Day 11: Let the Holiday Food Fests Begin!

It’s that time of year…holiday food fests abound.  Today is our work pot luck lunch.  Over 50 people have signed up to bring a sugar laden, non-organic, non-GMO, non-pasturized, full-of-wheat dish and it will all be waiting in the kitchen for anyone who wants to partake.

I will be severely limiting my trips to the kitchen for the rest of the week.  I’m on set-up and clean-up detail, so at least while I’m in there I’ll be busy.  I’ll have lunch today, as I know there is some stuff I can eat, but otherwise I’m bringing my lunch the rest of the week.

I made that sweet potato salad.  I tested it this morning and it’s good!  I was a little afraid last night, smelling the salad and dressing separately, but after chilling overnight and mixing them together…yumo!!  I hope there is some left by the time I get in. If not, I’ll just make more!  I only put about half the dressing on – that was enough.  Otherwise, I think it might be too sweet from the mangos (I used frozen mangos, BTW).

Regarding my tummy issues: I think the coffee does set it off.  POOP!!!  I LOVE that coffee!  I also love my health, so I’m going to have to put my big girl panties on and suck it up a bit.  I need to wallow a bit more, though.  I’m going to try to just cut back a bit first, to see if that helps.

You might have noticed that I haven’t been training much at all.  I’m well aware, as are the red squares on my Training Peaks calendar.  I have some thoughts about this which don’t settle well with my Type-A triathlete self.  I’m really proud of the progress I’m making with food.  These past few days have been really hard, and I’ve come out (so far) with my head held high, living up to all the promises I made when I started this journey.  I’m trying to challenge myself, but not set myself up for failure, which is a very delicate, thin line.

Normally, if my hours were this low, I would be a total grouch, moody, bad sleep, headaches, sinus stuff, can’t focus, etc.  All the hormonal responses to a change in equilibrium.  This time…I feel good!  I feel normal (my mood is a little questionable, but I think that’s more because of the Whole30, and notsomuch the training withdrawal).  I don’t feel too fat (or, fatter than I normally do) and I’m actually somewhat happy with my body comp right now.  This is a new thing for me – I’ve never experienced feeling good about my body while not working out 12-15 hours a week.

My point is that I know my training is low, but I’m in a good, healthy place.  I’m not completely settled with my ‘new self’ yet, so until I am, I’m not going to push so much that everything goes to poop.  I’ll wait until January rolls around to get really serious about training.  My first real race isn’t until June, so there’s time.  By then, I’ll be more used to this ‘new me’ and be better able to handle the stress (physical, mental) that comes with increased hours.

Breakfast: 7:10 am, 3 eggs scrambled with spinach, leftover chicken thighs, 1/2 avocado.  This settled ok, I think my tummy issues might be behind me.  I cut out the veggie from breakfast because I’m already having spinach, so I think I’m ok.

Breakfast 12/17

I had some cut up fruit around 10 and then a Lara bar around 11:30 because I was hungry.  I’m letting myself go with it today because I was so erratic with my eating yesterday.

Lunch: 12:30, potluck.  I had meatballs, slice of ham, a bunch of salads, my sweet potato salad.  I learned afterwards that one of the salads had some canola oil and sugar in it, but it was SO good!  I’ll see how my tummy does with it.  I’m stuffed now.

We had so. much. food. at the FoodFest.  Six tables covered with meatballs, ham, salads, chips, cheese and crackers, and two tables alone devoted to desserts.  People have some serious culinary talent that they unleashed for the enjoyment of all.

Dinner: 6:30 pm, Minestrone soup, tea.  Easy dinner.  It was a long day at work, so I was glad to just have a low-key evening.

My boyfriend came into town this afternoon.  He’s staying until Thursday.  He doesn’t eat Paleo, but he will eat what I cook, and he’s supportive of my habits.  I have a “carry in, carry out” policy at my house.  I don’t buy junk food for him, so he can buy it/bring it in, but he has to bring it home with him.  That works for the most part.  In the past, I’ve ended up stealing some of his junk food, but not this time.  If I stayed strong surrounded by plates and plates of cookies, brownies, cakes and truffles, then I can stay strong in the presence of cheesy poofs and crackers.


