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Weekend Rewind

Oh, how I wish this were true! Just the opposite though – gotta make every day count toward you goal.

Weekends are always the hardest when you are trying to change your bad eating habits in my opinion. There is something about the lack of schedule and consistency that makes everything more difficult. Having an almost 7 month old definitely gives me SOME routine in the sense that he usually wakes up around the same time and goes to bed around the same time. But really, everything else is up in the air. On the weekends, we had really fallen into the habit of going out for breakfast on both Saturday and Sunday. And I would say it’s pretty simple to eat Primal style for breakfast (bacon and eggs, please!) but it’s always healthier and cheaper to just eat at home. Over the past few months, eating out has just been the norm on weekends. We didn’t buy enough food to cook meals on the weekend and it just was easier to get something while we were out and about.

But the fun has to end, folks. I just can’t eat out every meal on the weekends and expect to be staying on track with my goals. That makes me sad, because I love to eat out. Not that my husband isn’t an amazing cook, but there is just something magical about going out to eat. Sort of like the difference between seeing a really good movie at home or seeing it in a theater. You still walk away thinking it’s a good movie, but the theater experience just was bigger, better, MORE! I have to make peace with eating at home. After the new year, my husband and I are going to pick a month in which we will NOT eat out. I will probably cry a little bit, because it sounds terrible. But sometimes the things that are the hardest to give up are the things you need to give up MOST. And perhaps after not eating out for a month – it will be easier to stay on track with just eating out once a week or whatever.

After this weekend, I’m pretty proud of myself. We ate out for breakfast on Saturday and had dinner at home with some friends. Both breakfast and dinner were on track with our primal habits. On Sunday, I had some raw walnuts for breakfast and we met friends out for lunch. This was going to be my “cheat meal.” But instead of going ALL OUT on my cheat, I just cheated a little bit. We went to a barbeque place, so getting meat was pretty simple. I ordered pulled pork and a side salad and sweet potato fries. I didn’t eat the texas toast that came along with it. So my cheat were the fries (I can eat sweet potatoes but I should probably not eat fried things in general!) and the southwestern dressing probably wasn’t the best either. But I didn’t have a large portion of it. Our eating mates ordered fried pickles for an appetizer which is my FAVORITE app from this place. But I didn’t have a single one. Just for that alone I should get a prize!! I also had 1 beer which was a cheat. After I had it, I immediately felt congested. Crazy, huh?

But the rest of the weekend? Totally on track. I felt like I was less snacky and in general, less hungry this weekend than normal. We ate 2 meals each day vs. 3 and I felt fine. This week is going to be super challenging since we have TWO Thanksgiving dinners to attend. I haven’t decided what I’ll do yet about staying Primal. But I think my overall goal for both meals is to not indulge in giant portions of anything that isn’t Primal. Just have a taste of something if it’s not on track vs making it the main event. I hope I have good news to report back next week.

For my first week back on Primal, I am down 4.5 pounds from my starting weight. Now this week, weighing sounds like a scary thing since we’ll be going through a major holiday! So we’ll see how I survive. But in the end, moderation is the biggest takeaway here, not perfection…because perfection ISN’T real life.

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Primal Progress such as NOT eating a cookie

Well, I know it’s only 3 days in to being back on Primal track. But the first few weeks of any new challenge is the hardest, so I thought checking in would be a good idea.

Overall, i’m feeling good. I haven’t had too many cravings – but I know it’s only been three days! I will say that I’m so much more aware of how temptation is everywhere. I went to a meeting on Monday and what did they have? Sodas (UGH I wanted a free diet coke sooo.bad.), cookies (work cookies are MY FAVORITE. As in, I want to steal them and eat more later). And brownies (just stab me).

I maintained total control. I was all “in your face, cookies. I don’t need you!

And I didn’t. I brought my water and focused on the content of the meeting, not on how good those cookies and brownies looked that everyone else was eating. I am not everyone else right now, I am a woman on a mission. And the only thing that will come between me and my goals…is me, right? (cue cheers from the crowd!)

