What I've Been Up To

Recently I've been...

Working out almost every day.  I have never, ever been a work out every day kind of girl so this is a crazy thing for me.  Friday is my rest day but six days a week I either work out at home, go to the gym or power walk.  I am currently in week 12 (out of 12) of The Bikini Body Guide by Kayla Itsines.  The workouts are killer and I can't believe that I am almost done with the whole thing.  Stay tuned for my beach body reveal on Instagram.  It's actually been a good thing having this time to myself to focus on getting these work outs in.  MJ is a very good and welcome distraction, but a distraction nonetheless.    
This is how I pack
Planning our vacation. That's the fun part where it becomes really, real that vacation is not just some abstract concept that you long for but something that you will actually be doing and experiencing in the near future.  I'm in charge of planning our itinerary and so far we are boating, biking, hiking and beaching.  I've got a few more things I need to pick up and I started packing over the weekend.  Not fun for me at all, but I made progress and then I decided to go bikini shopping at Target.  They are having BOGO 50% right now.  I found one, but it was brutal. Even after 11 weeks of steady exercise.  It's just a hard thing for me.

Seeing a lot of my friends.   There have been quite a few dinner/lunch dates over the last six weeks.  One of them was even a spur of the moment same day invite.  Normally I can't even wrap my head around that, but I was just chillin' at home by myself so why not?  I invited the girls over for a girls night.  I'm not fancy so neither was my party but there was wine, pizza, chips with salsa and other assorted easy bake appetizers and everyone had a great time. 

Hearing a strange noise coming from my car.   I didn't want to be the crazy lady who takes her car to the shop complaining of a strange noise only to have them not be able to recreate it and find nothing wrong.  I put it off for two weeks and finally got it taken care of over the weekend.  I recorded the sound on my phone and in doing so stumbled across other unnamed recordings from 2011 and 2013 of very similar car sounds.  MJ says I'm hard on brakes and he's right because every other year they need replacing.

Eating a lot of Subway.  I was really good at first with cooking a proper meal for the week on Sunday as I had gotten into the habit of doing, but then one week I just didn't want to do it and then that was it.  I cooked again this week, but I think there will still be Subway in  the near future.  I can get two meals out of $6.00.  It's quick, it's cheap, it's healthy, it works.

Watching a lot of movies.  When MJ is gone I push all the chick flicks languishing at the bottom of our Netflix queue to the top.  It's been three movies per weekend every weekend and I will be sharing them in a movie review post soon.  I've also gotten into Lifetime Movies again.  It all started with Cleveland Abduction.  Then, I'd see a preview for another one that looked good so I'd record it.  Then while watching that one I'd see another preview and so on and so forth.  They know how to get you.  Since then, I've seen The Secret Life of MarilynKidnapped: The Hanna Anderson Story,  The Wrong Girl, Double Daddy, I Killed My BFF and Perfect High premieres this weekend.  I browsed titles and they are so funny.  There is Girl He Met Online and Boy She Met Online just in case you want to see a different version where the boy is psycho.  More primo examples:  All the Good Ones are Married, The Last Trimester, Sorority Surrogate and Sexting in Suburbia.  For a while LMN movies were just a bit much for me to take but I'm liking them again.  All the ones I watched were really good until Adoption Gone Wrong with Will Farrell and Kristen Wiig.  Hilarious; and not because it was a comedy.  I expected so much more.  I'm sorry, but Will Farrell's bearded bookish character was totally unbelievable as the object of obsession and there were so many over dramatized to the point of ridiculous scenes.  The worst was the one where the camera zooms in on a pair of heels as they are attached to someone who is supposed to be going over a bridge.  So bad.

