adventures of a mere mortal in fitness and life

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whole30 recap: change your life in unexpected ways

I walked by the book It Starts With Food yesterday and realize I have been shirking my duties in writing a Whole30 experience recap. I was particularly struck by the tagline “Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways” because that is exactly what this experience did.  I have outlined some of those ways in my previous post, but I want to be more specific and complete in this post.

Shockingly, the biggest takeaway from the Whole30 was that Mr. Prepared and I grew a little bit more into sync with each other again.  After a brutal winter ski resort season in which EVERYTHING was new, compounded by moving across the country, moving from an apartment to a house in the fall, and all the stress that comes with everything being NEW (jobs, doctors, schools, etc.), we were SHELLED.  We were tired, irritable, unhappy, anxious people.  And the only person each of us could vent to was the other.  We had no in-person support system (we are working on it and the network is improving!) at first, so the tears, the frustration, and the stress were often directed at each other.  This experience was the first fulfilling, long-term “project” we have worked on together in a long time.  We are healthier and happier people as a result of this “commitment”, and we are finding our ways of growing into this community, seeking out people and opportunities that enrich our lives personally and as a family.

While Mr. Prepared has been bulletproof in sticking with the Whole30 principles, I have slacked here and there on some things.  But you know what?  Everything I thought I missed so much isn’t really all that great.  Cheese? Meh.  Yummy Greek yogurt? It was OK.  I haven’t even gone back to bread or grain products- I really don’t miss them at all.  (OK, other than beer.  I had a few beers.  Yes, they were good, but I don’t have time for beer right now!)  So I imagine that most of those “needs” we make up in our mind about foods we “couldn’t live without” are just truly in our mind.  Food is so closely tied to emotion and memory for me that I know I still have some mental work before me to get these things a little more in line with “normal” emotional attachments to food.

Unfortunately, I have become a food freak.  By freak  I mean that I have gotten on my soapbox more than a few times, and even muttered under my breath at dinner the other night that the American agricultural industry is trying to kill us (what?  It’s probably true.)  My stance about food is a little too extreme for most people, and that is a dangerous combination with my work as a personal trainer.  I am toning it down A LOT for clients, but if anyone really engages me in food conversation, they are bound to get an earful.  I am sure it will all turn out to be bogus in the end and you can have the last laugh. But until then…you have been warned.

But what you really wanna know are the stats, right?  You want to know if it WORKS.  Everyone can define this differently, especially since it isn’t a “diet”.  I had been told there was a magical, mystical Whole30 land where you could have boundless energy and sleep like a princess.  I also secretly wanted to look ripped like one of those Crossfit competitors.  If those were the showing that it “works”, then no, I didn’t start eating unicorn rocket fuel or photo-shopping my mirror.  Here’s what happened:

  • Sleep.  I have slept like crap pretty much since we moved.  When we started Whole 30, I was sleeping about 4-6 hours a night.  I knew I would NEVER make it through training for a half-Ironman on 4-6 hours of sleep a night.  I get sleep now.  I get very nice, rested sleep.  I can go back to sleep if I wake up.  This was HUGE.
  • Smell. About the fourth day in, we woke up and rolled over and I realized we didn’t “smell” like night sweating and restless sleep.  We didn’t smell at all practically.  I had pretty terrible night sweats up until I started this (more on that another time) and they are pretty diminished now.  We also both recognized more healthy levels of sweating while exercising, whereas before I don’t think we were sweating enough.
  • Thirst sensitivity.  I could tell when I was actually thirsty instead of forcing myself to drink a required amount of water in the day.  Since there a little controversy over “how much liquid is enough/too much” I figure improved thirst signals meant I was headed in the right direction.
  • Weird aches and pains.  Mr. Prepared has had an ache on the outside of his knee since oh, 2011.  He reports no more ache.
  • Bowel movements.  C’mon, we are all adults!  To sum it up: before=not regular.  Now=regular.  If you need details, try it yourself. 😉
  • Eye of the tiger.  I may be dramatizing this a little.  I had a bike power test on Day 18 of the Whole 30.  Many sources said that your workouts will feel flat the first 2 weeks, and they did.  But I swear that as I got ready for that bike test, I could feel and access a bunch of energy for it.  Maybe I just did a really good job of psyching myself up for the test, but maybe it was Whole30?  Anyhow, crushed the bike test!
  • And for you scale slaves… OK, I admit I was a scale slave too before Whole30.  Part of Whole30 is that you can’t weigh yourself for the 30 days.  I had to have Mr. Prepared hide the scale.  That was pretty revealing.  I had lost and re-gained the same 6 pounds 3 times since New Year’s prior to Whole30.  I was fairly obsessed.  Not so much anymore.  I am down 7 pounds.  Mr. Prepared is down about 15.  Also 2% body fat for me.

