the intention of making my normal weekdays and weekends Whole 30 compliant. But I am actually hoping that by next year, I can even get through the holidays eating in this new healthy way.

It's hard to feel that you are missing out on the fun when you can't eat the delicious holiday food and drinks that people make. But what I am starting to learn is that family is fun, games are fun, giving back is fun, and cooking new and healthy dishes are fun. Nosebleeds, brain cloudiness, and energy depletion are not fun...even if that gluten free cupcake is the most delicious thing on earth.

So the scale has to go. Because it can't be about my weight anymore. It has to be about my health...and the weight loss will follow when it's ready.

Also, pictures (and sizes) don't lie.

I weigh the exact same amount in both pictures. But in the second picture I am actually six (yes, SIX) sizes smaller. My body composition is changing and I feel better than I have in years. So, I've decided that I don't need the scale to tell me how to move forward. I am ready to trust myself instead.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Whole 30, Paleo Style, Clean Eating

Recently, I have been looking up a lot of recipes to try to turn Whole 30/Paleo eating into a lifestyle. In doing so, I have come across many blogs knocking the Whole 30 (too restrictive, why would you have to give up legumes, no energy so quit after the 5th day)...are some of the things I am reading.

I wanted to speak to this. First of all, I noticed that not a single person who is knocking the Whole 30 has actually completed a Whole 30. Why? Because most (if not all) people could probably benefit in cleaning up your diet this much and if they had actually tried a Whole 30, they probably wouldn't be knocking it.

People quitting on the 5th day? I probably would have made out with an Ebola patient for a Reece's Peanut Butter cup on the 5th day. Changing your life is's not easy. But the payoff is well worth it.

The reason that I wanted to speak to this is because of the people that have serious Autoimmune diseases. The Whole 30 would probably save these people's lives, or at least provide a quality of life that they haven't known in 10-20 years.

That's what it did for me.

I remember four years ago when I was trying to go gluten free. I had been diagnosed with Celiac Disease when I was 21 and continued eating it for six years. I just "couldn't" give up my cinnamon rolls and pizza. Because of this, I had ridiculous weight gain, I was sick all the time, and I truly thought that I had Bipolar Disorder (my mood swings were THAT extreme.)

But every time I read something that said "gluten free is crap" or "this lifestyle is too restrictive," it fed my desire to keep eating gluten. This happened until I had an amazing dietician who spoke truth to me (that I actually listened to...sorry mom:). She said "Do you know what HAPPENS to your body every time you eat gluten?" Knowing that, really hearing that, led me to a quality of life that I had never seen before.

Then with the Whole 30, I found a quality of life that I never knew existed.

So here am I to say "Do you know what HAPPENS to your body every time you eat sugar, fast food, and for many people..dairy and grains?" Do you know what happened to my body when I reintroduced legumes? (something that I thought was harmless and even good for me)..every old injury started coming back. I couldn't move for an evening because of back pain.

The thing would you know unless you tried it? It's really only 30 days, for Pete's Sake. Don't listen to the people who can't emotionally divorce themselves from food enough to try it. Listen to the people who have tried it, and came out stronger (and happier) on the other end.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Stress Eating

I finally decided to bite the bullet and work on my stress eating. It has been a difficult, emotional roller coaster week. During the Whole 30, they suggest only eating three meals a day with no snacks. I never really did that and kept snacking throughout. I still had amazing health benefits from my Whole 30, but not as many psychological benefits as I could of. All week I have had three meals a day only and no snacks. My meals consisted of only Whole 30 foods, just because Whole 30 foods make me feel amazing and don't rev up any sugar cravings.

It has been HARD. Because I've never truly addressed my stress eating in a way where I wasn't allowed to do it at all. Every time I have been stressed this week, I have had to find another avenue rather than food to deal with it.

I broke down on the phone with my mom on Tuesday just because I was soooo emotional and could not eat those emotions. I would have told you before that I was a stress eater "sometimes," but I didn't realize how much and often I use food to cope with stress. When I was on the Whole 30, I still used "healthy" foods to cope with my stress. It's amazing the hold it has on me.

So, I've been taking a lot of walks, having a lot of conversations, and I have two stress balls in my car that I have squeezed the life out of. Right now, I am experiencing a lot of stress and I am choosing to write this blog rather than go get M&M's from the store. This is a journey that rather than doing it for 30 days or 100 days, I am just going to take one day at a time. TODAY, I'm not going to eat my stress. And it's hard.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Why Quitting Was the Answer

I quit my Whole 100 yesterday.

What came with this? Sigh's of relief, joy, elation, and freedom.

