January 17, 2014

Whole 30: Day 12

Not much to share today, but so far, things are going well here. Finding compliant things to eat hasn't been too hard, and they even let me cook dinner for everyone tonight! Matt's mom wanted to try spaghetti squash, so I made some with homemade sauce and chicken thighs. Pretty good! Breakfast was scrambled eggs, lunch was an omelette with spinach, mushrooms, and broccoli and a little cup of fresh fruit.

One of the best things about today: we went to Trader Joe's. Very exciting stuff since the closest one to us in South Carolina is over an hour away. We got raw cashews, unsweetened/unsulphured dried cranberries, and unsulphured dried apricots. Looking forward to cooking with those! We also got a few Larabars since they cost nearly half what they do in South Carolina, and I had one for an afternoon snack.

Matt's mom and brother are being incredibly supportive and asking us if the restaurants are okay and if we will be able to find compliant things to eat. We explained the Whole 30 today at lunch, to try and help them make more sense of the rules. I'm definitely less nervous than I was before coming here.

January 16, 2014

Whole 30: Day 11

I'm writing this quickly from my office while I eat lunch (chicken breast with carrots and apples in the slow cooker, cinnamon and curry spices - did too much cinnamon and not enough curry, it isn't very good but it's all I brought with me today).

We're leaving for Minnesota straight from work. It's a nearly four hour drive to the airport, then waiting, then a very late flight. I'm anxious, but not letting it manifest itself in my habits. I am not physically hungry, so I am not eating. The anxious energy will need to be dealt with in a different way.

Breakfast was two eggs scrambled with mushrooms and olives left over from a few days ago. Trying to use things up before we head out, although at least this time it is only for a few days. No need to leave a completely empty fridge like before Christmas.

We have raw nuts and Larabars packed for this weekend: the drives, the flights, for holding us over if we go out to eat somewhere where there is nothing available for us. I'm trying not to worry too much about the food. It's such a minor part of the trip, yet it gets all my anxiety. Not my baby's first experience in cold Midwestern weather, not the birthday party, not the timing of the travel. It's the food. I feel myself obsessing, and I need to step back.

We weighed ourselves this morning. I decided it was a good idea, a motivator. Weigh ourselves before and after the trip, and that will encourage us to make consistently good decisions. We were down from the last time we'd weighed ourselves - again, significant losses. Combined loss in the double digits (upper teens). We're doing well, not only in this sense, but we feel great. More energy when we wake up. Sleeping better. Clearer skin.

By the end of this weekend, we still want to feel this way. It's going to be hard, but we will do it.

I am sure we will have internet access while we are gone. I hope to post at least once while there.

In the meantime, a request. When Google Reader was killed (sigh), I switched over to Feedly, and I lost all the blogs I used to read. There were hundreds. I could remember a few URLs, but not many. What are your blogs? What other blogs should I be reading? Leave me some in the comments, give me something to read this weekend (and in general, for motivation!).

January 15, 2014

Whole 30: Day 10

We're a third of the way through all this, and so far, it's been mostly easy. Today, though, is Wednesday, and even if we weren't doing the Whole 30, today would be tough.

On Wednesdays, Matt goes out at night. It's trivia night at a small town bar with his local friends. We have dinner, he kisses Noah and me goodnight, and he heads out around 6:30. Noah falls asleep by 7, 7:30. And then it is just me. And I snack out of boredom, stress, frustration. Without fail, I overdo it.

And then there's this weekend. This will be tough, too. Flying with Noah for the first time - and he's teething. Needing to work on projects for work while away. And the food.

The food.

This is going to be a test, for sure.

Tonight, I'm anxious. It's the most difficult day of the Whole 30 so far, hands down. I want to eat, but I'm not even the least bit hungry. I'm nervous and stressed, and I want to soothe it with the repetitive motion of chewing.

I won't.

I'll write this, pack my and Noah's bags, and then head to bed. But the urge to eat despite not being hungry is still strong.

Other than tonight, today was good. Spinach and bacon egg muffins for breakfast, leftover lemon pepper chicken with cauliflower for lunch, and an avocado burger and sweet potato for dinner. Apple and half a Larabar for snacks. Great on water, took the stairs at work, made some exciting purchases that I'll discuss in a future blog post. It's been a really good day.

Now, to end it that way.