I often hesitate to make any final decisions because I like to be open to changing things up, I like flexibility and the option to change my mind (hello fellow Perceivers for my MBTI folk). So making a hard and fast decision to go back to Primal eating is a challenge in itself. I’m really glad we built in the cheat day because knowing myself – I would probably crumble apart the first time I screwed up and throw in the towel. But life isn’t all or nothing, although I think we are all guilty of acting like it is sometimes.

I’m going into this new challenge with the idea that it’s going to be HARD. I’m not going to get to eat cookies everyday (I might need counseling about this). There will be some weeks where more than one fun event happens and I’ll have to  choose which thing will be my cheat and find a way to stay on track at the other one. In the end, there will be times I screw up and accidentally have a bite of cake that someone brought in before I realize the error of my ways. But that is okay. There have been a lot of things in my life this past year that have been way more challenging than this (like figuring out how to take care of a newborn) and I can figure it out.

I really wish I just didn’t care about food so much. I envy people who can really view food as just “energy” or “fuel” vs. an opportunity to experience food because it’s so delicious. It seems like changing up what you eat wouldn’t be such a big deal if I could get to that place. I remember when I was doing the Primal eating consistently last year and I definitely got to the place where I enjoyed foods differently. Like today I snacked on organic raw walnuts. Me from 2 years ago would have thrown up in her mouth a little at that idea.

But I like them now…I just needed to give myself the chance to try them. So I know that with this challenge, there is also great opportunity to discover new things about what I like and what I’m capable of (apparently NOT ending a sentence in a preposition is NOT on that list).

So as I head into the last half of this week – I’m feeling optimistic. And maybe I’m not so scared of the scale on Friday!

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Back to my Primal Ways

Today is my first day back “on a plan.” I’ve been stewing about what to do for the past month or so. I think part of meeting health goals (or really any type of goal) is best served by knowing what type of person you are and then coming up with a game plan that meshes well with your personality type. I am a pretty laid back person, but when it comes to health and fitness – I know that I need a regimen. Something to put on the calendar, a schedule – a guide. Books to read ABOUT the plan. You get the point. This is in severe contrast to my actual personality and it took me awhile to figure that out about myself.

So I’ve been hesitant to commit to a plan because I feel like my life no longer revolves around me, and that makes sticking to any sort of personal schedule really difficult impossible. As I’ve  been reflecting on things I’ve done in the past and what worked, what didn’t work – what I hated and all that fun stuff, I kept on arriving back at the Primal inspired eating habits I took on right before I got pregnant. The first few weeks were not fun, but once I got past all the carb and sugar cravings, I felt really good. I wasn’t starving all the time. I got to eat good things, even if they were different from what I had eaten in the past. But making a decision to give up grains/wheat is a big one. It’s not something I was ready to do right away after returning to it again – all my cravings are in full effect and the idea of not eating sandwiches and bread sticks seems really terrible and hard.

Then I remembered that when I was eating Primal – I stopped having those cravings and it wasn’t so bad. And I gave myself one cheat meal a week so if I felt like I HAD to indulge (like say….my birthday cake or something!) – I had the option to do so and I could plan for it. It really all boils down to just committing to something. For me. I realized over the past few weeks that I’ve stopped making any decisions for ME since I’ve become a mom. And now I understand all those moms I would see on What Not To Wear who had gained weight and lost touch with their own sense of individuality. I can totally see how that happens now. It’s easy to lose sight of your own goals and interests when you have someone else 100% dependent on you to live.

And that decided things for me. I can’t give up on me…on my goals and my own personal sense of happiness. Being healthy, or at least working toward that goal was a big part of who I was pre-baby. And I have to find that part of myself again. Instead of waiting for some “return to normal life” switch to flip on (not going to happen), I just have to jump in and figure it out as I go. I’ve done Primal before, I can do it again.

