Defining Progress

What is progress? It really depends on how you choose to define it. I haven’t been blogging daily about my Whole30 adventure the way I had originally set out to. I wanted to create a journal, and hopefully have it provide guidance and information to others doing Whole30 in the future. Things have changed. The first few days of my Whole30 I spent constantly searching for other people’s accounts of the program. How did they feel? What happens on Day 6? Am I going to lose these last 10 pounds? It only took me a few days to realize that it really doesn’t matter. The details of what happens to me during these 30 days dont matter to you. And shouldn’t matter to you. What should matter to you are your next 30 days, and what matters to me (now) are mine. There are a few things that matter, though: I feel good. I feel happy, I feel confident, I feel in control and so can you.

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Roasted veggies (beets, zucchini, onion, and sweet potato) and salmon..

I have failed on many ‘diet’ plans. Actually, I usually last less time than the average person. If I make it a full week with no slips, ‘cheats’, or ‘off-plan’ choices, I feel accomplished and celebrate with some ice cream (litearlly). That’s the way I am. It’s the way I’ve always been. It’s not that I don’t want to commit, and I don’t want to be healthy; it’s just that it’s exhausting. There is too much guess work for me. Too many choices, too many decisions.. You set out on the latest diet: you eat 1200 calories per day (but no fruit, because fruit has too much sugar), feel STARVING, are constantly focused on/thinking about food (maybe your body is trying to tell you something?) and are surviving off only whole-grain rice cakes and low-fat peanut butter, because you seem to get the most ‘bang for your buck’, calorie and taste wise. Then you start to question if this is even working. You haven’t lost any weight and it’s been 4 days. Your body is craving everything in sight and your brain is foggy. You’re not sure how much longer you can go on. You’re exhausted. Working out is not going to happen. Before you know it you’re head first into a Big Mac and fries (or whatever your thing is). It’s all a blurr, and you feel out of control…next thing you know you’re crying yourself to sleep because you’re such a failure. Sound familiar?

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Apple chicken sausage (so tasty..find this!) and sweet potato ‘stir fry’ with broccoli (and a salad on the side).

Today is Day 17 of my journey. I don’t feel the Tiger Blood. I don’t feel extremely energized, or super focused. But, I haven’t cried, I haven’t eaten ice cream, and I feel good. I don’t feel hungry, and I have almost mastered the art of not constantly obsessing over food. I sleep well through the night, wake up without snoozing, and at 3pm I am still in an up-right position at my desk. I am eating large, healthy, satisfying meals. I have no idea how many calories I consume..but they taste delicious, and each one of them is helping fuel my body. I have learned to distinguish between hunger and a craving. Wanting something sweet after a huge, delicious lunch is not hunger. It’s a craving, and it needs to get away from me. My pants feel looser and my stomach isn’t bloated. My digestion has improved 10-fold and my skin is clear and glowing. I haven’t given up, or even thought about it, because it’s only 30 days, I’m not starving, and I’m seeing positive changes. The expectations are reasonable,  attainable. It’s actually kind of fun…like an experiment with yourself. If this was just like any other typical diet, I wouldn’t have any of those things by this point…and they all seem pretty damn important to me.

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Delicious steak with sautéed onions and mushrooms..complete with a white potato (worth it) with broccoli and green onions!

My pre-Whole30 self is still there, but I’m slowly helping her learn to get her shit together. I still badly want to weigh myself. Every day I wake up, feel good (and skinnier, for lack of a better word), and I think “HOW MUCH WEIGHT HAVE I LOST?!” (in the interest of fulfilling every last detail and rule of the plan, I have not done this). This is something else fun that I’ve learnt, so far. I have let the scale define my progress, sense of worth, and my happiness for too long. I know that if I jumped on the scale right now and saw I hadn’t lost a pound,  I’d stop feeling good. I’d be sad, feel defeated, and want some ice cream. But in reality, why does it matter? If I’m feeling good, gaining energy, learning lots, and fueling my body for physical activity…why do I need to weigh 10 pounds less?  That’s right. I don’t. So basically, you should try this. Go to the website, take a read, and do it for yourself. Spend 30 days commited to yourself. Be selfish. Eat nuts and coconut and free-range eggs. Read labels, learn where your food comes from, and see what works for you. This is life changing.

Now I know what some of you are thinking, because I’ve heard it multiple times already: “one bite won’t hurt”, “it’s too restrictive”, “I could never give up bread”. Wrong, wrong, and very wrong (coming from the queen of bread, herself). It’s actually kind of fun to sit there, knowing you aren’t going to eat something, but just checking it out, and thinking “would that even be that good?”. Is a plain old donut from your local supermarket really worth it? Probably not. Maybe if, after 30 days, you still really want that shitty donut, you can go find a really yummy, deliciously fresh donut…and you can enjoy it without guilt because it was worth it. But trust me, that stale donut sitting on the lunch room table is not that donut. I mean, come on. For 30 days you can’t cut out crap, and just see how you feel? Maybe you’ll think it’s stupid, and maybe after 30 days you’ll go back to your old ways, but I highly doubt it..and really, that’s the worst thing that could happen.

