February 14, 2014

Whole 30: Day 25

It's interesting, facing yet another candy-focused holiday and yet this time, having measures in place to make sure that I don't partake at all, let alone overindulge. I'm glad we're doing the Whole 30 now. I know I would let myself go nuts with the excuse of "oh, but it's Valentine's Day." It's just another day. What I want more than candy is to reach my goals.

In lieu of unhealthy sweets and a heavy meal in a restaurant, I'm making coconut chicken tenders for dinner with a spicy mango dip. If the recipe comes out well, I will share it tomorrow.

For now, I want to talk about last night, and the race expo.

We went to the convention center and walked around a bit, getting information on local races and seeing what kind of events will be going on soon. We looked at the course map for this weekend's marathon and half marathon, commented on how truly not scenic it is (especially compared to Chicago), and scouted out places for us to go and cheer with our signs.

We wandered down towards the products for sale, and Matt looked around at shirts and socks. I looked around in a general sense, eyes just panning from one side of the room to the other. And things got blurry, and my heart raced, and my breathing got heavy. My eyes welled up with tears. I suddenly felt very overwhelmed, and had to take Noah's stroller and walk away.

Matt asked if I was alright, and I denied anything repeatedly. Truth is, though, I really wasn't fine.

I'm still so anxious about running. It's hard to put it into words, really.

I used to love it. Then I didn't. And I managed to fall back in love with it and then go on to run a half marathon. But now, I'm back to not loving it. Almost hating it, really. I did the first two weeks of Couch to 5K, but have not ran in a week or so. I just don't have the passion that I had last time. There's no drive. It mostly depresses me now.

As we kept walking around the expo, Matt got an idea of what was going on.

You know, I couldn't run one right now either.

But still, he looks like he could. He is much closer to a healthy weight range than I am. He looks toned, active.

And I remember California, and the women from the book club who, when discussing Garmins and I offered my input, asked what I used mine for. Because of course I couldn't have been a runner.

I was 70 pounds lighter then. How must I look now?

And I remember California, and the person who defended me, who stood up for me and called me beautiful - who called me an athlete. And suddenly, the sadness about weight gain is also swirling around residual hurt feelings over how that relationship ended. And the pain compounds, the anxiety swells, and I retreat into myself.

I'm anxious about running because I associate it so much with California, and because everything about that year still hurts. Almost two years after I left, the wounds are far too raw still. I have been trying to let it go, especially as my life has moved forward and wonderful things have come my way. I am only now becoming fully aware of the lessons I was meant to learn as a result of the experiences that year.

I don't know what needs to happen in order for me to rediscover my passions, or for me to finally make peace with everything that year brought with it. It was a whirlwind, or more like a tornado. Intoxicating and glorious and devastating. Most of all, though, in the grand scheme of things, it was brief, and I truly believe that I will flourish again, once I am finally able to find closure and come to terms with the fact that that chapter of my life is now distantly removed from where I am now and my present situation.

February 13, 2014

Whole 30: Days 22-24

We've been plugging along here, not much new on the day-to-day to report.

Our meals have been good, though I entirely slacked on taking pictures of them - like the other day when I made pecan crusted trout. I took a few fillets, dipped them in a mixture of egg and thyme, then put pecans in the food processor until they were coarsely ground and used them instead of breadcrumbs. Baked it for 18 minutes at 375 degrees and they came out so well!

Tonight we had a pot roast done in the crockpot. We figured that even though beef is expensive, we had two mostly free meals this week from our friend who gave us the fish so we splurged on the roast. I found a recipe on Pinterest that was simply the roast covered in a jar of compliant green salsa. It had good flavor but was overcooked - the recipe said 5-6 hours on high, and next time I'd try 4-5, or the longer time but on low. It wasn't too bad, not super dry, but it could definitely be better.

Yesterday Noah had his 9 month checkup first thing in the morning, and after we went to The Fresh Market to get unsweetened coconut for a recipe we are going to try for Valentine's Day, coconut chicken with mango dipping sauce. I was halfway to the checkout when Matt texted me and said that the university where I work had just posted that classes were going to be canceled that day due to bad weather. Unbelievable! It was cold and rainy but not nearly as bad as in some other parts of the state. The worst was the ice, but even that wasn't too bad on the roads, more on the trees, causing lots of branches to fall.

Frustrating as an instructor, especially when I was supposed to teach a major grammar point to one of my classes. But at least it was nice to hang out with Noah during the day, read him lots of books, and snuggle. Matt's mom is a preschool teacher and asked for pictures of Noah with a rainbow of fruits for a project, so we took those pictures. Noah kept eating all the blueberries, it was too funny. He is a really good eater, not picky at all. We are very lucky so far.

