Sunday, September 18, 2011

Day ??? - I'm Baaaaa-ccckkkk!

Hey there Paleo friends,  I haven't blogged in quite awhile.  Obviously, I fell "off the wagon" and have had a struggle getting back on.  Several of you have emailed me asking what happened...why I am not blogging...and unfortunately, I chose to just stick my head in the sand there for awhile...but I finally am shaking the sand off, lifting my head high, and coming back out in the sun of Paleo land and getting back to getting healthy again.

The bad news?  Until this morning, I haven't been on a scale since the middle of July.  Eek!  Once I stepped on, I discovered that I certainly haven't lost any more weight since July.

The good news?  I haven't gained any weight back.  That's pretty darn awesome.

I am, not sure why I started "cheating" and then gave up there for awhile.  A lot of stress in my life during that time, for sure.  That's no excuse...but it's the only one I have.  I take my comfort from food...specifically cheap carbohydrates.  Once I tasted melted cheese on a flour tortilla again, it was hard to give it up.

After visiting with my diabetes doctor this last visit, I am going to go back to what he calls a "modified" Paleo diet.  I will still try to eat fresh, eat lots of vegetables, and stay completely away from all grains, legumes, and sugars.  However, this time, I am going to add back a little bit of dairy here and there.  Not only will this help my calcium levels, but it should also provide me with some emotional satisfaction with the things I eat each day.

For instance, tonight I made a Paleo lasagna.  Lean ground beef cooked with onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, and garlic.  Sauce is a couple cans of organic crushed tomatoes.  Filling is no-fat ricotta cheese with a couple of eggs mixed in.  Instead of pasta, I parboiled kale leaves, removed the tough veins, and layered those in my pan.  It's baking as I type and I have to is filling the house with a delicious smell.  Yum.

I am hoping the public accountability will help me get back on track and stay there.  DH has planned an expensive ski vacation for the entire family over Christmas.  I have two experiences with skiing.  The first few times, I was at a somewhat "normal" weight (for me) and was in shape physically...I LOVED skiing.  The last few times, I was about 50 pounds overweight and did NOT enjoy it near as much.  In fact, our last ski trip ended up with me taking a nasty fall and having to be taken down the mountain by the ski patrol in one of those papoose thingies.  I do NOT want that to happen this time.

I have 3 1/2 months until our trip.  I plan to lose 40 pounds.  I plan to be in shape both in my level of strength and my level of endurance.  I plan to be healthy.

Come back and visit and see if I keep my word to start blogging and if I make it to my goal.

Instead of numbering days now...I think I will make it more of a countdown until we leave on our trip.

Sooooo....95 days until the trip...40 pounds to go.


Monday, May 23, 2011

Three Month Weigh-In Results

Well, Paleo friends...I did not do near as well this last month as I did the first two months.  I only lost an additional 4 pounds last month.  This brings my total weight loss since February 20 to 32 pounds.  To say that I was a little bit depressed about this would be an understatement.  It's taken me three days since weighing last Friday morning to even want to blog about it.

Now, here is the funny part of all of this.  I thought I had done really well this month.  All of the sudden, co-workers, friends, and people at church are commenting on how good I look.  In the last week alone, I bet a dozen people have commented on my weight loss.  In addition to this, my clothes keep getting bigger and bigger!  I donated an entire bag of pants, sweaters, and jeans from my closet last Saturday because they are so big they do not fit anymore.

How can my body be shrinking but I only have a 4 pound weight loss to show for it?

Although I was initially discouraged, I am not quitting by any means.  I truly don't even think of this as a weight-loss diet anymore.  It is a lifestyle change.  I am choosing to eliminate grains and dairy from my daily diet.  I feel better physically now that I have done so.  My cravings are gone.  And to be honest, I truly have no desire yet to return to my life of melted cheese, buttered bread, and pasta gooey-ness.  I am happier and feel better eating Paleo.

As I mentioned in my last few posts, I guess it is time to "step it up a notch".  I have two more weeks of school and then it will be summer.  As any teacher will tell you, we look forward to the summer break as much (if not more) than the children do.  I already have plans to meet with a personal trainer and incorporate exercise and working out into my lifestyle.  During the summer months, I will have time and energy to devote to this endeavor.  I hope that by the time school resumes in August, I will actually feel about exercise as I currently do about my diet....that it will be just a habit and the way I choose to live my life....not something that I have to do each day.

So...a temporary let-down and depression...but I am still going to keep on going on.  I can't refute the results of how I feel physically and a 4 pound loss is still not that horrible, right?  I mean, if I repeated that every month, a year from now I would be down 50 pounds and very close to my goal weight.

So...continuing on the Paleo path....

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Day 85 - Getting Lax - That's Not Good

I've noticed lately that I am getting a bit sloppy in following my Paleo diet lately.  This is NOT a good sign for me.  I am scared to death I might be at the top of that slippery slope I've written about and I might be in danger of sliding away into the doom and gloom of unhealthy fat-dom again.  I do NOT want that to happen.

What are the things that I am doing that concern me?