My Whole 30 was amazing, incredible, freeing, and eye opening. My Whole 100 was stressful, frustrating, irritating and imprisoning.

After spending time seeking some counsel on this issue from people I care about. I realized that I had started my Whole 100 out of an unhealthy place. I struggled with an eating disorder for 10 years and sometimes it rears up its ugly head again. That's what was happening during the Whole 100.

See, after I finished the Whole 30, I struggled a bit with sugar cravings. But I had felt so free and good and amazing on the Whole 30, that I decided I wanted to eat like this forever. So I decided to control my eating again..for 100 days.

By the way, even the Whole 30 people kind of tell you not to do this for 100 days. It's an amazing, incredible cleanse. But it's a cleanse because it's very clean and very difficult. My brain was filled with stress over this.

Also, this current season of my life has been filled with stress. I am wedding planning and recently found out I'm one of the few lucky ones that got randomly selected to be audited by the IRS for statistical reasons. This is not a season of life where I want to cook every meal.

But that doesn't mean I am going off the rails. I am still choosing to put in 20 miles a week of either walking or running. And most of my meals are still Paleo as that is what makes me feel best. It's just that this morning, I'm eating...and thoroughly gluten free oatmeal. And I couldn't be happier:)

Monday, September 8, 2014

Whole 30-Success!

I can't believe I just finished the Whole 30! I am quite excited about this accomplishment. But more than anything, I am excited about the benefits that have happened because of it. I really have seen so many wonderful things come of it. These are the benefits:

1. My sugar cravings are gone. Occasionally I would desire to emotionally eat (on day 9 and 22 primarily) but the "crack type" sugar cravings with the "gotta have it" mentality are gone.
2. My energy level is awesome! This morning I woke up at 4:45. That was weird.
3. I feel I am being more productive with my job (which has a lot of paperwork that I like to put off)
4. I am not having any stomach problems. I have gone almost 30 days with no stomach problems whatsoever (there was one questionable stomach day on the way home from Minnesota with my boyfriend but that might have been motion sickness).
5. I have these keloid scars on my shoulders from a really bad sunburn when I was 18. These scars have flattened considerably since the start of my Whole 30.
6. I like eggs. This is a food I have been trying to get myself to like FOREVER and have never been successful. Prior to the Whole 30, they have made me gag. Now I eat them every day and actually crave them.
7.I have gone down two pants sizes. Seriously, I bought a new pair of jeans LAST WEEK and they are already falling down.
8. I have lost 13 lbs.
9. I have had almost no Acid Reflux or breathing problems during this Whole 30. Prior to this, both of these things had gotten pretty bad. This is actually the primary reason I decided to complete the Whole 30. 

Things I have learned during the Whole 30
1. You can do this anywhere. I had one going away barbecue, three family events (all with delicious food), and one visit to my boyfriend's family's house in Minnesota (thankfully, his parents were awesome at cooking to my Whole 30.) during my Whole 30. It was actually kind of fun to come home from vacations and eating out and not feel bloated and like I gained 100 lbs
2.  It's awesome to eat vegetables for breakfast, especially spinach
3. I am truly allergic to nuts. On day 23, I had a Whole 30 approved Larabar while out of town and my ears filled with fluid so fast I couldn't hear out of them very well for a few hours. I had previously been having ear fluid in my ears before starting this Whole 30 and now I know why. Anytime I would attempt to eat any nuts (other than macadamia...weird), my ears would itch. But the Larabar was the worst experience.
4. If you want to embark on a Whole 30, a good support system is key. Both times that I wanted to quit (days 9 and 22), my boyfriend helped remind me why I was doing this and that I didn't want to regret not finishing.
5. Anytime I finish a goal like this, it builds my character a little more. Last September I ran a marathon. I really don't think I could have done a Whole 30 without having run the marathon. Because that experience taught me to keep going even when I feel like I had nothing left to give. Hopefully, this experience will help me reach other goals down the line.

Now what?

I am going to only reintroduce two foods which are gluten free grains and peanut butter. I obviously won't be reintroducing gluten because I have Celiac disease and don't plan on reintroducing dairy either (I already know that eating dairy makes me feel like crap, so will only ever be eating dairy if it is a really special occasion). I plan on living a mostly Whole 30 life with the occasionally indulgences. When I looked at the label for my gluten free bread, I realized it was a dessert with all the sugar so will be eating it sparingly.

I also set a new 30 day goal of doing 4 miles a day for 30 days.