Day 9: Humpf

I’m not in a good place with eating right now.  I’m actually writing this the day after day 9 because I just couldn’t figure out what I wanted to say about the day, other than it was really hard.  I was so frustrated, tempted, overwhelmed…all those things.  Just not good.  I kept thinking about Christmas and the table of Christmas cookies, the bottles of wine, the meals out with family…all that stuff.  I was thinking about why is it really necessary to give up all that stuff, so long as I eat healthy the rest of the time?

I kept going back and forth between that logic, which I truly do believe.  I’m not a believer in total restriction, which I know is contrary to Whole30.  I believe you can enjoy treats, but in moderation, because you only live once and you want to enjoy it while you’re here.  Then, I would think, NO, NOT ME, I don’t have the tool set to do moderation YET.  I kept telling myself (rationalizing) that’s why I’m doing Whole30, so I can learn the toolset and break my sugar and snack dependencies.  That’s why it’s hard now, because it’s starting to get real.  It’s not new anymore, it’s just hard and tough and real.  I’m trying to remind myself that ‘this is where the progress starts!’, which helps…a little.

It’s going to be a long week.

Breakfast: 9:15 am, 3 eggs scrambled with ghee and spinach, leftover meatballs, 1/2 avocado.  Those red thingys are actually meatballs, even though the picture didn’t really take that well.  I only ate about half of them…I was over the meatballs.

Breakfast 12/15

Lunch:  12:30 pm, Minestrone soup.  This finished up in the crock pot last night around 10:30 (as I was winding down my New Girl marathon), so I put it right in the fridge after getting out (I don’t normally do that, but time wasn’t on my side tonight).  When I looked at it this morning, all the fat had risen to the top and solidified.  I scooped all that out and got rid of it, but kind of funny.

Lunch 12/15

The afternoon…this is when it got really, really hard.  I don’t know why I did this (because I know I’m not strong enough to resist now), but I bought some peanut butter M&Ms to put in my brownies, which I was thinking of bringing in to our work pot-luck holiday lunch this week.  All I kept thinking was that they were in the cupboard.  I went through absolutely everything else – a bunch of trail mix, a Lara Bar (actually…that’s it).  I was kind of hungry, but it was more the ritual I was craving.  It was a serious, entrenched ritual craving.

This is when it happened.  My boo-boo.  I had about 1/4 cup of dark chocolate chips with almond butter.  I know it was against protocol.  I was so overwhelmed (I think that’s the right word), tired from staying up too late, bored…all the things that drive you to self-sabotage.  I literally almost started crying I was so frustrated.  THIS IS FOOD!!  Why is it so complicated?

I’m not going to re-start my Whole30 (omg, I cannot handle that right now) because I think, in the deep, dark, barely visible,  rationale part of my brain, that I’m right where I need to be.  That’s why it’s so hard now, because I’m getting out of my comfort zone and being forced to be uncomfortable for a bit.  For what I’m trying to accomplish with this program, there’s no sense is starting over now, just as it’s getting good.

I’m also probably not going to make those brownies.  I just don’t think I can handle having them around, unsupervised.  My boyfriend is coming on Tuesday…maybe I’ll make them then.  If he’s here, I’ll be less inclined to snack while he’s here to witness it.

Dinner: 8:30 pm, Tuna salad, right out of the container.  I didn’t think I would eat dinner, but I finally got hungry around 8:30.  I had made this tuna salad earlier, and it totally hit the spot.  I think I’m going to need to make more this week.  It had the protein from the chicken, the sweetness from the apple, and a bit of crunch from the walnuts.  It was exactly what I needed.  No pic, because seriously…it was right out of the Tupperware and I was not in a picture mood.

Something else fueling my frustration…I’m not observing any of the ‘good stuff’ that usually happens on Whole30.  My  pants still fit the same, my sleep is actually a little worse, my tummy has some issues and I’m having some scale/calorie-counting withdrawal.  I feel out-of-control, I think that sums it up.  I haven’t counted a calorie in nine days, or stepped on the scale, and it’s bothering me.