January 14, 2014

Whole 30: Day 9

Today's eats were all recipe repeats, so no new pictures. Egg muffins with steak bits and broccoli for breakfast, chicken fajita mix for lunch, and spaghetti squash with leftover veggie tomato sauce for dinner. today I finally felt hungry - I had my lunch, taught my afternoon class, then felt hungry after work too. A Larabar on the way home, then I headed over to the gym.

There was a giant bag of trail mix in the office kitchen today. The hardly-even-passable-as-healthy kind. The M&Ms and peanuts kind. And it was such a good feeling to not be tempted at all, not even a little. Today I was hungry, but it felt different. It wasn't an urge to binge. It wasn't a craving. It was just a genuine need to fuel.

I hit the gym hard today, still on the stationery bike for now, but I increased the resistance and rode for 60 minutes. I finally thought to bring some music, and that made the time pass quickly.

Matt and I both cheated and peeked at the scale. We're still very weak in that regard. Still untrusting of the process. The good news is, we've both lost a significant amount of weight for being a week into it, so we're feeling extra motivated. Waking up and not feeling so tired, plus the clearer skin, are also keeping us focused.

January 13, 2014

Whole 30: Day 8

Just a quick post tonight, my first day of work was a short one but I'm super tired.

I went in first thing in the morning to get my missing class worked out: the head of the department said I'd either teach a summer class, or an 8-week course during the second half of the Spring semester. Either way, it looks like for a few months at least, I have a slightly lighter course load. That's a little something to be grateful for!

Breakfast was the leftovers from yesterday's batch of egg muffins. Delicious, but I forgot that someone ruined our office microwave last semester (awful popcorn fire) and they haven't replaced it yet. So everything I eat at work needs to be good cold. I don't mind cold eggs so much (I like hard-boiled eggs, why would scrambled be much different?).

I spent the rest of the day doing administrative stuff and prep work for today's classes. I was amazed at how completely not hungry I was - finally, a half hour before my classes started, I decided I needed to eat or else I'd get hungry mid-teaching. I had made chicken fajitas (sans tortillas) in the crockpot - a couple of chicken breasts, some bell peppers, half an onion, diced tomato, garlic, and cumin. It made four or five lunches for Matt and me, not too bad for minimal prep work!

Teaching went well, I think. The first day is always interesting but it looks like I have a good group of kids for my accelerated class. That will make the new material easier for me (I know the material, just haven't taught it here yet, using this particular textbook).

I brought an apple to work for snack but didn't even get to it. I ate it at home, though, before going to the gym. Two days in a row! Today was 35 minutes on the stationery bike, pedaling faster than yesterday. My goal for tomorrow is to get back on the elliptical. There's a story on why I haven't yet, maybe I'll tell that tomorrow.

Dinner was ropa vieja - a Cuban dish made with beef, bell peppers, onion, garlic, and other spices. If it sounds like the chicken fajita filling, that's no coincidence. I did the prep for this while I made the fajita stuff last night, then out everything in a bag and had Matt throw it in the slow cooker between 9 and 10 a.m. to be done by 5:30 or 6.

The recipe I made it from also had a recipe for cauliflower rice, but I decided to just make a sweet potato instead - half for Matt, quarter for me, quarter for Noah. We were just feeling sweet potatoes, I guess.

That's it for now. I'm sure I thought of other things to write about during the day, but my body just needs an early-to-bed evening.

January 12, 2014

Whole 30: Day 7

We're a week in, and I think despite his resistance to some of the restrictions, even Matt is realizing this eating plan is working. My hands were raw from eczema a week ago - today, they aren't entirely healed, but now it's more of a dry skin issue, and I anticipate by Day 30, they'll be infinitely better. Our skin is clearer too already. It's really remarkable.

Last night, Noah didn't sleep very well - he had a little fever and fell asleep early, then was up from midnight until about 2:30 a.m., then was up for good at 5. Needless to say, we all needed naps this morning. I feel like the forecasted need for sleep during the first few days of the Whole 30 is kind of hard to distinguish from regular, parents-of-an-8-month-old exhaustion.

Because we ran out of eggs yesterday, I made a bit of a non-traditional breakfast: beef with broccoli. I cooked some stir fry pieces of beef in a skillet and then tossed some fresh broccoli in to cook in the steak's juices. It was pretty good - a bit dry, I don't usually make beef so I definitely overcooked it. Matt said it was good - he had it for lunch, after having last night's leftovers for breakfast.