All in all, it was an incredible experience:)

Friday, July 11, 2014

A No Good Berry Bad Day

So I haven't been writing on this blog lately. Not because my health and fitness journey has taken a turn for the worse (actually it's been really good.) Life has just been busy and I haven't really made it a priority.

Three weeks ago I read a book talking about the negative effect of all the starches in my gluten free food. So I decided to get rid of all my gluten free breads, bagels, crackers etc. and only eat food that is naturally gluten free.

I began making a delicious breakfast of wholemade hashbrowns, strawberries, blueberries and bananas. It was delicious. Breakfast was the main meal that I needed to change since I was a gluten free toast eater most mornings.

Doesn't it look delicious? I know it does

Also, about three weeks ago I stopped being able to take deep breaths. At first it was a little annoying.I chalked it up to exercise induced asthma (something that I was told I had a couple of years ago.)

During this time, I also realized how amazing blueberries are as a snack. Frozen blueberries taste better than candy! No joke.

As I increased my berry intake each day (thinking I was the awesomest cancer fighting antioxidant eating person ever) ability to allow oxygen to come into my body seemed to get worse and worse. I spent the last week completely miserable, barely being able to take deep breaths and finally made an appointment with the doctor for next week.

My friend then suggested I take a couple of Benadryl just to see if this would help. It did, immensely. I then realized this thing that was shutting down my airway must be an allergy.

Thankfully, I track everything I eat so was able to look at my food logs and see what changes I had made in my diet over the last three weeks.

It turned out to be the evil berry. I could see this berry pointing and laughing at me. "Haha, you thought you were being healthy....thwarted."

I decided that it must just be strawberries that I was allergic to. Strawberries would be fine. I can deal with giving up strawberries. I immediately stopped eating all berries and immediately was able to breath again. I mean, it was as if breathing just came natural to me:)

Shortly after, I decided to eat some frozen blueberries for a snack. My airway immediately shut down and I struggled to take deep breaths again. This couldn't be true could it? My beloved blueberries actually hate me? But I thought we were friends.

Immediately, I felt discouraged.

I told my mom about it (who also has a berry thanks for those gene's, mom). And she gave me some excellent advice:

Get over it.

Yep, you see, my mom actually spent almost three months in the hospital not eating anything. Now that she is able to eat again, she is still allergic to most things. Her words of advice were: "you just have to appreciate what food you can have."

That's the truth isn't it? No matter what circumstances you are given, you have to deal with it...and ultimately the way you choose to deal with the circumstances could mean success or failure. For my mom, it meant the difference between living and dying. I'm thankful for the example that she set as I move forward on my health journey.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Managing the Crazy

I haven't written  on this blog for a few months because I have had major life changes as of recently. I changed jobs, start dating someone awesome and had a family emergency to deal with. All of this while trying to train for a half-marathon.

So how do you eat healthy, exercise and lose weight during this time? I haven't really been.

I started training in February for the half-marathon and have been keeping up the training pretty well. However, over the last couple of weeks, my mother has had some near fatal surgeries that have caused me to have to head to the hospital in my parent's town twice.

Now it's about adjusting to a new normal. Right now my mom can't talk. I used to talk to my mom on the phone multiple times a week. There is still some hope that her paralyzed vocal chords will heal, but at this point it's just a waiting game.

Everyone is always asking me how she is doing and while I know it's with good intention and kind hearts, it's just an exhausting question for me now.

While I was at the hospital several times over the last few weeks, I found myself eating a dinner of a Snickers bar and a shared bag of Cheetos with my boyfriend. I just didn't have time to worry about healthy food.

However, I also read this magazine while in the hospital waiting room. It discussed eating healthy and how we lie to ourselves about what healthy eating is. (Like baked cheetos are fine as long we count them). It sparked a light bulb in me about how much better I feel when my diet is clean. This week I have cleaned up my diet a ton, been focusing on lean meats, veggies, fruits and greek yogurt. I realized that eating like this helps unmanageable situations seem a lot more manageable due to the fact that my brain is not cloudy with preservatives and can actually think clearly.

Because I started eating healthy again and following my workout schedule, I am finally seeing the scale go down as well. My plan is to run the half-marathon in May at my lowest weight since I started this journey.

Thank you everyone for prayers for my mom. We are so happy that she is still with us and thankful to the Lord for all the support that he has provided us during this time. Plus, she is quite the fighter so I have a lot of hope for her healing.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Adventure Day

Today, I decided to do 5 miles at Elmwood Park by my house. It is still pretty cold out but warm enough to get a nice outdoor workout in. As of recently I have made some drastic changes in my life including getting a new job. This morning, I felt like a giant weight had been lifted of my shoulder and I felt happier than I have felt in a long time.