I clearly have some stuff to work through.

Day 8: I’m not fixed yet

I think I’m at the point now where it’s going to get really hard.  This is the time in previous endeavors where I would normally think, “I got this, I don’t need to strictly finish all 30 days, I understand and have demonstrated that I can implement the concepts, so that little sugar cookie over there won’t hurt me”.

I’m starting to understand that this is the point where the work really begins.  The first week I’m coasting on adreneline and the ‘newnesss’ of the program.  Because of that, it’s not as hard to face down some of the demons I really need to address during this program.  Like, craving sugar.  Or, eating for emotional reasons.  (those are kind of the same thing)

To be fair, my diet pre-Whole30 wasn’t horrible.  I eat well, compared to the average Joe (and even perhaps the average triathlete).  I don’t need to do Whole30 for health reasons, because I’m healthy.  I need to do this program because I have some bad habits that I need to understand and manage more effectively.  If I emerge on the flip side with an understanding of what’s going on in my brain when I crave sugar or goodies and how to manage it, then these 30 days will have been a success.  The answer to that question, at least the way I’m thinking now, is that I need to stay focused on what I’m trying to accomplish over the long-term and be able to weigh the value of the short-term (the cookie) versus the long-term reward (kick ass triathlete).  While the impact of the individual sugar cookie, physically speaking, is minimal, the real impact is that it enables the crutch I’ve become used to and dependant on, and that overall is holding me back. The commitment of the 30 days helps me focus. It’s short, digestible. I’ll worry about what comes after, later.

I’m going to re-do some of the meals I’ve been having.  I think I need to focus less on carbs and veggies and more on healthy fats.  I should be able to go between meals without snacking, and that’s not happening yet.  I’m going to start eating avocados like nobody’s business, in hopes that helps.  I should probably eat more seafood, too.

Workout: 9 am, 2 hard boiled eggs pre-run (hungry from the early dinner last night!), 45′ run, 1/2 sweet potato wrapped in two slices of turkey post-run.

Breakfast:  11 am, 3 eggs scrambled in 1 tsp ghee (probably could have used more) with spinach, pulled pork, 1/2 avocado.  I’m breaking the mold!

Did a bunch of shopping after breakfast.  A miracle happened at Kohls.  I had to return some stuff I bought for my boyfriend, so I was anticipating waiting in line for about 20 minutes, and then not having a smooth return process (even though I had the receipts).  It was the exact opposite!  No line, so I went right to the counter, and the whole thing took less than three minutes.  It took longer to park and walk in than it did to return the stuff.  Win.

I had an apple on my way back from Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, and my stomach started to get a little upset.  I’m not sure why.  I’m wondering if it’s because I had more fat and not enough carbs after my run?  I’m secretly wondering if it was the pork.  Anyway, I didn’t get hungry until about 3:30.  I wonder if that was also because I had more fat with breakfast than I normally do?

Lunch: 4pm, last of the cauliflower soup with green onions and pulled pork.  The soup is gone, at last, at last!  Good thing because I have some minestone going in the crockpot now. 🙂

Dinner: 7:30, leftover meatballs
Nothing exciting, almost done with the leftover meatballs. Maybe I’ll finish them tomorrow for breakfast.

I’ve been watching The New Girl on Netflix for the past few days. I’m addicted. I’m halfway through season 2. I love finding new shows to watch. It’s so much more fun to binge watch instead of hanging through week after week.

Day 7: The Holiday Work Party

Today’s the day: Bowling Holiday Work Party.  Yikes.  I think I’ll be ok.  I usually can do ok, eating-wise, in public situations like this, as there are people watching (judging, says my cynical self), so my willpower can stay high.  (my issues are more when I’m alone and no one is around!).  I’m more concerned about the bowling part.  I’m not a good bowler, and I’m not crazy about the shoes for a number of reasons.  First, the ‘are they clean’ thing and second, I have big feet so I always end up in men’s shoes.  I don’t care what anyone says – you can tell they are mens shoes.  I am also a socially awkward penguin and not a fan of forced socialization or small talk.  Perhaps I should view this as an exercise is letting go of my insecurities and being more in the moment.

socially awkaward penguin

In other news, I need to start scouring Pintrest and the Interwebs for recipes to make this week, and start putting together a game plan for Christmas week at my parents house.  The Kindle version of the Well Fed cookbook  was on sale for $1.99 yesterday, so I bought that and found a few things I might try.