We changed our lives in expected and unexpected ways.  We are trying to keep in line with the Paleo thing for now (this is much trickier, as the slope is more slippery), and get the kids more on board.  My main goal in the next 10 weeks is figuring out racing and training nutrition that fits within the scope of racing efficiently and eating well.  Tomorrow is my first big volume day (5 hours!), so we will see how it goes.

If you have any Whole30 insight you want to share, please do in the comments!

 

 

 

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things I didn’t think I would learn on a diet: 2/3 of the Whole30

some of you are gasping right now, thinking, “But the Whole30 is NOT a diet!” Haha. Shows you what I knew when I signed on to do it.  I haven’t thought about any change in eating food as anything OTHER than a diet in…probably my whole life.

I challenged Mr. Prepared to do the Whole30 food “commitment” (that’s what we called it- I think that’s what they called it in the book It Starts With Food from which the Whole30 premise is laid out) in early March.  I figured we could do almost anything for 30 days, and we had a host of assorted issues that we were curious to see if they would cease if we changed our diet.  I will get to those issues in another post at the end of Whole30, since we are only a little more than 2/3 done.

The book.

The book.

Mostly, I am surprised by the things I DID NOT expect to change or learn about myself on the Whole30.  Learning new things about one’s self at this age can be wonderful blessing and a terrible realization.  There are some things that I would not care to admit about myself, yet I know I need to fix them to truly heal my relationship with food and drinks (I mean, let’s be honest, I was a pretty champion drinker for most of my adult life.)  Some of the blessed “horrors” below that I learned will be invaluable going forward.

  • I learned that I definitely have a food addiction.  I use food (and drinks) for things other than fuel and nourishment.  I use food to comfort me, de-stress me, make me happy.  Now I know that we all do that to a degree, and I used to do it a heck of a lot more often than now, but there were unhappy, stressful times these past few weeks when my first reaction was to reach for a food (or a glass of wine) to make me feel better. I think it’s important for me to continue to reinforce patterns where I use other means to medicate stress.
  • I am a BLTer.  BLT in Weight Watchers used to stand for “bites, licks, and tastes”.  The first week of Whole30 I couldn’t believe how many times I had to put the knife spreading peanut butter or something like that away from my mouth (or even spit stuff out a few times!).  I had been unconsciously eating a LOT of BLTs.
  • I don’t know how to properly savor my food.  The book emphasizes the importance of satiety and sitting down for a meal and savoring it to get your brain’s satiety signals to work.  I realized that I hadn’t sat down for a breakfast or lunch in a LOOONG time.  I made it my goal to sit and eat every meal.  I tried to remove the screen time when I was alone, but that’s definitely still a work in progress.  But now as I imagine having a piece of chocolate, I imagine sitting down, savoring the ONE piece of good chocolate I would eat instead of trying to shove as many Hershey kisses in my mouth as possible. While standing.
  • Snacking is neither necessary nor helpful.  I was in an “eat every 2 hours” habit, along with trying to fit in “pre-workout fuel” and “post-workout recovery fuel”, etc.  I was eating ALL the time.  The more mini-meals I had the more it just turned into grazing. The book emphasized the need for one to eat ENOUGH at each meal to sustain one to the next meal.  I have really done away with any pre-workout fueling, and there is some evidence to show that there are some advantages to working out in a fasted state.  Since I do most of my work currently first thing in the morning, this is easy to accomplish.  After I am finished, I can eat one of my meals.  That’s not to say I have given up snacking entirely, but I am working on it.

These are the most important takeaways from the Whole30 food commitment, although the discussions that Taylor and I have had have been rich and thought-provoking about food, drinking, fueling, and just about everything.  We have also had some good discussions (and some um…disagreeements) with the kids about good food and what good food looks like.