  1. Probably eating way too many pistachios.  While I know they are one of the healthiest nuts...I still feel like I am eating them too often.  Usually a couple of times a day.  I found these salt and pepper flavored pistachios at Costco and they are DELICIOUS!  I told my husband that we should start referring to them as devil nuts and not buy them anymore because we are so tempted to just devour the whole package at one sitting.  Eating mindlessly is NOT where I want to be...and that is what these darn nuts are doing to me.
  2. Allowing some shredded cheese now and then on a salad when we eat out at a restaurant.  I was very good at the beginning of specifically asking for "no cheese or croutons" on my salads.   I've indulged in a Greek salad with some feta, and a rib-eye salad that had a sprinkling of bleu cheese on it within the last week alone.  Not good.
  3. Drinking Diet Coke again.  Blogged about this before.  I cannot stay away from it.  Why?  What is so darn appealing to me that I feel the need and desire to drink it several times a day?  I have no clue.  It's certainly not the caffeine because I can drink coffee and tea and still crave a Diet Coke.  Is it the convenience of just being able to pop the top on the can?  I don't think so.  I'm beginning to think the the Coca-Cola Company must lace Diet Coke with some invisible addictive drug that just keeps us coming back for more and more.
  4. Having a beer every now and then.  I know...not as bad as a mixed drink like a sugary margarita...but is empty calories.  Yes, I am having an ultra light "girl's beer" as my dad refers to it...but I really should just not have one at all.
  5. Choosing fatty meats over lean meats.  I got on a kick chopping up hard salami in my salad for lunch.  It is so tasty and better than my bland turkey or tuna.  Turkey may not be as tasty...but it is much healthier and not as processed.  Hard salami is probably not even Paleo if I really investigate it and look into it.
  6. Skipping breakfast.  When I first started, I was so diligent about eating a handful of berries and nuts each morning to start my day.  I seem to be out of that habit these last couple of weeks. least admitting these foibles and writing them out is making me aware of the things I need to change.  I have a LONG, LONG way to go in this weight loss journey and it is too early in the process to get lazy.  

Three more weeks of school and then summer will be here!  I plan to concentrate on exercise and healthy eating and feeling in shape before I return to work in the fall.  I need the lazy habits to stop.  NOW!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Day 78 - Time for the "E" Word!

I admit it.  I HATE exercise.  I have never liked exercise.  Never ever.  Not when I was little.  Not ever.  Never, ever, ever!

As sad as it is...I have done everything the Paleo Solution has recommended that I do EXCEPT the E word.  Oh, I've tried a few things here and there...some wall push-ups, taken several long walks with hubby or the kids...but I have NOT made any attempt whatsoever to actually start an exercise plan.  I don't want to.  I don't like it.  I don't want to do it.

BUT...I know if I am going to permanently change my life and improve it...then at some point, I am going to have to increase my physical activity.  If I am ever going to truly achieve true health, I am going to have to incorporate exercise into my life.

One of the reasons that I think I have always hated exercise is that I have NEVER been fit or able to compete with my peers...even at what others would just say is a normal fitness level.  I can VIVIDLY remember being in the fifth grade in a small West Texas elementary school.  Back in the early 70's, school children were given the "President's Physical Fitness Test".  That's probably not the actual name, but that is how I remember it.  There were various tasks from hanging from a chin-up bar to a vertical jump to the traditional sit-ups.  As school children, our P.E. teacher "trained" us for several weeks before the actual test.  The test culminated in a 1 mile run.  To pass the test, you had to be able to run/walk one mile in 9 minutes or less.  Elementary schools in the 70's did not have running tracks.  Our teacher put out two cones and and one lap (from one cone to the other and back again) was supposed to take you exactly one minutes if you were on track for the 9-minute mile.  Thus, 9 laps equaled one mile.  Even at 10 years old, I could not even run one lap, 1/9 of a mile without getting out of breath and having to stop to walk.  My friends and peers just raced on by me.  For weeks leading up to the practice, I can remember the entire fifth grade being done with the test and watching me as I struggled to finish that darn mile...and it was never in 9 minutes.  I was "Buffalo Butt" and "Porky" and "Fatty, fatty, 2 by 4".  It was humiliating.  It was embarrassing.  It was another notch in the self-degrading negative self-image I had of myself then and continued to have for many, many years.  No wonder by the time I made it past middle school and then high school, I was withdrawn and shy and totally hated myself.

I did find out several years ago though that I have suffer from a very, very mild case of pulmonary hypertension and probably have had elevated pulmonary pressure since I was born.  It is just the way God made me.  Your pulmonary pressure is the "other" side of what most of us think of as blood pressure.  The blood pressure that we think of measures the pressure from your heart to your organs and extremities and back to your heart again.  Pulmonary pressure is the pressure of the short trip the blood makes from your heat to your lungs for oxygen and back to your heart again.  Because of this, I do "run out of breath" quicker than a normal person.

All that being said...that's still no reason to not exercise.  My lung capacity would greatly improve with a concentrated exercise program and I have no idea what I could actually accomplish with my body on a physical level...simply because I've just never really tried.  Sad...I know.

So...what does this all mean?

Well, probably that I have gone off the deep end and can be certified as totally whack-a-doodle!  When dear hubby asked what I wanted for Mother's Day, did I ask for jewelry or flowers?  A massage perhaps?  A night out on the town? way.

For Mother's Day, I asked for (and received) a renewal in my (unused) gym membership and initial meetings with a personal trainer.  CRAZY!  What's wrong with me?  And hubby, who is either thinking he is throwing money away on fantasy thoughts of grandeur or actually might believe in me and that I might accomplish something...didn't just give me a lesson or, he has given me a gift certificate for 10 hours with a private personal trainer.

Good grief!  The old me is disappearing and I have no idea who this new person is who is invading my thoughts and body....what was I thinking?

I'll let you know how it goes!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Day 73 - Yippee for Me!

This week is Teacher Appreciation week at the school where I teach each and every day.  Today in particular, our wonderful PTA provided a delicious luncheon for us.  I walked into the teacher lounge to find a smorgasbord of non-Paleo tempting scrumptiousness....pasta salads galore with ham and cheeses...broccoli salads loaded with mayo and cheese...bean salads...pea salads...bread sticks...and then there was dessert!  Cookies, cake, candies, cupcakes, super sweet bar cookies, marshmallow gelatin salads, and my favorite of all time...cheesecake.

So, you may ask...what did I eat?