Because of this, I wasn't really in the mood for a normal workout. As it turns out, I also forgot to charge my Garmin. It turned off at about 2.2 miles. At that point, I thought it might fun to start exploring the park. As I looked next to the sidewalk that I run on, I saw what looked like a little trail going into a wooded area. I decided to take the trail down to this cement log looking structure that I decided I wanted to walk across. After that, I saw an actual log over water that was a little more narrow. "Should I try it?" I thought. I suppose the worst that could have happened would have been falling and getting really wet (the water wasn't deep).

So I started to walk over this log and my legs were shaking. I went back to the beginning. Then I tried again but my legs kept shaking. I finally decided I was just going to do it and I crossed the log. Upon crossing the log, I realized there wasn't really a good way back out of the woods except using branches to hike myself up or going back across the logs. So I decided to use branches to hike myself up. I ended up falling numerous times and finally had to crawl out of the woods.

It was the best workout I have had in a loooong time (and my bodymedia armband said I burned 1000 calories during it:).

Now I really want to do an adventure race like a tough mudder. Today was soooo much fun!

I don't bring my phone on my workouts usually so here is me striking a pose right after I got home.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Changing My Eating Patterns-Why I am trying to eat more intuitively.

Everyone has the "perfect" diet in their back pocket. I have noticed that if you talk to almost anyone, you will find that they have the answer. It could be paleo, weight watchers, counting calories, vegan or a million different options.

I have tried all of these things. I have also failed at all of these things.

Counting calories has helped take off about 60 lbs, meal planning helped me take off the other 40. Paleo makes me feel amazing but does not seem to be super sustainable. I would be the meanest person alive if I ever try to be vegan again.

I have gone through a bit of a journey over the last year with my weight loss. Some good things have happened (more weight loss, sustained weight loss) and great exercise things have happened (half-marathon and marathon.)

But I would be lying if I said I'm not feeling stuck right now. For the last 4 months or so, I have lost absolutely nothing.

I know why. I don't really believe in the elusive weight loss plateau. I believe there is always a reason. I believe my reason is that weight loss is like have to continue evolving or you won't make any progress.

Calorie counting did great things for me for a long time. When I was super overweight, just counting was really enough to lose. But when you get to a certain weight, the math evens out. Now I either have to spend years on the treadmill or significantly deprive myself to reach weight loss goals in this way.

As I have tried to make one of those things work (hours and hours on the treadmill or eating salad every day), I find that I HATE life when I do these things.

As I was getting really discouraged and entering the cycle of insanity again and again, I decided to try Crossfit. I wanted to try it just because it was different and it would at least take me out of the cycle of insanity. (It was a tough decision because Crossfit is EXPENSIVE).

Now I've been doing Crossfit for about two weeks and I've learned something: maybe this whole process needs to be fun again.

I've done things in Crossfit that I haven't done since I was a kid. Even though it's hard, I love trying to pull myself up on rings and I find stepping on a band and pulling myself up over a bar to be extremely exciting. As I am enjoying my workouts again and learning my body again, I started to remember why I began this journey in the first place.

I wanted a healthy, normal relationship with food.

Counting calories was a good jumping off point, but it's not where I want to be forever. I want to learn to listen to my body. I don't want to force food down my body if my body doesn't want it. I also don't want to only eat spinach when my body really needs a burger (I tend to crave burgers when I'm feeling depleted, I eat one and am energized right back up)

I decided 2014 is about learning my body, not being scared of food and having FUN with my fitness. I put the scale in my closet, I don't need it for me now.

Yesterday was the first day I started intuitive eating. I found that I really just wasn't that hungry. I ate gluten free oatmeal for breakfast with coffee, chicken/veggie homemade stew for lunch, nuts and raisins for a snack, and an orange for dinner. I just didn't really want a big dinner. Today, I had chipotle for dinner. I found I was a lot hungrier. But what I'm finding in this process is that I don't have a desire to eat an entire bag of cheetos. I know that this will make me feel like crap if I do this.

But the entire bag of cheetos is the result of the "I'll start tomorrow" diet mentality. That's what I was trying to get away from when I began this journey.

And I know I'll make mistakes. I'll probably have days where I'll emotionally eat too much food and days when I'll maybe eat food that isn't as good for me. But my hope is, that by the end of the year I'll have a healthy, happy, normal sized body that loves movement and isn't scared of anything that is sitting in the cupboards, the grocery store or on my plate.

Cheers to 2014!

I'm thankful that I don't have to ask, "Is Wine Paleo?"