So today is a new day. A new start. This is my first decision for me that I’ve made in awhile and I think it’s a good one. Today is our return to Primal eating in an effort to be healthier and have more energy for my ever more difficult to juggle schedule. I think starting with an eating habit makeover is easier than trying to find time to work out right now, so this is at least a start! And as research shows – diet alone can be a major impact on weight loss and exercise is bonus points. I want those bonus points, but not making it my focus right now.

My first goal is to lose the baby weight I’m still carrying around. I forgot to get on the scale this morning to having a starting point – but my estimate is somewhere between 10-12 pounds. And then once I’m there, I’ll set my next goal! As usual, I start my fitness and healthy eating plans at terrible times – like holiday season. I guess I like a challenge!

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Meal Planning – You can do this!

I’m proud to say that despite having a new baby in the house, my hubby and I have maintained our “make meals for the week in advance” schedule. We usually hit up the grocery as a family on Saturday or Sunday morning with our list in hand. We prepare lunches for both of us for 4 days and get ingredients for dinners as well for 4 nights. We also plan out what we’ll eat for  breakfast and make sure to have that prepped and ready, too.

If you are having trouble staying on track with whatever health goal you have and you AREN’T pre-planning your meals – my advice would be to start now! Even if your excuse is that your schedule is too hectic – I would argue that taking a few minutes to pre-select your meals, hit the grocery store ONCE and get all the goods and spending a few hours in the kitchen one day a week would help you have MORE time during the week. I can’t believe how much time I used to spend deciding what to eat on the day of before work. I would open my fridge and stare at the contents, look in the panty for any sign of something decent…and then struggle to think of anything  I could put together with what I had already. This often ended in frustration and I would just get something “out” which was typically unhealthy and more expensive than bringing food from home.

We have been doing this “meals in advance” thing for almost 4 years and we have definitely seen savings in terms of calories and dollars. And of course, time. If you aren’t a chef in the kitchen – there are so many resources for quick and easy meals available on the internet. Your meals don’t have to be gourmet!

Have I convinced you yet?

To get started you have to follow some rules:

1) Pre-select the meals. Check out some websites (eatingwell.com & cookinglight.com are 2 of my favs, as well as paleomg.com if you are looking for wheat free ideas) and select FOUR meals to make. You’ll pick 2 lunch style options and 2 dinner options.

  • You’ll be eating each meal twice which helps with the excuse of not wanting to buy a meal for just one person – because you’ll always be eating it twice. OR I guess if you don’t mind repetition – you could just pick 2 meals and eat them all 4 times instead (this would only work if you are doing this solo though)!
  • We give ourselves one lunch out and one dinner out each week so that we can still be social or attend work events that are over lunch/dinner, etc.
  • Make sure you consider your circumstances for lunch – do you have a fridge at work, a microwave? Toaster oven? Pick meals that will be easy to eat at work.

2) Make a LIST with all the ingredients you’ll need from each recipe BEFORE you set foot in the grocery store. Pick recipes that use the same ingredients to save even more money. So say you are going to make steak tacos and want to do a home made pizza – you could use the same cheese and vegetables for both. See?

3) This must be said: STICK TO THE LIST WHEN YOU SHOP. DO NOT VENTURE FROM THE LIST!

4) Pick a day, afternoon, night, morning (whatever) to prepare your meals. We always make our lunches in advance and put them in 1 serving containers so in the morning it’s a quick grab and go before work. Over the past year we’ve gone back and forth between making dinners in advance and waiting till the night of to make the dinner. It all depends on your schedule. But knowing what you are going to have for dinner and already having all the ingredients will save you tons of time and energy night of!

  • One thing we’ll do is do any prep work that might need to happen for dinner in advance. I’ll use the taco example again (we love tacos) – you could do that as a dinner but you could make the taco meat/veggies in advance so you just have to heat it up and crisp up the taco shells. Throw some beans on the side and you’ve got a meal.