I grabbed a plate and went straight for the undressed plain greens and loaded up my plate.  I went to the fridge and got my baggie of chopped meats that I had prepared the night before (planning ahead!) and my Paleo-friendly salad dressing and had a nice, big delicious salad.  For dessert?  Fresh watermelon that someone had brought and sliced up.

Not even tempted to cheat.  Not even tempted to sneak a cookie.

Yippee for me!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Day 72 - NOT Slip Sliding Away!

Hello Paleo Friends!

I have been noticeably absent from my blog for almost two weeks!  Yikes!  As I have posted before, the "crunch" time of my busy Spring came with the move of my parents from Houston to San Antonio, then the state-mandated accountability test the following week for my students.  All in all, everything went off as planned and I am past it all and finally back to "normal" life...if there is actually such a thing as normal life anymore!  LOL!  Despite the stress, travel, late night schedules, hectic and endless "to do" lists...I was able to stay Paleo throughout it all.  It is funny how at first I was so consumed with planning our menus and making a detailed grocery list.  I don't even give these things a second thought now.  Eating Paleo seems to be easy and I don't really have to think of things to prepare anymore.  I just throw something together every night or pick something up on the way home that follows the Paleo guidelines and we are good to go.  Paleo has not only become easy, it has just become the default way we eat now.

All of this being said, I did encounter my very first time to "cheat" on the Paleo diet last weekend.  I was out with friends enjoying good company and laughter.  I was relaxing and decompressing (is that a real word?) from a very stressful weekend of moving my parents, getting them settled into their new home, and giving my students the HUGE test.  We were at a local Mexican restaurant...sitting out on the deck in beautiful weather and it was just gorgeous and SO nice to have so many stressful events finally behind me.  One of my friends ordered a bowl of queso.  I have been at this same restaurant once before since starting Paleo and that time, I did not partake of any chips or appetizers or queso.  But this time...for some reason...I just felt like I wanted a cheese covered chip.  I had been through the most stressful month of my life and I guess there was a small part of me on the inside that wanted to say, "Heck, I deserve it!"

I continued visiting with my friends for quite some time while thinking about that darn bowl of melted cheese and peppers in front of me.  At some point, I realized that I was thinking about that bowl of cheese much more than I was paying attention to the conversation.  Seriously, what's up with that?  If the thought of food, even just a particular bite of food, is consuming your attention that much, then maybe you should just go ahead and eat it.  So....I did.  I had 3 or 4 cheese covered chips as a matter of fact!

Were they good?  Yes.
Were they delicious?  A most definite Yes.
Did they satisfy my craving?  Yes
Was I able to stop before devouring the entire bowl?  Of course.
Did those few chips mess with my head and make me obsess about chips and queso for days?  No.
Did those few chips with queso ruin my attempt to live a healthy Paleo diet?  Nope.
Did I immediately give up and order a plate of enchiladas, rice, and beans?  No way.
Did those bites of deliciousness ruin this attempt at a healthier life?  Not in the least!
Was I able to wake up the next day still focused on eating Paleo and being healthy?  Absolutely!

It's this last question that amazes me the most.  I have a history of dieting, doing very well for a few weeks, sometimes even a month or two (like now), and then slipping off the band wagon.  Once I get off once, I find it so hard to keep going.  I am somewhat of an obnoxious perfectionist at heart.  If I cannot do something perfectly, then I do not want to do it at all.  I beat myself up and just give up.  I am my own worst enemy.  I have NEVER been able to just put a bad day behind me and go on like nothing happened.  I have always eventually returned to my bad habits, have started sneaking food, have eventually regained any weight lost.  In short, I have always been a diet failure.

I still can't put my finger on it...but this time there is something different.  I woke up the next day with no desire whatsoever to "cheat" again.  I just simply had some berries and almonds for breakfast and kept to my normal routine.  This was 3 days ago and I still have been able to go back 100% Paleo with no desire to "cheat" again.

I have been so scared of that first bite that wasn't Paleo.  I have always slid down that slippery slope faster than a speeding bullet.  Once I falter, I have historically just given up and resigned myself to the fact that I will always be the ugly, fat girl.

Not sure why it is so different time.  But that slope was not slippery at all for me.  I had a few bites off and then was able to immediately resume my healthy Paleo lifestyle.  I don't know why.  I guess I need to do some more soul searching for the answer.  But, all I can say at this moment is "I am glad that I am not sliding away!"

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Two Month Weigh-In Results

Hello Cave Friends!  A quick post this morning to tell you the results of my two month weigh-in.

I have lost a total of 28 pounds in two months.

Wish it could have been a bit more...but I am happy with that.  As the tortoise said to the hare -- "Slow and steady wins the race."

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Day 59 - Not Off the Wagon, Just Swamped with Life

Wow!  I haven't posted in 9 days!  I have been so busy with other things that this blog has sort of had to go on the back burner for the last few days.  I hadn't really thought about it until I received an email from a friend who wondered if I had quit the Paleo life and that is why my blog was supposedly stagnant and dead.

Well, no fear dear friends.  I am going as strong as ever.  As a matter of fact, tomorrow marks my two month anniversary of eating Paleo!  I cannot wait to step on the scales in the morning to see my weight loss.  I know there has been some.  My clothes are noticeably bigger.  One of my fourth graders asked me last week if I was losing weight.  You know for a nine year-old to notice you are losing must actually be true!  I made the decision to stop the daily trips to the scale awhile back and it has sort of released me from the numbers game.  I am not over obsessing about every little ounce and pound anymore.  I changed my scope from the day by day picture, even from the week by week picture, to the big picture...month by month.

