Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Midweek Motivation: 4%

Today started out like a dream! I got up early, walked the dog while watching the beautiful sunrise (seriously, did you see it, it was amazing!), my kids were both in good moods (this rarely happens simultaneously, and NEVER happens in the morning), and I arrived at work ready for what I thought would be a routine day. But, then things went to crap, as they are prone to do when I am least expecting it. Needless to say I spent the morning gathering mindless data for someone who tried to make it out to be my fault that she didn't have this data in the first place, data that for the past three years I have never supplied to her before but that I somehow was just supposed to know I had to get it to her right now (note: I might be procrastinating getting her the data right now by typing this...shh, don't tell anyone).

Anyway....on to the motivating part of this story... a couple women from my running group had graciously agreed to come to campus to run with me today, so when they arrived, I quickly got ready to head out. When I told them about my curve ball this morning Jenn asked "Do you need to bail?" And honestly, I probably should have...but I couldn't think of a better way to blow off some of the steam that was building up than by going for a run with friends. I remembered seeing this picture a couple weeks ago, and decided..."No, I'm not bailing, going out for this run will take up 4% of my day and I'm not going to let the carelessness of someone else take that small little piece of time for myself away!"

I know we all get busy, and sometimes instead of the "carelessness of someone else" the reason we bail is actually our children, or work, or other family commitments that we can't get away from. But I'd encourage you to really take a look at your day. I'm guessing if we all look hard enough, we can find 4%, or maybe just 2% of our day to give back to ourselves. Maybe that 4% doesn't mean gearing up and going to the gym or out for a run...maybe it's yoga on the living room floor while the kiddos are watching a cartoon, or it's running stairs to and from the basement while the baby is sleeping. If 96% of your day revolves around something other than your health and well-being, you owe it to yourself to find that time and make the most of it!

Happy Wednesday Runners!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Sunday Afternoon Sulking

Can you see that? Real Feel know what that is? That is the first time THIS YEAR that the temp has felt above freezing! But do you know where I am? If you guessed getting ready to go for a run in this amazing "feels like" weather, you are wrong. I'm at work...while my running group is getting together for a virtual race, while my family is out cross country skiing. While all other Minnesotans are outside, relishing this small break from the deep freeze..I'm at work, sulking.

You know what could make this a little less depressing? If I could partake of some of the chocolate-covered goodies that are just sitting in the hospitality room next door to me, calling out my name "Linda, we are so rich and creamy and delicious, come eat us!" You know what else would make this less depressing, is if when I go to meet up with my running group later for the Happy Hour social after the virtual race I could have a cocktail or some pub food along with everyone else. But no, I'll be adhering to my Whole 30 soda with lemon for me, taking a hard pass on the margarita and loaded nachos.

Day 21 of the Whole 30 is much easier than Day 4 was...but now I'm in this phase of "I've made it 21 days, that's about 20 days longer than I thought I would make it, let's call it good and drink margaritas". But I'm not going to stop, I'm not going to cheat. It's still hard, but I've come to peace with passing up goodies, I'm feeling zen about not having cocktails, I'm actually enjoying discovering new food and new ways of preparing things, I am not missing bread or having milk in my's working...I'm winning...I do feel more energized, I am sleeping better, the plan is delivering on it's promises.