Pyrex Storage Set from Amazon $25

One thing that really helps with this approach is to invest in some decent containers to store your portioned lunches/dinners. We use glass pyrex containers and we have a variety of sizes (small and large rectangles, different sizes of bowls, etc). Make sure whatever you get has lids that seal effectively to keep your food yummy.

The bottom line is that everyone is busy – but scheduling in time to eat healthy (or just to eat within a budget) is do-able. If we can do it in a family where we both work full time and have a new baby, you can do it, too! Start small – maybe just prepare lunches in advance and see how it goes!

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Fighting My Way Back to You

Over the weekend, I made a decision. Screw waiting to “feel better” – I’m just going to go for it. I keep waiting for my knees to not hurt, to feel like they used to…but what if that NEVER happens? What if I always have knee pain from now on? Does that give me a good enough excuse to just not work out? Absolutely not.

I have always struggled with some different forms of pain during my working out years – foot pain, knee pain (of a different sort), back/neck pain…I’ve been through a lot of different scenarios – but I never let it stop me from working out. I realize this weekend that I may never be the same person I was pre-pregnancy again – my body will forever be different because having a child changes you. And instead of mourning that loss of who I was before, I have to start getting to know this new person. The new Dre. And if that means starting at square one again and building my way back toward regular exercise, then so be it. Rome wasn’t built in a day, folks.

And despite having some new types of pain and limitations – I can still work out. It just may look and feel different than it did before. I think a big part of this process was just not wanting to accept that I needed to start over, and what that would feel like. Being totally out of shape was something I could fortunately say I hadn’t experienced in awhile. Despite still having weight to lose before I got pregnant, I still considered myself to be more on the in shape side of things. I had great endurance and strength and I felt like my energy level was in a good place. When I got blood work done and my metabolism tested – everything pointed in a good direction.

But after almost a year of just being out of synch with that part of myself, it just felt like a long journey to start again. And I think that first step was the hardest one for me to take. But I decided to just jump back in and see how things went. So last night, I re-entered our make shift work out room, dug out one of my turbo instructor dvds and pressed play. I determined I would do 30 minutes of turbo and just modify it to avoid the jumping/high impact stuff as I knew my knees wouldn’t like that.

My joints screamed a little as I did my double bob and jab knees. My hamstrings screeched a little during those front and back push kicks. My shoulders and arms complained about the 4 crosses and triples to the left. But, man – my heart sang. It felt good to lose myself a little bit – or maybe it felt good to FIND my old self again. To put back on her shoes, to listen to her music – I found myself signaling the imaginary participants behind me to punch right. I found myself smiling as my heart rate climbed, and even though I couldn’t jump, I could still reach high and practice good form. It felt good, even if I felt different.

My workout was bittersweet. I was pleased with myself in just following through, and being able to do 30 minutes without stopping. But it was hard because I know that the old me would have had a lot more pep in her step and would have been able to do more. I know I’m on the way back to that part of myself, and I realize that it’s not going to look or feel the same for me in a lot of ways. But not trying isn’t an option. That is not a good enough excuse.

Becoming a parent involves a lot of sacrifices, but it also means that you have to take care of yourself in order to take care of someone else. And I won’t let myself forget that.

I’m setting small goals for myself – 30 minutes of cardio 3x a week. I plan to do it after Daxton goes to bed around 8. I can carve out 30 minutes of my day three times a week. And maybe 30 minutes a week will turn into more, or maybe 3x a week will turn into everyday. Who knows, I just know that life is going to go on whether I participate or not, so it’s time to take matters into my own hands and try to figure out who this new version of me will be.

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Finding time for fitness

Today is a big day. It’s not my first day back at work – that was Tuesday. But it IS the first day that I’m able to hit the gym since I gave birth! I can’t believe it has been 12 weeks (almost 13) since I’ve set foot in a gym. But then I think about all the other things I’ve been doing these past few months and I realize it’s not all that unbelievable that I haven’t had time to go to a gym, especially since my gym is located where I work!