That actually though goes along with a change in my whole way of thinking lately.  When I started this, I said I would do Rob Wolf's 30-day Challenge.  Even though my intentions were sincere, I privately doubted if I would even make it a week without bread, pasta, cheese, and chips.  As that 30 days wore on though, I found out that I actually liked eating Paleo.  The results, just in the way I physically felt, were phenomenal.  One of the most striking examples was the complete disappearance of a horrible case of nagging plantar fasciitis that has been plaguing me for over a year.  That little thing by itself was enough to intrigue me into continuing with this plan.

As the 30-day Challenge wrapped up, I was still happily living the Paleo life.  Hubby and I had purchased the black-out curtains and were sleeping restfully in our cave each night.  I was learning to actually enjoy fresh fruit as a snack and think of it as a sweet treat.  I had lost my cravings for "cheap" carbs.  I was satisfied with my diet.  Most importantly, as I posted a few days ago...I was no longer obsessed with food.  Food did not control my thoughts or my life anymore.  I felt liberated.  I felt free.  I felt different I imagine most of the rest of the world must feel.

This past week and weekend, I have been consumed with my duties in the role of daughter.  I am in the process of moving my parents to my city from another.  They are both physically disabled and the actual packing and the logistics of moving not only their "stuff", but them as well has been overwhelming my life.  As the oldest sibling (and the only girl I might add), the responsibility has fallen on my shoulders to do the planning, organizing, most of the legwork, and of course, most of the dealing with the emotional issues associated with uprooting my parents from a house they have lived in for over 30 years.  This has been a hard thing...for both them and me.  Thank heavens for dear hubby, who is God's gift to me in this life and has lightened my burden in unbelievable ways through all of this.

ANYHOO....because of all of this...blogging and eating and Paleo posting has been off my radar.

That being said, I am still 100% eating Paleo and still 100% gung-ho with the Paleo life.  It is SO easy and livable for me.  Last weekend, I was able to spend two days eating nothing but fast food meals and still did not stray.  It does take an educated look at your eating establishment choices, a careful perusal of the menu, and then a meticulous was of "special" ordering...but it can be done.  I had salads from Subway, cabana bowls from Taco Cabana, and salads from Wendy's.  You have to be forthright and insist on "no cheese" or "no sour cream" and have the will power to toss the included dressings, toppings, and chips...but it can be done.  I truly don't feel cheated or deprived.

I am beginning to now see Paleo as a LONG-TERM lifestyle!  Who EVER would have thought that?  I can truly see me sticking with the Paleo life for years to come.  My short-term experiment has truly led me to have a completely different viewpoint in how I am thinking about living the rest of my life.  It has made that much of a difference.

Tomorrow marks my two month weigh-in.  I will try to post tomorrow night and let you know my results.  This weekend, we are moving my parents....their stuff and they will be tough.  On top of that, I am the Easter Bunny for my little six year-olds, and will have the traditional church service and Easter dinner that day as well.  But...I plan to make it through it all still eating Paleo, still having energy, still having a smile on my face, and still thankful that I have discovered this lifestyle that has freed me from food.  I still have periodic inklings that DD will come back and sabatoge me (see earlier posts as to identity of DD), but as of now, I am happy and going strong.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Day 50 - Food? Not Ever on My Mind Anymore!

As I get ready to type this post, I CANNOT believe that I have been eating Paleo for 50 days!  I came into this journey somewhat reluctantly and dragging my feet.  Hubby was gung-ho and on board and I felt somewhat guilted into coming along for the ride.  As a lifelong food abuser/indulger, I did not want to be grounded from the things in life that give me relief and pleasure...most notably high fat, deep fried, grain-based carbohydrates.

But, come along I did and here I am almost two months later still on the reservation!  As I have posted before, this just does not seem like a diet to me.  It has been a change in lifestyle and way of thinking.  Yes, we are eating things differently.  Yes, we are feeling healthier.  Yes, our clothes keep growing bigger and bigger.  Yes, we have more energy.  But...No, we don't feel deprived or cheated like we are on a restrictive diet.

I am ashamed to think about how much time I spent pre-Paleo thinking about food.  What was I going to make for dinner?  What would I have for lunch?  What am I going to make for dinner tomorrow night?  Making sure I made a lot so there would be lots of leftovers so that I could gobble them up the next day.  Making the excuse of taking the kids for a fast food meal because I was "tired" when it was really me that wanted the burgers and fries.  Time spent looking at recipes online....planning high-fat, heavy meals of lasagna and garlic bread or chicken enchiladas and rice and beans.  As ridiculous as this sounds (unless you are a chronic "fat girl" like me), I could tell you what to order at every fast food restaurant that was "car-worthy".  That is, something you could gobble up in your car quickly for a quick "fix" before getting home and still be able to eat the next meal because no one would know you just ate in the car.  It's embarrassing...but I have a feeling that there are many, many people who have furtively eaten in their cars before.  I certainly didn't invent the practice.

I don't do that anymore.  Not ever.  And if I do think about food, it is more the case of thinking about it last minute when walking in the door at 6pm figuring out what I can make for dinner that will be quick, tasty, and Paleo.

It's like food used to be a drug for me.  I was like a crack addict.  Just thinking about and looking forward to my next hit.

I still enjoy food.  I have made some wonderfully, tasty Paleo dishes.  But here is the does not control me anymore.  And it's not like I am controlling just isn't that huge of a factor in my life right now.

Perhaps it is because other issues have taken over every spare moment I have.  Perhaps the good Lord in His omniscient wisdom knew that this would be a good time in my life to nudge me towards Paleo.    Between moving my parents here from Houston, getting their house repaired and ready, working full-time and trying to get my students ready for the state-mandated accountability tests, upcoming Easter holidays, worrying if state budge woes will eliminate my position at the school where I teach, and the general daily chaos of taking care of a family of has just been way down on my priority list of things to think about.