This morning I was running late for work and made the mistake of skipping breakfast - last time this happened, I grabbed a Larabar and found myself hungry fairly soon after, so today I decided that logically, if a Larabar is sugary (albeit natural sugar) and makes me hungry in a few hours, I might as well skip it and just wait until lunch and spare my body the sugar. By the time lunch came, I was starving, and because I hadn't eaten since last night's lunch, I was hungry by the time I had to teach my afternoon class. As soon as I got home, I made myself an afternoon snack of eggs over-medium, which I should have eaten eight hours earlier for breakfast. Lesson learned.

After dinner, we went to a race expo at a nearby convention center - the city where we live is holding a marathon this weekend, so we went to check it out and see what kind of upcoming local races were being advertised there. I'll write more on that tomorrow.

I can't believe we're as close as we are to the end of the thirty days. Matt is going to do the reintegration phase from the book to add dairy back in to his meal plan (he really misses his morning Chobani).

Not me, though.

I plan on avoiding dairy, as well as sugar and grains, for as long as I can. I just don't feel like it's really worked yet. I haven't had the revelation people keep talking about. I feel good, but not great. I know it's not a weight loss program, but rather a healthy eating one, but still, I don't feel like I've lost any weight. I'm keeping portions reasonable and trying not to snack unless I am truly hungry. I don't know, we will see. I know that avoiding my trigger foods is smart for me long-term, but at the same time, I don't want this to turn into another way of punishing myself for being overweight. I've had disordered thoughts while on the program - you can't have these things because you don't deserve them, you have to be thin before you can eat what you really want, once you weigh X you will finally have earned the ability to eat yourself sick on these foods because at that point it won't affect you as badly as it does at this weight.

Sometimes - eh, to be honest, always - I wish that food was just food, and that managing my eating and my weight was as easy for me as it is for some people. I don't know if it ever will be.

February 10, 2014

Whole 30: Days 20 and 21

We had a pretty low-key weekend. We did our taxes, made our weekly menu, and went grocery shopping. Matt went to the gym, and I worked on a massive pile of grading that I accrued after giving exams in all my classes last week.

Our goal for this week's menu was to make all new recipes. We've been falling into the pattern of making the same things over and over, and while that isn't bad, I think mixing things up will definitely help with my sudden strong onslaught of cravings.

Yesterday morning for breakfast, I made a sweet potato hash with baked eggs.

I cooked the eggs perfectly, not too hard but not really runny. Matt had been grumbling about being sick of eggs, so I tried this because it was different - he only recently started eating eggs at all, so he's only tried them scrambled. He loved this, though - I didn't have any onions in the house, so I got some to make this again this weekend. I also didn't have any beets, so I sliced up a green apple and used that instead. I'm sure we can experiment with different veggies and see how it goes. This is definitely a keeper recipe!

Today I had to go into work early again, but at least I didn't have to stay late as well. I still came home tired, though, and didn't want to work out. I made myself go, though, because I was starting to get really antsy and frustrated with cravings. The workout didn't cure it, but it distracted me for 50 minutes, and then I came home and snuggled Noah some more, then made dinner.

I improvised using a recipe I found on Pinterest - trout with mushrooms and garlic. I minced the mushrooms instead of just chopping, simply to cook them up faster. I added garlic and olive oil and cooked it up for a few minutes, just until it was warmed up, then spread the mixture over the pieces of fish. I baked them for 18 minutes at 375ยบ.

The mushroom mixture was completely delicious. I served it with mashed cauliflower, which I made with cauliflower and a spoonful of homemade mayo for fat, flavor, and creaminess. It always comes out really well.

I'm drinking water and watching a movie with Matt, one he hasn't seen before but which I am planning to screen at the university next week for anyone interested. Then it's off to bed. Early work days tomorrow and Thursday, and an early morning Wednesday for Noah's 9 month checkup. Some weeks are just like this.

It's good to stay busy, especially when I am craving sugary junk. Someone baked and left goodies in the office kitchen today, but I wasn't tempted. I told Matt, it's not even a craving for sugar so much as for one specific item that I saw when we were grocery shopping a few weeks ago and that I haven't stopped obsessing over. We have plenty of Larabars in the house, those are practically candy, right? But that's not what I want. As long as I don't bring this particular item into the house, I'm safe. I will stay on-plan.