Last night at dinner my husband said to me "it will be nice when you are back to eating normally again". I didn't think much of it at the time. We had been having a discussion about our budget, so I assumed he meant it from a financial stand point, as I have certainly spent a lot more in groceries this month than normal. But this morning it started to bother me...what if I don't want to go back to "eating normally" when I'm done. What if I want to keep this up as a permanent change in my lifestyle? I mean, I will certainly allow myself an occasional sugary, gluten-y indulgence, and a cocktail here and there...but I really like what I have cultivated over the past 21 days, I don't ever want to get to a place again with my eating where I feel like I HAVE to do the Whole 30 plan to stop bad habits. I started feeling resentful that they haven't tried to embrace eating this way too...why do I have to go back to "normal". But, I reminded myself that they have been supportive...they haven't flaunted their food in my face, my daughter has actually seemed interested in learning about the new things I'm eating, even if she hasn't wanted to try many of them. Then, a friend pointed out that maybe they just miss the "social" aspect of us all eating together and that was the "normal" he was referring to. And it's true...even though I have still been eating most meals with them, I am never eating the same thing. I finish my meals first and then just sit there, probably staring forlornly at their food...maybe it's likely that early on my deprivation came across as depression to them, and they just want breakfast and dinner to go back to being the fun family affair we all looked forward to each day. So I'll need to spend the next 8 1/2 days figuring out how to reach a middle ground. How to keep up with the plan while not unconsciously blaming my family for indulging without me at each meal.

So, since I have made it to Day 21, I should share some of the things I have discovered that have made my life a lot less miserable over the past three weeks:

1. Trader Joe's Almond Butter: Peanut Butter is a no-no on the plan, as are a lot of other "butters" because they contain added sugar (side note: do you know that pretty much EVERYTHING has added sugar?!? Gah, reading labels has become like a game of hide and seek for me!). Anyway, I discovered Trader Joe's Raw Almond butter is just almonds, no salt, no sugar, but still super-yummy. I eat it on apples, bananas, celery sticks, and sometimes I just lick it off  a spoon (don't judge).

2. Frozen Fruit/Coconut Milk Sorbet: This has been my go to "dessert" on nights when I need something sweet after dinner. I've done frozen mango, bananas, pineapple, and strawberries and it is DIVINE! My Magic Bullet does not like to do it unless I have more coconut milk than fruit, so I've resorted to making it in my giant food processor, which is a pain to clean up...but oh so worth it!

3. Brussels Sprouts: All my life I have listened to my inner-8 year old who told me that Brussels Sprouts are gross. You what inner-8 year old? You can shove it. Brussels Sprouts roasted with some olive oil and garlic are THE BOMB! Some day I will convince my actual 8-year old daughter to try them (she of course currently thinks they are gross)...I don't want anyone I am related to to grow up without the joy of eating theses little pieces of heaven!

4. Eating the same thing for breakfast everyday is kind of liberating: Every day for the past 21 days i have had the exact same thing for breakfast...scrambled eggs with spinach and salsa (Trader Joes' no sugar added salsa verde). And I'm telling you, waking up not wondering what I am going to make for breakfast has been a time saver, and I actually really look forward to it!

5. Coffee is my life-blood: No elaboration necessary, if it wasn't for coffee, it's likely someone would have been murdered by my hands in the past 21 days. Long live coffee!!!

Alright, thanks for letting me vent. I actually feel a lot less sulky after getting this all off my chest. I only have three hours left of work before I can go meet up with my running buddies and drink a club soda with lemon...which will be just fine since I am determined to leave this experiment knowing that coming together over food and drink can still be a fun social event, even if our party favors are different!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Midweek Motivation: Perfection

I've been called a perfectionist more than I care to think about. I mean, I am FAR from perfect in most (okay all) aspects of my life, but I do have an obsessive need to live up to standards of perfection...and that can get really tiring for those around me. I don't like to advertise my imperfections, I don't like it to seem that I don't have full control of everything around me. But running has taught me that there is no "perfect" runner. We all have ways of running that work for us. If you asked 100 runners what the "perfect" running shoe is, or what "perfect" running weather is like, or what the "perfect" nutrition system is, you'd get 100 different answers. Success in running is just getting out and doing it, despite your busy schedule, despite the fact that others are running longer or faster that you, despite your excuses.

Running can be messy and ugly one day, then glorious and uplifting the next, but it rarely, if ever, is perfect. I've had to learn over the past two years that I can be imperfect and still set a good example. I don't have to "win" all the time to be successful. Having the latest gear or cutest tights doesn't make anything easier. I don't have to make a certain time or distance goal to be perfect. I have become so much better at motivating myself in all areas of my life because I have allowed myself to be imperfect with running, and that doesn't mean I have failed. It means that I have gained experience that I can pass on to my future self (and hopefully others) that will inspire moving forward, forgetting about perfection, and just doing the best I can.