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That’s my Whole30 take, so far. Yours will be completely different. You might lose 20 pounds, you might gain 2 (muscle, of course!). But I can guarantee you one thing, it will change your life.

What’s life without sugar?

I don’t like fad diets. They bother me. I’ve heard of the Whole30 before, and brushed it off, because who wants to stop eating bread? No one. And that’s probably why you  need to think about doing it, but that’s besides the point.

Anyways. Since then I clearly changed my mind, and since I’m pretty much half-way done* (Day 4, baby!). My husband is not supportive. All the other blogging chicks are like “Omg! My husband made me compliant chicken for dinner!”, or “Aww..my husband made me this delicious breakfast.” *insert fancy-ass breakfast here*. Not this girl. Nope. In fact, last night during our phone call, and me trying to tell him about how I ate eggs four times yesterday, he said “We’ll go for pizza when you get home.”. NO WE WON’T, HELLO? Then, his exact words were: “This is ridiculous. Just eat some sugar.”  Ummm…you’re ridiculous? OF course (sugar-detox induced or not), this made me cry. Trust me, we do love each other.

Sometimes we are too hard on one another (aka mean). I blame it on us both being Taurus…and the fact that we have not learned how to communicate in a healthy manner yet..but we’re working on it. #blameyourchildhood (hehe)

Long story short, this prompted me into a spiral (as I usually do when upset) of talking too fast and spouting too much information and words that I often question the meaning of, mid-thought.. After a solid week of too-much-research (what did we do before Google?), I felt like a professional, and in that moment it ALL. CAME. OUT. Seriously. I should make an infomercial.

Well what do you know? Now he’s asking questions… “WHY can’t you eat bread?”, “You love cottage cheese. And think of the protein!”. I think he’ll at least pretend to be supportive now, but I wont be expecting any breakfasts.  Whatever, he can eat all the sugar he wants, because after all, WHAT’S LIFE WITHOUT SUGAR?

Overall, the way I see it: it’s one freaking month of the rest of your life. 30 days. What’s the WORST thing that could happen? You are sad and sugar-achey all day for 30 days (which wont happen), or you’re hungry? You wont be hungry. You might be bored of eggs, and miss donuts and cheese, but you wont be hungry. If you’re hungry, eat some nuts, or some steak, or some bacon! Big whoop. Pull yourself together and do something with your life. If nothing else, you’ll learn that you have an inability to follow through with anything (I’m mean, too).

So after we got that bomb outta the way, I felt even better about my plan.

I woke up this morning feeling READY to take on another day. Again, I have a slight headache, but it’s totally liveable. Where’s my detox?!

Instead of telling you about my eggs today, I figured I’d compile a few fun-facts from my short little journey, so far:

  1. I actually am looking forward to black coffee in the morning (weird)
  2. I’m starting to think less about food (amazingly enough). Day-dreaming about the mid-afternoon muffin you’re going to have is not nearly as enjoyable as dreaming about a vegetable stirfry with hard-boiled eggs.
  3. Reading ingredients is interesting and eye-opening. The apple-cinnamon or lemon tea I usually drink in the morning has nine ingredients (?!), one of which is SOYBEAN OIL.
  4. I feel bloated when I eat fruit
  5. I have been sleeping the entire night, which is miraculous considering I usually cant manage to sleep in camp (when’s the last time you slept in a twin sized bed?)

Loveee.

*They need to invent formatting for sarcasm: bold, italic, underlined, sarcastic. Clearly someone missed the memo.

Day 2

My life lately has been defined by the fact that I am either working or on days-off. It shouldn’t be like that, but for some reason it is. I spend both too much, and not enough time strictly deciding what needs to happen during my too-few hours at home with the fam. Working days consist of merely making it through, and not thinking of how many more I have left, what I’m missing out on, or how lonely the bed feels at night. It’s like my head is in the clouds. I should never wish away time. Not working consists of celebration, hugs, kisses, cuddles, waiting for J to come home from work, waiting for the weekend, way too much sleep, and making up for everything (I think) I missed out on during my previous week. Both feel too fast, too un-tasted and under-appreciated. My life is like a whirlwind and days are flying by like they don’t even count. . I want to take time, live like in a movie or the cover of a great novel, sit on the front porch and count the minutes with the people and things I love.

This year, instead of making a resolution, I thought back on 2014 and talked with J about our memories from the year. Not surprisingly, we had very few. I don’t know how many memories one should be able to recall from a year, but a mere handful seems too few. 2015 will be the year of remembering, a start to making memories and a stop to wishing time away. I hope this time next year we will sit down and think of many times: from hikes to adventures to camping trips, to cuddle sessions and breakfasts in bed (we had dinner in bed for our first time and it was magical).