Missing my husband.  He's 9 hours ahead and his good morning is my good night so it's mostly been texting and facetime on the weekends if he has internet connection.  Six weeks is not forever and I've gotten used to this sort of thing, but I'm ready to have him back.  Netflix doesn't work.  All my iPhoto pics (that were so carefully recovered and sorted from being lost before) have disappeared, Amazon Echo won't work, the DVD player downstairs stopped playing DVD's, I can't figure out how to watch TV on the upstairs one in the loft, the app for our Thermostat isn't working and I don't like taking out the trash or watering the mini tree.  At least I haven't seen any spiders.  I could also use a good smooch and his awesome bear hugs.  It won't be long now.

What I have not done is watch a single episode of Orange is The New Black! I am lagging.  Between movies, reading and staying caught up on DVR I just haven't gotten around to it. This is not acceptable and needs to be remedied ASAP. 

Our Yearly Jaunt to the Fair

I wasn't going to mention this because it's actually kind of embarrassing.  A few months ago I sent a text message to my mom on a Saturday afternoon.  I had just received a call from our hotel confirming our reservation and I realized that we had a 1,200 square foot two-bedroom, two-bathroom for just the two of us.  We don't normally have that much space and MJ had just mentioned that his mom has never had a real vacation and he'd like to take her along some day so I thought this was the perfect opportunity to invite our parents.  I sent a text message to my mom to see what she thought.

The next morning, I still hadn't heard from my mom which is unusual, so I texted her again in the afternoon.  Still no response.  I realized that I hadn't heard from my mom in about a week so, I texted my sister to find out when the last time she heard from mom.  Friday, she replied.  I called my mom's cell and it went straight to voice mail.  I called my dad's cell and got voice mail.  I called their land line and got voice mail.  By this time I was really, really worried and had convinced myself within a time span of 30 minutes that my parents had been kidnapped or that something equally terrible had happened to them.  There was no evidence that my parents had met with some unfortunate incident, and it had only been 24 hours since trying to reach them, but that didn't stop me from being  irrationally upset.  I stewed in my own thoughts for a little bit longer feeling panicked, when my cell phone rang.  As soon as I heard my mom's voice I was so relieved that I burst into tears.  "Mooooommmmmm, I was so worried. You didn't call me back.  I thought something bad happened to you!!"  I was so glad they were okay.  Not that they ever weren't.  She never got my text message from the day before and then had accidentally shut off her phone.  I'm sure my mom thought I had lost it and I'm glad MJ was tucked away in his room and didn't witness this meltdown.  I still don't know  why I freaked out like that. Perhaps I was suffering some kind of latent separation anxiety from my parents.  Maybe I was just emotional that day.  Who knows, but for whatever reasons my thoughts ran away with themselves to a very dark place making me think the worst and realize how devastated I would be if something bad ever happened to them.  It's not a good feeling, so hopefully I've learned my lesson on overreacting.  Since then, mom has been quite careful to return each and every text promptly to ensure that I don't have a nervous breakdown.
My very much alive and well parents were here over the weekend.  We went to the fair and nearly got attacked by a dog.  It was fabulous.  Last year the whole family went.  This year I was happy to have the 'rents.  I scored two $4.00 fair tickets and my dad got the senior discount so we got in for cheap.  The regular price has gone up to $15 bucks.  We weren't there long before I wanted to eat, because when I'm at the fair I want to eat everything the entire time I'm there.  Everywhere you look there is someone shoving food in their face and the delicious food smells never stop.  This year one of the new foods was deep fried slim fast bars, which makes perfect sense.  Don't you think? I went straight for Papa Gino's pizza like I do every year.  It's always in the same spot.  The price has gone up to $9.72, but it's worth every bite.  I also managed to pack in a soft serve ice cream cone and half a cinnamon roll on top of that.  I've been going since I was kid and have developed a sentimental attachment to the place.  We eat, we hang out in the paddock, we never miss the free wine tasting and we walk around looking at exhibits and animals.  I don't step foot in the fun zone for rides anymore and we don't really do a whole lot, but it's fun and I love going. 