I threw the raisins out.  They are destructive to my efforts.  I can’t have ‘finger food’ around because my stop button is broken.  I just keep diving in for handful after handful.  It’s not productive and reinforces bad habits.  I’m not eating because I’m hungry, I’m eating because it’s something to do while watching TV, cooking, reading, etc.  No more finger food for the next 23 days.

I’m not doing food pics today because it’s all repeats.  Nothing exciting.  I need to get something new in rotation because I might be getting a little bored with some leftovers.

Breakfast: 7 am, 3 eggs, kielbasa sausage, zucchini (the usual!)  I am such a creature of habit, which is why it’ so hard for me to break bad habits, and to recognize which ones really are bad.

The party: 11:30 am – 2 pm.  A few carrots, celery, tomatoes, some pulled pork and grilled chicken.  Here’s a life lesson for you:  It’s probably best to not eat chicken from a bowling alley.  It did not sit well with my tummy.  My salad idea fell apart, and I actually had a weak moment.  I got hungry around 10, so I went downstairs and bought a packet of trail mix.  It was bad on two counts: a) my habit of picking at a bag of food until it’s gone, and b) I know it had all sorts of bad stuff on it.  I need to be be more prepared!  I had a hard boiled egg, but it was in the car.  I was so hungry that I knew it wouldn’t last for me, either.  I plowed through the trail mix, so by the time I got to the party I wasn’t as hungry as I was earlier.

It was interesting, it wasn’t that hard to stay away from the food at the party.  It kind of looked gross, what with being in a bowling alley, and my group was on the other side of the room from where the food was set-up, so it was fairly effortless to stay away.  The hard part came after I was leaving and mentally getting ready for the weekend.  This is normally when I’d not worry about dinner and stop and pick something up (a sub, pizza, or something likewise) and perhaps even a bottle of wine to tide me over for the few days.

The party itself was actually fun, too.  I get myself so worked up about these things, I need to just relax.  We bowled a couple games (I did 112 on one and 101 on another).  Bowling is hard!  It really does take some skill and coordination to do well at it.  But, not for me.  I’m not a bowler for the same reason I’m not a golfer – too frustrating, and you stay still for too long.

On my way home, it started to sink in just how hard it’s going to be during Christmas to stay away from the goodies.  I called my parents and my mom was making Christmas cookies.  She started describing them and I could just picture them and the display on Christmas Eve.  Then I started thinking more – my sister’s probably going to want to drink a night or two over break.  That’s when it dawned on me just how much strength and willpower I’m going to need over the next few weeks.  I know in my brain that what I’m doing is right, but I can see how falling back into old habits will be so easy to do.  This weekend I normally am baking tons and tons of Christmas cookies, drinking a lot of wine and watching Christmas movies.  This weekend, I’ll have a normalish weekend, but I’ll still watch the Christmas movies.  Sober.

Early dinner: 4:30 pm, more cabbage soup with kielbasa and sauteed mushrooms.  I’ll probably have something small later tonight, but I was starving.  I only had that little bit of pulled pork and the awful chicken for lunch, so I figured I could eat a little early.

Day 6: Rest Day

Ahhhh…today is a rest day.  I know my legs were jacked from yesterday, so I’m going to take today off (except for probably some yoga and core work this evening).  Plus, it’s about 15 degrees outside, so it’s fine with me not taking my chances in the dark on the ice-laden roads of Newark.  (I know, I could do the treadmill…I kind of hate the treadmill.  It has it’s place, but a casual foundation run isn’t it.)