Since I am resolution-less, and surrounded by the madness of January dieting and gym-goers, I have decided to do the Whole30 (just to fit in 😉 ). Today is my Day 2.

Near the end of the day yesterday I was sitting at my desk thinking “Ha! I don’t see what the big deal is. This is easy-peasy“. I then went to the website to check out how other people have felt on Day 1. Well, it appears I am not alone. Day 1 is easy for most people, and the euphoric high you get from following through for an entire day (go, you!) is a happiness booster for many. The information also informed me to be prepared for Day 2 and 3 to feel less than ideal. I got this.

Day 2:

I woke up with a slight headache (very minor) and it has gone away since then. I feel okay, but I would have liked to have toast for breakfast.. I will survive. I thought about why I wanted toast, and all I could come up with was that I liked it. I had raspberries instead, I like those too.

It’s 30 days of the rest of my life, so even if I learn one single, tiny thing about myself, it’s a challenge, and it was worth it. What else do I really have going on?

Whole30 is supposed to change your relationship with food, and how you think about what you put into your body. I tend to do best when my options are strictly limited, anyways. One bite of chocolate and I’m eating the entire cupboard. I don’t know why I am like that, but for me, I am easily de-railed and the flood gates open wide after a small slip-up. I have an all or nothing mentality when it comes to food… This will be good for me, I think. I need something  to focus my energy on (or maybe not focus my energy on). Something to succeed at and something to force me to check in with myself, my feelings, and what is happening my life —  daily.

Love,

A

Long weekend = short week

I tried to get J to tell me which he was more excited for, the long weekend, or the short week. Apparently, according to him, they’re the same thing (Uh, no). Although today is Tuesday, it’s really my Monday (thank you, holiday Monday!) and I feel blessed I got to skip the typical Monday blues. ❤ Happy, happy, happy.

We had a Thanksgiving dinner (non-traditional style) last night.  I made my very first ham, homemade mac n’ cheese (J’s request), roasted root veggies, broccoli, homemade buns, and blueberry pie. My cousin’s girlfriend (my cousin is the only family I have here, other than J, of course) brought a pumpkin chocolate cheesecake. J’s friend from back home came, also. The 5 of us (and the three pups, of course), had a good time, and it was nice…it still isn’t quite the same being away from my family (will it ever be?), but we are getting to the point where I don’t cry on holidays.. 😉 Also, my ham turned out PERFECTLY, if I may say so myself. I think everyone was in a food coma when they left, and I was very happy that I was already at home…no travelling on a full belly for me! 🙂

On another note: I woke up bright and early and started a new gym. I always have trouble getting out of bed for morning gym sesh’s.. Usually (9 times out of 10) I make up some kind of excuse as to why re-setting my alarm and getting two more hours of sleep is a better plan….

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Not this time! My new gym is SO cool! It’s actually a lady who lives just down the street (a 2 minute jog) who has made her basement into a full gym! It has a private entrance, and you’re given a key with your membership. You book your 1.5hour time slot in advance, and you are the only person there.. you can bring up to 3 other people with you for no additional fee. It is AMAZING. Working out alone, in a full gym, with a private bathroom, two TV’s, your own stereo, ipod hook-ups, workout dvds (MANY of them) and an area to do them?! Oh wow, why didn’t I think of that? Also, booking in advance means that even if I don’t show up, I am still paying = I am actually getting out of bed.

Yay, yay, yay yaaaaaaaaaaaay. I am a happy camper.

 

xo

Ashley

“I want a burger”

I think that has to be my husband’s favorite text ever.. I’m sure many men dream of sultry texts from their wives, illustrating what’s to come that evening. ..but not mine. Nope, he’s just stoked that burgers are in his near future. That’s his favorite dinner, too (I got lucky), and if I throw on a few pieces of bacon and a fried egg, I win the wife-of-the-hour award…easy peasy.  I wish I could see the smile on his face when he got it.. much better than “chicken breast and salad for dinner”, I’m sure.

Mine will be sans bun, as usual, and maybe I’ll go the “grass-fed, organic, triple the price, local, 100% all-natural, Alberta beef” route.. that would be healthy. 😉

 

Go burgers.

 

P.S. I had a Naturopath appointment last night, and thus have a blood test today…soon… I am diabolically afraid of needles..especially the kinds that stab into my veins. This will also be my first blood test in many, many years where I do not force J to accompany, stand too close for comfort, and allow me to burry my head and nails into his body. He’s the best human stress ball there is. ❤ When I am nervous, I’m kind of like a 10-year old who’s had way too much sugar: hence the burger post.

Finger’s crossed they don’t miss my vein..