I have a feeling that if I had not been introduced to Paleo, I would not be handling the stress as graceful as I am at this moment.  I also have a feeling I would have gained another 10 pounds in the last couple of months. Perhaps the reason I am handling it all so well is that I AM eating Paleo.  It is helping me to forget about my food addiction (dare I say eliminate?) and focus on those things that truly need my attention.  In addition, Paleo is allowing me to physically be able to cope with the pandemonium in my life right now.  I spent the weekend painting and working on my parents' new house.  I could not have done that 2 months ago without being drop dead exhausted...and right now, I feel fine.

I am a believer and I think that between my doctor telling me about Mr. Wolf's book, my brother and sister-in-law starting on the diet, my husband reading the book, and my own self-inflicted "guilt" that I needed to actually do something and take action...God used all of those things to teach me that food doesn't have to control the way I cope with life.

I am not saying that I have solved my food issues...because I know they are still there and I am most likely one bad night of slipping up with a bag of chips and a bowl of salsa from sinking back down into the abyss...but right now, I am on the bright side and crawling up towards the light and feeling hopeful that maybe I could someday be a normal person after all.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Day 47 - When You Have No Choice

Tonight, hubby and I are attending a charity gala and dinner for a local organization where hubby serves on the board of directors.  We attend this thing every year and usually have a good time.  That being said, I absolutely know what to expect.

We will receive 2 free drink tickets upon entering, mingle around with the crowd, visit with friends, bid on silent auction items, and then finally all sit down to a dinner served at banquet tables.  Dinner is a pre-determined menu.  In past years, this has included a salad with a creamy dressing, a basket of assorted rolls with butter, an entree of usually some type of beef filet covered in a sauce with a starchy vegetable and a green vegetable, and then of course, the obligatory dessert and coffee.  At this point, the "program" will begin where we will hear about the wonderful things this organization does (which they do...not knocking the organization at all...believe in it...that's one of the reasons hubby serves on the board!) and then the evening ends with finding out if we won anything on our silent auction bids.

So...we have absolutely no choice or control over what our dinner will be this evening.  What to do, what to do?

Our game plan as we get ready to leave the house is to stick to a glass of wine apiece and then switch to tea or water, ask for a dry salad and lemons, scrape the sauce off the entree, eat the green vegetable offering, and skip the dessert and just have coffee.  We may come home hungry and we may not...time shall tell.

As much we want to eat healthy and stay Paleo all the time, real life does get in the way.  Sometimes you just have to go with what you are offered and do the best you can under the circumstances.  I will update you later tonight and let you know how we did!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Day 46 - One Day at a Time

The last few days have been difficult.  I am not just talking about staying Paleo...I am talking about life in general.

I am not sure what is going on...probably a combination of several things.

  1. Right now, I am chalking it up to unbelievable amounts of stress involved with purchasing a home and moving my aging parents across the state in the next few weeks.  The next three weekends are filled with "to do" lists of painting, landscaping, packing, moving, phone calls, etc, etc, etc.
  2. In addition, I am preparing my students for the state mandated Math and Reading tests the last week of April.  Despite what you may read in the press...most teachers work their a$$ off and care about their students and always go the extra mile for their kiddos to try and help them learn and be successful.  I am one of those teachers.  I have a class full of children with a grocery list of different learning styles, abilities, and special needs.  I am doing everything I can to try and help each and every one of those children be successful on this test.  I may not agree with state-mandated testing...but since the grand state of Texas says I have to give it...then, I am going to make sure my students are darn well prepared to pass it. 
  3. Despite warnings to "not worry" about the future of my employment, I am justifiably a tad worried.  Since I chose to stay home a few years with my two Kindergarten-aged children, this is the first year that I have returned to work and I am considered a "first-year" teacher by my school district, despite my experience.  Because of this status and because of state budget woes, there is a chance of teachers like me having their jobs eliminated.  While this wouldn't be the end of the world, it sure will put a dent in our ability to put our older two sons through college and pay our mortgage and groceries, and gas, and electricity, and, and, and, etc, etc, etc...  We have worked very hard to be free of credit card debt and not have that over our heads.  We have had many summers of no vacations and no splurging on the extras.  I do not want to resort to ever having to use a credit card to just make ends meet one month.
  4. My oldest child celebrates his 21st birthday today.  As proud of him as I am...I just don't feel old enough to be the mother of a 21 year old!  It just seems like the other day that I turned 21!  There is a side of me that simply is amazed that I am all of the sudden in my mid-40's and this is a bit depressing, needless to say.
  5. Possibly TMI...but another problem with being in my mid-40s is the whole female PMS thing is just getting worse and worse each and every month.  I used to think PMS and the whole hormone thing was just an excuse that some women used for b-tchy  I'm thinking that PMS is actually a legitimate thing.  Who knew? am I coping with all of this?

One Day at a Time.

One Meal at a Time.

One Decision at a Time.

One Bite at a Time.

Moment by moment.

I know that this time will soon pass and I will be feeling more like my optimistic self again...but until's one day at a time.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Day 43 - No Brainer Way of Life

We are having such great success eating Paleo.  It is so strange to get up every morning and feel better each and every day.  I keep waiting for the shoe to fall, as they say...but it hasn't.  This way of life is just getting easier and easier.  I think too many people try to over-think it.  That's where the problems start to creep in.  I think one of the reasons we are having such great success is that we are NOT over-thinking it.  We are keeping it simple.  It is just a no-brainer way of life.

The food rules for us are grains, no dairy, no legumes, no sugar, nothing processed....that's it.

Do we mess up now and then?  Sure we do...we're human.  But, we still keep on keeping on and learn and go forward.