Stay tuned for more lessons learned when we finish!  I am running my first half-marathon of the season tomorrow, so that should be another opportunity to gather information.

as I am now

It’s kind of weird being “normal” sized in a town where no one knew you were overweight.  The assumptions that people make, the looks that you get, even the conversations that people are willing to have with you are different.  It feels both thrilling and depressing that people don’t “know” me.  I loved living in a small community for 15 years, but somehow the box started to feel suffocating and I wanted OUT.  Now that I am out, a lot of days make me want to crawl back in the box, where people know ALL of me and still love me, or don’t.

As a personal trainer trying to develop my business, a big part of me is my story.  People don’t train with a trainer (long term anyways) because they are “the best” or “the most hard-core”, but because they can develop a relationship with you.  As a trainer, you may be the best or the most hard-core, but your clients keep coming back for YOU.  If you can be hard-core and be attuned to their needs, their goals, and keep your client engaged and having fun, that’s great!  When I am working with clients who have a weight loss goal, I don’t always disclose that I have been “there”, but I generally think it helps.  It’s hard to imagine size 2 “Tiffany Trainer” who has always “loved fitness” as being very relatable to my old self. That’s why I loved Weight Watchers, because the group leaders were real WW successes, and they could speak from their hearts and from their own experiences.

I do miss aspects of my old self as time goes on.  I wanted to write about it more, but a friend popped this article into my inbox TODAY – as I have been writing this- and I think it is written just a whole lot better than I could write about it.  Check out this post from MindBodyGreen:

5 Things I Miss About Weighing More Than 300 Pounds

so hungry…

I know it must be back into training/race prep season when I have got a solid case of the hungries going on just about every day.  I am trying to “improve my body comp” (that’s fancy speak for lose a part of my gut that’s jiggly) but I am.just.so.hungry.

Just like the Eskimos have a bunch of words for “snow”, I have many words for “hungry”.  None of them belong to me, but I use them all the time and even many of my friends know them.  Just the other day, my friend Jen sent me this:

hangry photo

a “must-have” for my kitchen

Hangry is a nearly daily situation at our house.  I can actually see the physical cues of Mr. Prepared descending into a state of hanger. All I know is that we need to stop ASAP at the nearest restaurant, fast food joint, or ice cream stand we can find if we are on the road.  It’s actually more amusing at home because there is NEVER anything to eat in our house that will quench his hanger.  I found him the other day with a poor excuse for a sub sandwich, which he was completely angry about having to eat.  He totally ended up getting takeout from Buffalo Wild Wings later.  Unlike me, Mr. Prepared doesn’t have to do much to drop 4-5 pounds at a time.  Like in a day.  It’s totally unjust, but I’ve learned to live with it, and he’s learned to live with the fact that we have 2-3 varieties of greens in the fridge instead of 2-3 varieties of ice cream in the freezer.

This morning on one of the lovely FB forums I belong to, someone mentioned a case of the “swimgries”.  Many people will attest to the fact that sustained swimming makes you hungry.  I believe this is because swimming generally occurs in that “perfect” fat-burning HR zone that produces a ton of metabolic afterburn all day long (I only have a rough scientific basis for this).  I get it- this girl has made more than her fair share of trips to Old Country Buffet for the “how many plates can you eat?” competition after Saturday morning HS swim workouts (Six, people. Winner!).

I no longer really suffer the swimgries, but I certainly get the rungries. Since I work out in the morning, the hunger onset lasts all day.  I have a girlfriend who will not EVER run in the morning because she swears it makes her eat all day.  Any run over 45 minutes in length produces the rungries for me.  I have already succumbed to it today!  I thought a nice, healthy, LARGE lunch would stave off the rungries today, but I still dug into the cookies when I got home.  I know, I know.  Put down the recreational sugar.

What are your favorite words for hunger?  What do you use to stave off those cravings while training?  

out with the old…WAIT!

I don’t know why we feel the need to inevitably reflect (perhaps a bit too sentimentally) at year’s end, yet certainly I can’t help but get caught up in the tidal wave of Year in Review.  I know that I started off the year with some giant goals, and it’s probably worth at least a peek at them.  Maybe just a peek at the ones I nailed… oh, ok, let’s look at them all.

But before we get to all those goals, can I just say how happy I sounded about going back to work in that post?  So happy.  One thing I did realize this year, being both crazy employed and totally unemployed (other than my awesome job as MOM), is that I do like to work.  I don’t like to fill out forms and work at a desk under fluorescent lights, however.  Who does?