Happy Wednesday Runners!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Whole-ly Crap!

I love to eat, I love sweets, I love bread, and not JUST bread, I love all things-gluten. In fact, we buy High Gluten flour at our house...screw gluten-free, give us ALL THE GLUTEN!

Thankfully I also love to run, so the fact that I love to eat is tempered by the fact that I generally exercise enough to burn off most of those calories before my pants decide they aren't going to button up. However, I went completely off the rails over the holidays. I mean OFF. THE. RAILS. I couldn't even see the train yard, that's how far off I went. Every cookie, candy, bread, and gravy-covered foodstuff went directly into my mouth. Plus, I have barely run since my half marathon in needless to say, I've been forgoing pants with buttons for the past few weeks. What's worse is all the unnecessary carb-loading created, for lack of a better term, a sugar-addiction! It would seem I couldn't get enough sweets, I was desperately craving them at all hours of the was bad...I knew I had to do something drastic (and I mean REALLY drastic, as I would generally call having to put 2% milk instead of half & half in my coffee drastic!)

So, I found the Whole 30 Food Plan. I didn't want to go out and buy the book, I get WHY I'm doing it, I didn't really need a lesson in the psychology behind why I should eat whole foods, I just needed them to tell me what to eat so I could hopefully tame this sugar-monster I had suddenly created. If you want the cliff-notes version, I basically cannot get anything with sugar, sugar substitute or added sweeteners, no gluten or grains of any kind, no dairy, no legumes, no alcohol! Essentially "whole" foods. Meats (as long as they are not processed), veggies (except corn and peas, which really should be called "starches" anyway), fruit, herbs & spices, and COFFEE (which I should note is the ONLY reason I agreed to this crazy thing...I mean giving up sugar is going to be impossible enough, but sugar AND coffee, not happening!)  If you want to know what I can eat, you can check out their handy shopping list here. What I have been "promised" by the creators of this plan is that if I can give up sugar and gluten for 30 days I am going to train my brain not to crave them anymore. If this is true, I will pledge my undying allegiance to them...if it doesn't work, well, I guess I'll have a good story to tell.

I started this plan on Monday, so I'm halfway into day five, and I can tell you one thing....IT IS REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, HARD. On Monday my kids wanted pancakes for breakfast, yes, sugary, gluten-y, syrup-y, delcious pancakes...and I had to make them, and I had to not shove 3 or 4 of them in my mouth when they weren't looking. I have had to make my own dinner every night (I know, boo hoo, but when you are used to your husband making you amazing dinners every night, this is a hard thing to get used to, plus I have to sit there with my spinach salad and watch them eat pasta and honey sesame chicken, gah!) I have had horrible headaches and nearly insatiable cravings for the past four days. Yesterday was a little better, my head was "aching dully" instead of "throbbing madly!!" plus I discovered frozen mango cubes at Trader Joe's. These things are so amazing! It was like eating a delicious frozen sorbet for I just have to try to stop myself from eating nothing but frozen mango cubes for the next 25 days.

This weekend is going to be the ultimate test. We have a meet, not just any meet, but a meet run by Team Foxjet...the best hospitality providers on the planet. I swear every person on this team either owns a bakery or lives next door to someone who owns a bakery. There is an endless supply of sweets, plus they bring in Pizza Luce, D'Amicos, and French Meadow. And they guy who's in charge??? His wife owns Nothing Bundt Cakes...a delightful little Bundt cake shop...where they specialize in these:

Yeah...I'm screwed.

But, I have a small fire of determination, that I am hoping will turn into a blazing inferno of will power. I'll keep you updated on my progress, and you all can say a little prayer that everyone on Team Foxjet somehow also decided to go on the Whole 30 plan over the holidays.