For instance, dear hubby and I went out for a nice dinner out Friday evening.  Our wonderful church hosts a "First Friday Kid's Klub" the first Friday of each month...which is a super opportunity for children to have a fun time doing activities with their friends in a safe environment...and give parents an inexpensive night out without having to pay for a babysitter.  Hubby and I decided to go to Pappadeaux...a wonderful seafood restaurant here in our hometown.  Ordering was a breeze...we didn't analyze every ingredient on every menu item...we just used common sense.  For our pre-dinner, sit around for an hour while waiting for your table in the bar drink...we both had a light beer...totally paleo, as long as we don't over-indulge...which we didn't.  After being shown to our table, hubby ordered a cold shrimp cocktail for an appetizer for us to share.  Again, avoided the sauce which I am sure was loaded with ketchup composed of high fructose corn syrup, didn't touch the crackers, and enjoyed the shrimp.  We told our waitress to not even leave the French bread loaf on our table.  For our entree, we split an 11 oz. tilapia filet covered with lobster and crab and it was served with spaghetti squash and green beans (instead of rice).  Now the fish did have a beurre blanc sauce (which is a white wine butter sauce for those of you who aren't into sauces)...which is definitely not paleo since it is made with butter.  We chose to indulge in this anyway...making sure to not scoop our fish into it, but just scraping off what we could and eating the fish anyway.  So, the questions are:  Did we have a wonderful dinner out?  Yes!  Did we make pretty good choices for a Paleo diet?  Yes.  Did we have an absolutely perfect Paleo meal?  No.  Could we have chosen better? hindsight, we probably should have ordered the sauce on the side or had the fish served without any sauce at all.  BUT....and here is the key for was still a good effort at sticking to Paleo and it did not feel like this huge I did not have this huge guilt thing going on the next day...and I had absolutely no feelings of self-degradation that I had "blown the whole thing" or that I should just "quit and give up".

This is such an antithesis to the way I normally approach food and dieting.  Normally, the minute I might not make an absolutely perfect decision...I decide that I have messed it all up and might as well give up and just go back to eating the way I normally eat.  Not so this time.  Like I said, I think there are decisions we might have made better, but all-in-all, I would count our night out as a success...not as a failure.

I guess the key is...I am not thinking of Paleo anymore as a diet.  I am just approaching it as "the way we eat" in our family.  We went to Costco today.  Not even tempted to buy some of the things that used to be in our basket 6 months ago...things like bread, rolls, cheese, hot dogs, corn dogs, frozen pizzas, frozen ravioli, or chips.  And some of things in my cart today were things I have never even purchased at Costco before - raw pecan halves, raisins, economy-sized Mrs. Dash, and beef jerky.  And for any of you who have ever been to Costco on a Sunday morning after the churches get can practically have a complete meal just from the samples that are being offered at the end of each and every aisle. even tempted to taste.

Hubby and I have been at it almost two months and I just don't even have a desire to go back to our old lifestyle of heavy grain-based carbs and dairy.  It is just so easy to eat this way, sleep this way, move this way, and live this way...and I am dropping weight without even trying.  I am keeping my vow to not weigh until the 20th of the month...but I am sort of curious.  People at work and church are noticing that I am losing weight and starting to comment on's nice to feel like someone is noticing and more importantly, that it is making that much of a difference that they CAN notice.

At a party yesterday, another man told hubby about a way to eat Paleo that combines periods of fasting with periods of indulging and then scheduled workouts, etc, etc, get even better and faster results.  My answer to that is NO....I don't want to complicate this.  I don't want to make it difficult.  It is so easy right now and so rewarding.  Why mess up a good thing...right?

Feeling good in my cave world!  Cave Mom!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Day 40 - Fighting Illness in my Cave World

Hello Paleo friends.  Well, it has happened.  Despite my best efforts, my body has succumbed to the wonderful yellow film of pollen covering our vehicles and porch and ground in central Texas...ah, lovely allergies.  I awoke yesterday morning with horrible ear pain.  I fought it with Advil all day long to no avail.

Now, here is the wierd part.  I normally have HORRIBLE seasonal allergies this time of year.  I walk around in a continual state of sniffles, coughing, and clutching a handful of tissues all day long.  However this year I really haven't felt bad.  There has been a noticeable lack of sniffles and coughing and all of those related things that come along with seasonal allergies.  I have attributed this to my new found paleo lifestyle.  Inflammation all over my body has been so dramatically reduced...from the disappearance of my plantar fasciitis to the absence of neck aches and pains after a long day of teaching.  This year...not much of anything...until this ear thing left me feeling like I had a butcher knife stuck in my head all night last night.

So, lucky thing is I had already planned on taking a day off today (long story, I had to help close on a house that my parents have purchased and I am the power of attorney...unfortunately we don't live in caves anymore!) and so I was able to call my physician and schedule an appointment.  The pain was so bad this morning, I took 4 Advil to cut it.

When my doctor came in (note, this is my primary care physician...NOT my diabetes doctor who recommended the Paleo diet to me in the first place), he asked me what was wrong and went through the know what I'm talking about.  Temperature check, blood pressure, felt my glands, looked in my ears, throat, etc, etc, etc....(and I closed my eyes when they weighed me...keeping my vow to not look at a scale except once a month!)

Now, here comes the strange part...I do NOT have an ear infection.  My ear looks perfectly normal.  Seriously, at this point I am beginning to think brain tumor.  What else would cause this pain?  But brain tumors just appear overnight?  Not a doctor...but I am guessing the answer to that is a big "NO".

Doctor then tells me that he thinks I have a sinus infection and that the pressure from my sinuses is pushing from the inside and causing my pain.  But, here is the part he cannot figure out...I seem to have an absence of nasal congestion and drainage.  Everything looks swollen and red like it normally would with an infection...but he cannot figure out why I have no...well, let's just say it....mucus.  All I can think of is the lack of dairy and grains in my diet has greatly reduced this ummmmm.....aspect of my body chemistry.