On Sunday we went for a five mile walk first thing in the morning.  It was nice having company because I usually walk alone and thank goodness I did.  About half way through the walk I saw this woman walking towards us holding a large white dog around the collar.  I thought she looked nervous, and was curious about why she was holding him by the collar and not a leash, but I didn't think anything of it until I heard loud barking and yelling behind me. I turned around and saw this lady rolling around on the ground trying to keep hold of her dog.  I definitely can't say she didn't try.  The dog escaped and was lunging and barking aggressively at my mom.  I'm terrified of dogs but I wasn't going to throw her to the wolves so I ran over to her and grabbed her arm.  I've heard that you aren't supposed to run, so we didn't do that.  We huddled together and edged away as we could slowly until the dog backed off a little and the owner was able to grab it.  I think they live on that street.  The dog probably got out and she rushed to retrieve him without grabbing a leash.  I've walked that route many times and never seen it, but now I'm traumatized.  I won't be walking that way for a while.  Nothing like a five mile walk and a run in with an aggressive dog to feed your appetite.  We stopped for lunch at Nicky Rotten's then spent the rest of the day running errands, watching movies, and drinking wine.

I did not have any extra days off work so the weekend went way too fast, but we have additional visits planned.  My mom said YES and booked her airline ticket right away, so we will see her and my mother-in law in Kauai very soon. 

My Whole30

When I first heard about Whole30 I thought it was crazy and quickly dismissed it as something I would never try.  It requires 100% compliance 100% of the time and there are way too many restrictions. No dairy, no grains, no sugar, no soy, no legumes and absolutely nothing processed.  What on earth is there left to eat?  That leaves fruit, veggies (no corn), meat, nuts, eggs and potatoes.  I couldn't imagine what my life would be like without coffee in the mornings and all the grocery shopping and meal prepping I would have to do.  Don't even get me started on life without peanut butter, bread and wine.

Then we booked our airline tickets to Kauai.  I realized how fast our beach vacation was approaching and how bad I would feel in my bikini if I didn't start doing something about it.  I've been feeling very uncomfortable in my skin, so I figured this would be a great way to kick off my bikini body action plan.

I eased into it by starting out with one week that was closer to Paleo because I allowed myself wine and dined out without question to how my food was prepared, but did eliminate grains, dairy, legumes, processed food and non wine sugar.  I was ready to start, but had some dinner dates already planned so I figured it was a good compromise before going into the four weeks.

It's been one month since I finished Whole30.  These are my observations.

I ate all the food.  The first week we underestimated the quantity of meat I would need to consume and ran out.  I stopped at the store for 2 lbs of emergency turkey and MJ grilled it up so I would have something to eat.  After that he made additional meat for himself and only ate "my meat" for a night or two if that.
fruits & nuts // beef stew // filet Mignon & potatoes
We spent lots of money on groceries.  Our grocery budget is $350 per month.  I tallied up all the receipts for grocery shopping onWhole30 and it added up to a sickening $520.00.  That is just not cool.  MJ wasn't bothered by it too much but I was pretty sad that we spent that much.  I can't even imagine what it would have been if we were both doing the diet.  Whole30 is on the extreme side, but it's further proof that eating healthy is more expensive.  It just is.

Meal prep is a must.  If you work full time and/or have kids or other obligations that take up a giant chunk of your time there is no other way.  If you don't you will either starve or quit.  After the first week we figured out that about 5 lbs of meat for me alone would be sufficient.  Two 24 packs of chicken (about 3 lbs) and two 16 oz packages of ground turkey.  Yeah, that's a lot of meat, but fruits and vegetables aren't filling enough to exist on alone and you can't overdo it on the nuts.  I prepared the chicken breast and made a giant pot of fresh broccoli.  MJ seasoned the turkey and grilled everything on Sunday.  You get kind of bummed out when you know you don't have any food to eat nor time to prepare it so it's best to prep it so it's readily available.
eggs, chicken, turkey, veggies
You don't have to be a chef.
  I'm no cook and I managed to do this on the most simple of foods.  There are all kinds of Whole30 recipes out there but I couldn't be bothered.  MJ made a roast the second week which was a nice change and we had steak one night, but other than that I stuck with chicken and turkey.  It helps that I'm okay with eating the same things over and over and that my sweet husband was willing to make my sausage every week and grill my meat.  I wanted salad one week so I had to make my own salad dressing and if I can do it anyone can.  