Anyhow, getting to the goals:

1. Tracking my food. Weighing less.  Well, the truth is that I did track my food.  Just not consistently.  A week here and there, a couple of days on and off.  Not consistent.  A small bout of food-fueled pity partying here and there.  A lot of moving-away partying.  Still has to be a goal for 2014.

2. 1/2 Marathon.  Done. Bam.  Not in unseasonably sunny conditions, but in unseasonably blizzardy conditions.  But it was cool.  I would do it again.  In fact, I am doing another one in March.  My running feels strong and durable now, so I am pretty psyched.

rock CF rivers half

3. Half-Iron distance race.  Didn’t happen.  When Mr. Prepared got a new position in May and started living in the Holiday Inn two time zones away, my training went into salvage mode.  My main goal became to qualify for Age Group Nationals at a race, which did happen.  But the 1/2 Iron is here and on the table again for 2014.  My new plan (so far) is to do Rev3 Wisconsin Dells, because I get to race and take my kids to America’s greatest waterpark.  Smart mommy.

Rev3 Dells

4. Mantra: Be Positive, Patient, and Persistent.  Kind of a hard goal to quantify.  I was all of these things at many times through the year.  I felt as a family we were very positive about our move to MI.  I worked really hard to be patient with the kiddos, model good behavior, and yell less.  I think I was moderately successful.  I was persistent in achieving my goal of becoming a certified trainer– I took the steps to do that, and I can now say I am an ACSM certified personal trainer as of December!  I also took my Madd Dogg Athletics/ Spinning Instructor training course in December.  I don’t currently have a plan, but I am working on it.

ACSM logo

There were lots of highlights of the year, though, including Mr. Prepared doing his first 100-mile race in Zion.  What a great time with family and friends in an amazing location with a wonderful result.

Zion 100 Taylor finish

Carrying Sarah to the finish! Can you believe it?

Selling our home in Eagle was fantastic and lucky, as we caught a blip in the market, even though we didn’t want to leave.  We also were very happy to find an amazing (Uh-MAZE-ing) school here in MI for the girls.  Lots of new opportunities are here, and many have yet to be discovered.  Needless to say, I am looking confidently toward 2014.

cleaning out the pipes

Mr. Prepared declared last week…Halloween week…to be THE week to cleanse. Logical, isn’t it?  It’s like deciding to stop drinking while you’re visiting your in-laws for the holidays.  Love that guy.

Mr. Prepared never does anything the way it SHOULD be done anyways, so I should expect anything different.  You know, most people when they start running, they do a couple of 5ks, maybe a 10k, half-marathon, etc.  There’s natural progression.  Not Mr. Prepared.  He just rolls straight into ultramarathon.  OK, I take it back.  He did one 25k first.  But after that?  50 miles, 50k (he claims this is too short), 100 miles, 100k, it’s just gotta be F’in far.  That’s been the real challenge here in the Midwest, finding stuff that’s gonna be far enough.  I have a Pinterest board on it though, so we are getting all set up realllll goood.

So anyways, last month we did the whole no alcohol thing for a few weeks, a little liver cleanse.  Worked out really well, we should have kept going, but we didn’t and we just. need. to. move. on.  But oh, no.  Mr. Prepared has a couple of beers and one night of bad Chinese food and we are officially CLEANSING.  Five minutes later, he’s on Google and asking me if mesquite is really the superfood that 2 yahoos in a Youtube video are trying to convince him it is.  Until about 5 years ago, I thought mesquite was a just a flavor you could add to BBQ sauce and Duraflame logs, so um…yah?  Go for it?

He implodes on his Google search about 15 minutes later, and I steer the ship toward a very doable sounding 48 hour cleanse.  I bought a juicer for it, even.  Well, I had a coupon and it was on clearance, so it came in pretty cheap and I had visions of making all these yummy (but NUTRITIOUS!) juices for our family- I still hold on to that vision!- so I bought it.