So, I have my prescription for antibiotics and I am still doubling up the Advil and I hope to feel better soon.  I know our Paleo ancestors got, it's not like I was expecting perfect health from here on out...but I can't help but think...I wonder if they ever had to blow their noses?


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Day 35 - Invasion of the Body Snatchers?

Ok, don't know why I remember this movie...but it is an oldie, probably from the 50's.  The general plot is that people are being replaced by their identical doubles who are grown from pods by space aliens (at least that's what I remember about it!).  At first, no one believes this guy that thinks people truly aren't themselves, but then of course, as all horror movies go, everyone finds out that it is indeed true...people have been replaced by identical duplicates who are trying to get everyone to be replaced by these pod people.

I swear, I'm beginning to think that I've been replaced by another cave mom grown from a pod!  LOL!  Why?  Because the way I am thinking and acting lately has nothing to do with how I have always thought and acted in the past.  I literally am not sure who I am anymore!

I have always had certain habits and thoughts that I have just assumed were a part of who I was and how the good Lord made me to be.  Things like, "I will always want the chips and salsa!", "I hate to exercise.", "One of the best things in the world to eat is anything with drippy, gooey, cheese melted on top.", "I would never actually prefer a salad to something deep fried.", and "Fruit is NOT a sweet...chocolate is a sweet!"

But lately, this space alien pod version of me is finding that those statements about myself just simply are not true anymore.  It is mind boggling to me what this paleo lifestyle is doing to me and my attitude about food.  I am a lifelong "fat girl".  I am the one who is supposed to think those thoughts.  I am supposed to have low self-esteem and feel inferior...that's just who I am.  I feel like that by definition...who I am and who I am supposed to be is...the fat girl.  But, all of the sudden, I am not thinking like a fat girl anymore and to be honest, it is sort of freaking me out.  I am not sure if I can even put my arms around the thought of thinking about myself as anything but the "fat girl".  It's like I am almost scared that I am going to lose a part of my identity and now I have to go on this soul-searching journey to figure out who I really am.

If I am not the fat girl anymore...then who the heck am I?

I realized the total difference in my thoughts at lunch today.  6 y/o daughter and I were out grocery shopping in between a thousand other things on our "to do" list and stopped for a quick bite for lunch.  There was a salad bar and I made a delicious looking (and tasting) salad with fresh greens, carrots, celery, onions, some olives, artichoke hearts, sunflower seeds, grilled chicken, and a dash of oil and vinegar on top.  Sweet darling daughter had a huge, ooey-gooey, slice of pepperoni pizza.  As we were eating together, I thought of how many times in the past I have finished my children's meals for them when they said they were full.  I thought of how many times I have wanted to "skim the top" of pizza and eat the melted cheese and pepperonis off the top.  I thought of how much I loved pizza.  Then...and here dear readers is the CRAZY part, I glanced down at my daughter's plate and looked at her slice of pizza and it actually repulsed me.  It was all greasy and the cheese was melted over the edges...and it just looked actually disgusting to me.  My salad was so fresh and crisp and crunched in my mouth...and my daughter's pizza just looked downright nasty to me.  WHAT IS UP WITH THAT?   I am supposed to love pizza.   As Velma would say...Jinkies!  (And if you don't get that are either way too young or I am way too old!)

All I can do is keep going on as I am going on.  I know I am eating healthier and feeling's just downright crazy that I am actually enjoying it and actually preferring it to my old lifestyle.  Dieting and healthy eating are supposed to be miserable...right?

Well, here in paleo world...I guess not.

It's a journey for sure...who knows where I am going to end up when I get to the destination.  Only time shall tell.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Day 34 - Confession Time

As you may remember, our school had our Spring Break vacation about a week ago and I was traveling and "on the road" much of that time.  Up to that point, I had completely given up Diet Coke.  For some reason...don't know if it was for comfort, for stress relief, for ease of availability (we were at my parents' house where Diet Coke cans are constantly chilling in the fridge), or just moments of weakness...or perhaps a combination of them all...I started drinking Diet Coke again.

At first, it was only a can one afternoon...then, the next day I had probably three or four cans while we were working on the house.  By our return home, I was drinking them again...and have had at least one or two every day since.

It's not like I don't like water now...or unsweet iced tea...or herbal teas...or black coffee.  I like all those things.  There's just something about popping that top and taking that first sip out of the can that I love.  Yeah...I'm just a tad whack-a-doodle...I know.

One side of me says it could be so much worse.  I could be regressing back into Taco Bell bean burritos or Butterfinger candy bars or macaroni and cheese.  Heck, I could have an addiction that is truly harmful or illegal...alcohol, smoking, drugs.  I know it shouldn't be a big deal...but for some reason it is.

I think it goes back to the post I made about being scared of cheating or slipping.  The anal retentive/obsessive compulsive/perfectionist side of me says that I need to stay Paleo and not waiver.  I feel like it's that slippery slope thing...when I waiver a little bit, I am so afraid that all of the sudden I will be completely off the reservation and eating deep dish pizza and sharing a pitcher of beer with friends somewhere.  I don't want that to happen.  And the crazy part of my mind is telling me that allowing Diet Coke back into my life is the first step to letting that happen.

So, as of this minute, I am going to stop all the Diet Coke and go back to tea, coffee, and water.  If I am tempted, I plan to come back and read this list of ingredients -- carbonated water (the only thing healthy), caramel color, natural flavors (really???  natural???), phosphoric acid, potassium benzoate, aspartame, citric acid, acesulfame potassium, caffeine...and that alway present ominous warning on the can...contains phenylalanine.  I don't even know what that is...but if they are having to warn people about it, it can't be a good thing.  I would bet a pretty penny that our Paleolithic ancestors didn't drink phosphoric acid and aspartame, etc...

Not a sin, as far as confessions go....but I do feel like it needed to be said.