I had to give up the concept of traditional breakfasts.  The only traditional breakfast item allowed is eggs.  MJ made my turkey taste like sausage so that was good, but you can't do regular bacon, ham or sausage because even if there is no sugar on the nutritional label if it's cured in sugar it's a no go.  There is bacon not cured in sugar but it wasn't worth it for me to scour the stores for it or order it online so I didn't.  Same goes for coffee.  No sugar or dairy is allowed and I wasn't going to make my own almond milk.  I tried unsweetened coconut milk and it was disgusting.  It tasted like liquid plastic and there were nasty looking oil circles floating at the top.  I forced myself to finish that cup but that was that for me.  No coffee on whole30.  I've heard that some people do coconut oil, but no.  I was over it.

It crimped my style.  We went to the movies and while MJ ordered a hotdog I munched on almonds and raisins.  I would have also brought my carrots but neither MJ or the rest of the audience would have appreciated my loud munching.  In general we don't go crazy and eat a bunch of junk at the movies but I have associated movie watching with something sweet or indulgent even if it's just a bag of mini gummy bears so anything else just feels like a let down.  I wasn't even excited about doing a picnic if I couldn't drink wine or the most indulgent treat was going to be grapes.  Forget about dining out.  I would either show up and not be able to eat anything or I'd be that person peppering the server with a million questions trying to figure out if my meal would be compliant.  I preferred not to bother with it at all.

I was slightly paranoid about everything I put in my mouth.  The hardest thing about Whole30 is not what you can have.  Nobody wants to mess up in week 3 when they've worked so hard at being compliant and a lot of the restrictions are hidden.  If any of the ingredients are really hard to pronounce and/or you don't recognize it you probably can't eat it.  You have to read labels very carefully because even things you think you can eat, you can't.   Like canned Tuna in water.  I checked the label and it has soy.  I quit my mult-vitamin because I couldn't be sure if it was compliant and I thought I could eat tuna until I read the label closely and found soy.  No more Pam spray oil and even seasonings may be non compliant.  You really have to check.  This is the official "Can I have" Whole30 list.  If you have soy, dairy or grains you definitely have to start over, but any slip up is grounds for a re-start according to the guidelines.

Sometimes I saw non compliant foods and wanted to cry.  I couldn't snag a cracker when MJ was eating them or have any samples at the grocery store.  When MJ did a donut run one Sunday I tortured myself by sticking my face in the bag and taking a big whiff.  One day he came home with freshly baked still hot cookies from Subway and I couldn't take one single bite.  It was torture.  I couldn't taste his sandwich either.

 I was okay as long as I didn't let myself get hungry.  The first week I thought chicken for breakfast lunch and dinner was going to be fine and I was starving by the end of the week.  Chicken was just too lean to sustain me.  MJ had the bright idea to make me sausage out of ground turkey. We went with lean (not extra lean) and that way I got a little bit more fat in the morning to help control my hunger.  The last week all they had was extra lean and it was not the same.  He flavors it up pretty good so it tastes like sausage but without that extra fat it was kind of rubber like and disappointing.  As long as I wasn't hungry I was okay with all of the things I wasn't allowed to eat.

You will be challenged, but you can do it.  You can do anything for four weeks if you really, really want to right?  There are tons of resources to help you figure it out, like Whole9.  Once I got through the first week to work out the bugs and knew exactly what I needed it became routine and that was it. 