Cleanse begins, and the juicer is a hit.  Then I tell him he needs to prepare all his food to go to work.  And to make some tea because there is no coffee on a cleanse.  The creases in his brow get deeper.  I take the kids to school and he sets himself up, and me too, because he is a really nice guy despite the bad rap he gets sometimes from me.  Everything is going fine for me until about 3 PM, when I am trying to throw a bunch of vegetables together to make a stock which is supposed to be our dinner.  And I think, I don’t want to eat veggie stock for dinner.  I want what I am making the kids.  And while I am at it, I’ll have some Pirate Booty.  And thus, the cleanse was done for me.  Not even 12 hours.  I know.

Long story short, he eats the veggie broth, but he is casting furtive glances at our food.  He goes to bed and moans about how hungry he is and how terrible his run after work was until he falls asleep.  Wakes up, still hungry, a little grumpy, and then…I throw him under the bus.

Me: I do have a little time today for lunch if you want to meet…O wait! You’re cleansing!  Forget it.

It took him about 4 milliseconds to tell me he was done with the stupid cleanse and that he would meet me at 11:30.

But now that Halloween has passed, I think we might have to give it another try.  I think we can make it at least 36 hours this time. 😉

solving first-world white girl problems

Holy smokes, it’s October!

Where has all this time gone?  A friend set me straight last week and told me it sounded like I was spending some time solving “first world white girl problems”.  Which is true.  I was lamenting a lack of storage in my master bathroom.  I’m truly not even fit for a proper job search- mostly I just hustle around throwing my mental and physical power at any situation that grabs my attention until I become bored with it 10-30 minutes later.  I am wondering why I agreed that I would paint all the trim in the new house white.  That is going to take some serious mental focus.

When Sarah’s kindergarten teacher wanted the kids to really pay attention, she called for “ultimate focus!”.  I think I am probably lacking a bit of ultimate (or even sustained) focus at this point.  But the good news is, I am doing a LOT of things.  Which is generally my MO.  Not a lot of working out, for those of you follow my blog because it popped up in some blog reel under the “running” or “triathlon” category.  You folks can just stop reading now, because there isn’t a lot (just a tiny bit below!) of news about working out or triathlon or any of those things.  But Mom and Dad, you can keep reading… 😉

The House Purchase from Hell is over, and I just want to say one thing about that.  I promise to NEVER buy another house again.  Until the next time.  Now it’s on to repeated episodes of How Did We Miss That One?  as in, how did I miss that the dishwasher was virtually unusable?  Or how did I miss that one of the bathrooms lacked a shower?  So I am staying pretty busy solving these first world white girl problems 1/3 at a time-  first I solve one about 33% of the way, then I move on to another one and do about 33%, you get the picture.

Yup.  That's a wallpapered switchplate on wallpaper.  Haven't even tackled that one.

Yup. That’s a wallpapered switchplate on wallpaper. Haven’t even tackled that one. And no, that’s not my fake wine bottle next to it. I swear.

Also, 4 weeks ago, I started a personal trainer certification class at a local junior college.  I mentioned all the reasons why I thought this would be a good fit for me in a previous post, yet I am super nervous about actually starting to do this as a job.  I think one reason is because I am out of my safety net of people and connections that I had in Colorado, which would make starting a job/business like that easier.  However, there are a lot more opportunities out here with a lot more gyms, recreation centers, etc., so I feel hopeful that I can excel and find a place to work.  My instructor is awesome, and that makes me feel a lot more confident about my skills going forward.  Whether I end up back in the classroom will remain to be seen.  I haven’t thrown much effort into looking for a teaching job, but there are a lot of post-secondary institutions in the metro area.  I waver between feeling super passionate about personal training or teaching fitness classes and feeling ridiculous at starting something new that is really in an industry driven by younger people.  I’m not the oldest person in my class, but I am not the median age either.  And it’s humbling.  I won’t use embarrassing, but we practiced girth measurements last week, and my lab partner’s waist measurement was smaller than mine.  And he’s a pretty average size dude.  So it’s probably time to step away from the frozen custard stands, if you’re picking up what I am putting down here.

And for those of you who hung in long enough despite the fact that all this has nothing to do with triathlon (although triathlon itself is seen by many to be a first world white girl problem), I did get my invitation this week to compete in USA Triathlon Age Group Championships in Milwaukee next summer!  YAY!

woo hoo!

woo hoo!

Now I just gotta make a plan.  And then I need to start the plan.  And then I will be TOTALLY into the plan until another shiny object that looks cooler comes by.  Cuz that’s how I roll these days.

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