Anyway, today is the day. We have two weeks of summer schedule left so I’m taking advantage of my little one already being settled into daycare for the day and I’m going to go to the gym. I keep trying to think of how I’m going to fit gym time back into my life on a regular basis and I still am coming up short on ideas. I understand now why so many parents give up on their fitness goals – it’s REALLY difficult to find time to do it all. My biggest obstacle at this point is finding a window of time where I can go to the gym. Daycare is only for so many hours a day and with travel time – we are right on the cusp of having him there too long (and having to pay more). So that knocks out gym time  before or after work. My other thought is lunch time – but since I’m still breastfeeding, I have a pretty rigorous pumping schedule to fit in during my work day and lunch time is one of them. So by the time I pump – I don’t have much time left in my lunch hour…plus I have to actually eat during lunch as well. I just can’t fit it all in. Since my gym is where I work – and work is NOT close to my home, it presents a problem because coming BACK to work/gym isn’t an option in the evening.

So I may be looking at transitioning to home workouts only, or finding a gym closer to my house so that I could potentially hit the gym after Daxton is in bed for the night. Once I am done with breastfeeding, I’ll be able to re-evaluate my schedule and make the commitment to lunch time work outs although those are limiting since sweating hardcore means you have to shower and get ready all over again.

I thought I was busy before in my life, but now that I have a child and am working full time – it’s unbelievable how every block of my day is already accounted for – how does that happen?!

I’d love to hear how other folks have fit working out into a busy schedule. I’ll put it out there that I am in bed at 10 so that I can pump (asleep by 11 hopefully), up again at 2:30am to pump and then up for the day by 6am. So I’d prefer NOT to get suggestions on waking up earlier to work out because at best I’m getting 3 hours of “uninterrupted” sleep at a time each night. I just don’t think I could exist on any less sleep right now.

I am proud to say that making better choices this month has been helping. I am now only 7 pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight, so that is moving in the right direction!

Wish me luck at the gym today and I hope I get some interesting advice for fitting in my workouts from some of you fitness folks!

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You Can’t Finish Without Starting

Ready?

Yesterday was my first day “back on the wagon” so to speak. I always feel more committed to sticking to my goals when I share it on this blogspace. So for what it’s worth, and to whoever may be reading this blog – thank you for helping me stay honest.

So, as I mentioned, my hubby and I are trying to get pack to more paleo/primal eating – so this week our meals are pretty on track! Here’s the run down:

Lunches:
Quick Chicken Enchiladas (with corn tortillas) from Cooking LightBeef Hamburgers with beans (no bun)

Dinners:
Shrimp-n-grits
Chicken Caesar Salad

So I had the hamburger and salad yesterday. I also made what is quickly becoming my signature breakfast dish and it was great once again. For 2 easy recipes – check out my old post about it over on my recipe blog. The great thing about both of them is that you can change up the ingredients to make it match what you like best! I don’t really follow a specific recipe anymore…and I feel like this is one of the few times in my life I am actually “cheffing it up” as my hubby would say!

For snacks, I indulged in some cashews, a small piece of 90% dark chocolate and greek yogurt. All pretty decent snacks in my opinion! And you know what? I was full and the food was good yesterday. I can do this! I still find myself looking to munch on processed crap – it will take a few weeks for those ridiculous cravings to go away, I know. Isn’t it terrible the bad habits we pick up and how food becomes an addiction that you have to kick?

While I wasn’t able to do much in terms of being active yesterday – I bet I burned a ton of calories breastfeeding since my little one had his 2 month shots and wanted nothing other than to eat and sleep in my arms all day long. I guess I can’t complain – I know that before too long he will be running around, uninterested in falling asleep in my arms. Savoring these moments while I can!

So, I could do it for one day, I can do it for another. The lesson here is that you can’t be successful at something unless you actually attempt it. What is stopping you from starting?

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