Getting enough food on a limited selection is hard.  Yes, I tracked my calories too even though you aren't supposed to. It's easy to eat a ton of calories on junk without even realizing it (and still be hungry) but not when you are dealing with nutrient dense foods and a very limited selection.  I'm trying to heal my metabolism.  It's really important for me to hit my minimum calorie goal consistently, but it was difficult.  I found that nuts and raisins are a good way to up calories but at the end of the day there just wasn't anything else for me to eat.  It's entirely possible that I'm just doing it wrong, but even off Whole30, I find myself barely meeting my minimum.

So, did it work?  I guess that answer depends upon what your goals were.  For me, I was hoping for an energy boost and to feel more comfortable in a bikini.  Well, neither one happened for me.  I had days where I was more energized and days where I could barely keep my eyes open at work just like before.  I didn't experience any life changing energy boost or overall sense of well being.  I had to go to the bathroom a lot and I think it's because my carbs were so low.  And now for the million dollar question that everyone wants to know.  Did you lose weight?  For me, it's always about losing weight even when it isn't so there is no denying that I hoped to drop a few.  I did not, unless you count gaining and losing the same exact pound for a month.  I know, I know, you aren't supposed to weigh yourself on Whole30, but I have a co-dependent relationship with the scale and a lot of wackiness going on with my body lately, so there was no way I was going 30 days without it.  Even when I realized I wasn't losing weight and it didn't look like I would quitting wasn't an option for me.  I started it and I would finish it no matter what.  It is incredibly hard to find the motivation to continue on a diet like this when you see no changes but honestly, I think I would have been more devastated to find out at the end. 

I did not do the proper 10 day post Whole30 reintroduction of foods phase.  If I'd had a miraculous Whole30 experience I would have been more interested in that, but it did not feel relevant to me based on my experience.   I couldn't deal with 10 extra days of vigilance, and I was over it.  I did not see a difference when I cut everything out so I was fairly certain there would be no change when I added it back in. The first day I had bread, peanut butter and sugar paying attention to how my body felt.  No change.  I tried out cheese on a separate day with no issues and called it good.

What I learned.

There is life without cheese.  I have always been a huge cheese lover so I thought I would really miss it, but I didn't.  I didn't even start eating string cheese again until a few weeks after I finished.

Whole foods is the way to go.  I already knew this, and we already cut out most processed foods awhile ago but this only reinforced that.  If I had a craving for something, anything, my only option was whole foods.  It kind of broke that cycle of craving something sweet or junky when I'm hungry.  Whole foods are filling, tasty, and when I'm hungry that's what I want.  Not junk.  Although, I will admit to having a thing for Twizzler Bites that I can't quite seem to shake.  

Eggs are not my friend.  During the last week when I saw absolutely no change on the scale or in my physical appearance I decided to make one more change.  I'd cut out everything, but the one consistent was eggs so by process of elimination I knew I needed to give them up to see if that made a difference.  Within two days, that stubborn pound that I kept hanging onto disappeared and by the end of the week I was down four pounds, my stomach flattened out and that bloaty feeling that I had accepted as normal was gone.  I was shocked, because I've been eating eggs consistently for over a year and it kind of sucks that eggs sabotaged my Whole30.  I still want to figure out if it was the white or the yolk (or both) but for now eggs are off the menu.  I was sick of meat so I decided to make some lentil soup and lo and behold, the same exact reaction that was happening with the eggs.  I was bloated and heavy feeling within a day, so no more lentils for now and I still need to give other beans a try and see how I react.

I also decided to quit splenda.  After "cleansing" I decided I didn't want to put such a questionable substance into my body on a regular basis.  If I'm out and about and that's all there is I will use it but I won't buy it anymore or use it at home or work.

Would I do it again?  Probably not.  I could see myself doing a Whole7 or Whole 10 maybe, but not another 30.  The expense and attention to detail that it requires is just not something I want to deal with for that long again.  It's just so inflexible.  Discovering the egg sensitivity was the success story of my Whole30.  Had I not done it who knows how much longer it would have taken me to figure that out, so even though nothing miraculous happened I don't feel that it was a waste of time (or money).

Healthy eating is always a win.