I’ve been thinking a lot about my training schedule for the next two months.  I’m going to do two 70.3’s this year, Syracuse and hopefully, Princeton, with a handful of local running and tri races sprinkled in between.  I’m trying to figure out where I should focus.  Obviously, some basic base building, but I think I need to get into the weight room a little bit.  Nothing crazy; you will not catch me clean and jerking 100s of pounds, but I should do some squats, deadlifts, chest and shoulder presses and some really targeted core work.  I’ll start with it the week between Christmas and New  Years (my favorite week of the year because work is closed!) as well as find my way back to the pool again.  I want to be able to average about 11-12 hours/week by the end of February.  (in the beginning of March I’m going to see my aunt and uncle in Napa for a week, so it’s a natural transition time).

I get very worried about adding intensity, particularly to the run (the bike and swim are fine with intensity).  I tend to get injured really easily, usually in the form of hamstring or calf pulls), whenever I incorporate speed training, like tempo or intervals, into my running.  I think I’ll keep doing basic foundation runs for January, while concurrently working on my strength in the gym.  In February, I’ll start doing some shorter intervals/fartlek runs and see how I respond.

My big thing with training is being consistent.  I’m really great at pulling a big weekend, but then I’m toast for the rest of the week.  That’s part of the reason why I think it’s so important to work through the Whole30, because I think the nutrition lessons I learn as part of it will support better recovery and stabilize “my stuff” (metabolism, hormones, all that fun stuff) so it’s easier for me to be consistent.  I don’t want the tiredness, crankiness and mood swings => those all lead to missed workouts.

In case you were wondering about one of the men in my life, here he is, in all his 14-year-old, snowy glory.  Love him to death!!  He’s such an old man, and he’s always been like that.  He’s the dog version of Walter Matthau in Grumpy Old Men.

Snowy Doc

Breakfast:  7 am, three eggs, sausage patty (last ones!), zucchini

Breakfast 12/12

This morning was busy with meetings, so I didn’t sit down at my desk until around 11:45.  I was so hungry.  I plowed through some cashews like nobody’s business.

Lunch:  12:30, no picture :(.  Ate out at Freddys and had a chopped salad with grilled chicken, tomatoes, pecans, cucumbers, broccoli and a few other things.  The dressing was this awesome cilantro lime dressing, which I’m not 100% sure is complaint, but it’s delicious.  Had lunch with the guys, so I chose this which is mostly good.  Although…Randy’s buffalo chicken sandwich and fries did look good, too.

The afternoon went by pretty quickly.  Tomorrow is our office holiday party; we’re going bowling!  I haven’t bowled in forever.  I’m sure I will not be good.  But, neither will anyone else.  There’s supposed to be “Bowling Fare Food”, which does not sound at all Whole30 compliant, so I’m going to have to both improvise and prepare.  I think I might just do an early lunch.  I made a salad for today that I didn’t eat, so I think I’m going to bring that and eat it on the drive over.  (the party starts at 11 am).  By the time I get there, I should be full enough so I can bypass the bad stuff, and then finish up when I get out.  After the party, we get the rest of the day off.  Score!!

Maybe I should start my Christmas shopping…

I had some carrots and almond butter around 3:30, and then some raisins when I got home from work.  I need to get rid of the raisins.  They’re like crack to me – I can’t eat just one.  I should have had a hard boiled egg instead.

Dinner:  6:30 pm, Cauliflower soup, kielbasa sausage and sauteed mushrooms (same thing as Tuesday so I’m recycling the pic because today it didn’t look nearly as pretty).

Dinner 12/11

Still good the second time around.

I’m tired tonight.  I couldn’t fall asleep last night, so I’m hoping to get to bed a bit earlier tonight.  I think it’s a good night to watch a few New Girl episodes and hit the hay.  Nothing too exciting today, but I know it’s going to be a busy weekend coming up.  Eric is coming in next week so we can do our little holiday thing.  I need to clean the bathrooms, grocery shop, give Doccie a bath, Christmas shop, meal plan, cook food and get in my workouts.  And, it’s supposed to be bad weather.  Whatevs.  One more week and then a whole week and a half OFF!!  SOOO excited!!