We've been using the smaller salad plates for eating, too. I'm sure we've all heard about using smaller plates so they appear fuller and you feel more satisfied. I don't know if it's that, or just that we don't need giant plates full of food, but it's working.

We headed to the grocery store with our menu and grocery list, and stocked up for the week. I wonder who else has experienced this, or if it's usually the opposite, but we're finding that our grocery bill is considerably higher now. I know it's worth it to make lunches instead of bringing Lean Cuisines, but the problem is that a week's worth of Lean Cuisines costs $10-12, and fresh produce and meat costs more to make 5 meals - at least, it does where we live now. In Chicago, I almost always lived near Mexican grocery stores with incredibly cheap produce and great deals on meat. Here in South Carolina, our choices for groceries just aren't as good. So far, I would say our bill is about $50 more per week - from a usual $125 to about $175 - though, last week we bought a lot of spices and things that will last for a little while, and this week I think we may have overbought on meat and therefore won't need to buy as much (or possibly any) next week. I think this is something to look at after the month is all done. (I'll also write more another time about the discussion Matt and I had about portion control even when things are healthy, and about how much of our grocery bill today was because of snacks.)

When we got home, I made lunch - the steak and broccoli for Matt, a pear and half an avocado for Noah, and the other half of the avocado and some egg muffins for me. I also made bacon since we finally found some that is Whole 30 compliant.

I cooked it in the oven - a single layer on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, in a 400ºF oven for 15 minutes. I froze some raw, had 3 pieces with my egg muffins, and put the rest in plastic bags in the fridge for when I make egg muffins throughout the week. Matt doesn't eat pork, so it should last for a while - I am not super crazy about bacon, I just thought it would mix things up a bit so the egg muffins weren't just veggies and/or ground turkey.

My egg muffins were delicious, by the way - kalamata olives and portabello mushrooms.

Interestingly, I put the olives and mushrooms in the bottom of the cups before adding the egg, instead of what I have been doing and mixing it all up, then scooping the mixture into each cup. After I baked them, the fillings had risen to the top, and the bottom was all egg.

Not a bad thing, just interesting.

After lunch, we got out Noah's stroller and took a family walk - the weather was gorgeous today, sunny and not too hot, not too cool. We walked for about a mile, then I sent the boys home while I went to the fitness center and rode the stationery bike for 30 minutes. It isn't much, but I know I need to ease back into it, or else I will hurt myself.

I got a little emotional there, thinking about fitness, and how unfit I once was, and how athletic I became, and how I feel somewhere between the two (but closer to unfit) these days. Thinking about the times when I ran "only" 8 miles when the goal was 10. How I felt like a failure. If nothing else, regaining the weight and having to work my way back down again is giving me some good perspective. I hope that this time, I will fixate less on numbers and on trying to match/surpass this person or that person. I don't care about sub-whatever time races right now. All I want is to be fit again.

After the gym, I came home, and got dinner ready for Noah, then for me and Matt. I made lemon pepper chicken.

I diced up four Meyer lemons and gently squeezed about half of the wedges, then put all of them (squeezed and unsqueezed) in a baking dish with six boneless skinless chicken thighs. I sprinkled it all generously with pepper and baked it for 28 minutes at 375ºF. I used Meyer lemons because (a) they're not as sour as regular lemons and (b) they were cheaper than the regular lemons. It was really delicious! I made extra pieces, too, so we would have some for lunches this week. I served it with mashed cauliflower.

It was so good! I couldn't tell you the last time we've made mashed potatoes - we aren't really potato eaters, besides sweet potatoes. And I like cauliflower a lot, so I thought this was good. Matt liked it, but thought it needed a bit more of some spice (I had just done salt and pepper, plus a spoon of the homemade mayo to mash it together into a mashed potato-y consistency).

I'm going to hit the hay early tonight, heading into the office early tomorrow to get some things sorted out before I teach in the afternoon. One of my classes was canceled at the last minute on Friday afternoon, and my contract states I need to teach a certain number of classes, so I am entirely unsure of what is going to happen. It's been an insane beginning of the semester, and I hope it settles down quickly!