Thanks for listening/reading/responding...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Day 33 - Not About the Numbers

Hello all, after getting on the scale the last three days in a row and fretting when I don't lose anything and even questioning the amount when I do...I have come to a decision.  I am going to stop getting on the scale.  I am way too tied up in the numbers.

I am realizing that the numbers have been one way that DD (see previous posts...DD is the Diet Demon who loves to sabotage me and destroy my attempts at dieting) gets to me.  I can be super disciplined one week and then beat myself up when I get on the scale and discover that despite all the discipline I might have only lost 1/2 a pound or even stayed the same.

Likewise, in my long and illustrious diet career, I have many times of cheating and not being disciplined only to get on the scale and lose weight anyway.

That darn scale is messing around with my brain!

Yes, I agree with you naysayers that the number is important in some respects.  It gives medical personnel a lot of information.  It does provide a good record...over a length of to whether or not a new lifestyle or eating plan is effective.  But, I think the key here is "over a length of time".  The daily weighing and checking in has to stop.  There are just too many variables, especially in women, that can affect our weight on a daily basis.

So, from this point on, I have decided to only weigh myself once a month.  I started this journey on Feb. 20.  I have my weight at the end of my 30 day challenge.  The next time I plan to get on the scale to measure my progress will be April 20, then May 20, and so on...  I am just not going to be caught up in the daily worry of analyzing what went wrong or what went right the day before.

In reality, I do not want to think of Paleo as a "diet".  I want to think of Paleo as "just the way I choose to live my life."  I can just tell from my daily activity that I am losing weight and feeling better each and every day...I don't need a scale to prove that to me.

So, check back on April 20 if you want to see how I am doing...number-wise.

But, keep coming back before then if you want to see how I am

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Day 31 - Challenge Accepted and Complete!

Well Cave Friends...On February 20, I started this blog and told you about Robb Wolf's book, The Paleo Solution.  I had heard about this book from my diabetes doctor and with some urging from dear hubby decided to accept his 30-day challenge of trying the Paleo lifestyle.

I finished that challenge yesterday.  As Mr, Wolf states in his book...just try it for 30 days and see how you feel...then decide if the Paleo life is for you.

Well Mr. Wolf...I'm sold.  I've drunk your Kool-aid (as my college sons tell me when I decline bread and pasta) and I will continue to ask for more.

So, you all may ask...what are the results?  What are my feelings?  How do I feel physically?  Let's just make a small list here:

  • I have lost a total of 18 pounds.  (I was down 20 before traveling out of town on a very stressful trip where I probably indulged in too many salt & pepper pistachios and servings of is true what they say...stress does affect your weight loss).
  • I have a TON of energy.  I suffer from chronic anemia to the point where I have to receive I.V. infusions of iron once a month just to keep my hemoglobin up.  I literally have more energy now then I have had in years.  It is incredible.  I can't wait until my next visit to my hematologist to see what my ferritin levels are!
  • My clothes already fit better.  18 pounds does make a difference.  I've lost that continual bloated feeling.  
  • I am satisfied with my diet.  As opposed to EVERY other diet I have ever tried...I never feel hungry or cheated on the paleo diet.  For the first time (possibly ever), I am listening to my body and its hunger cues.  If I am hungry...I eat.  If I am not hungry...I now am realizing it's okay to actually not eat.  Just because we are raised and conditioned to eat at 8am, noon, and 6pm...doesn't mean we actually have to eat at those times!  Who would've thought?
  • I am becoming a great chef!  I am learning to adapt some family favorites and I am also exploring new vegetables and foods that I had previously been timid about trying.  Calabaza squash!  Kale!  Lamb!  Tamari Sauce!  Coconut Milk!  Coconut Oil!  Bulb Garlic!  I am also learning how to combine things into interesting dishes that both hubby and I are loving every evening.
  • I am becoming an advocate and witness to the Paleo life.  Since I have started, my in-laws, a few other relatives, a teacher friend, and another friend have decided to try it out as well.
  • And perhaps most of all...I am optimistic and encouraged.  For the first time in a VERY VERY long time, I feel like perhaps my destiny is not to just be the nice, fat, red-headed girl in the room that everyone likes, but secretly pities and feels sorry for (I know people say, "Thank God I don't look like that...or "I would die if my wife was that fat."...I know people think it...I'm not stupid).  Perhaps...just future holds fun, interesting, inviting opportunities!  Perhaps I can actually do things like snow ski with my children, go kayaking with my husband someday, actually take up running and jog with my marathon-running husband now and then, buy clothes in the "regular" section of the store, take my kids to a water park, not panic if I ever have to go an airplane and worry about fastening the seatbelt, not worry about fitting into a booth at a restaurant...actually feel like a "normal" person for a change.  I've NEVER felt normal.
So what does this all mean?

It means I am just getting started baby!  I plan to keep on eating Paleo, sleeping Paleo, exercising Paleo...just living Paleo.  I feel great.  I feel happy.  I feel hopeful.  I feel encouraged.  I feel like the rest of my life is ahead of me and I CANNOT wait to see what it holds!

So, check back here because I intend to keep posting about this journey.  I jokingly entitled this blog "The Incredible Shrinking Cave Mom" a month ago...but now all I can say is incredible!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Day 28 - Back Home Again on a Slippery Slope

Hello again!  I am finally back from the Land of the Lost, or in my case...Houston, TX!  LOL!  I spent my Spring Break vacation there helping my parents clean out the rest of their house in preparation for a move to a much smaller house here in my hometown.  While they are not "elderly" yet, they certainly need to be closer to myself and my brothers so that we can help take care of them in the coming years.  We all know that time has come for them to relocate.

Needless to say...not the most relaxing break from school and work...but one that needed to get done.  That being said, I don't think the week would have gone near as well if I had not been eating Paleo for the three weeks prior to the trip.  Even dear hubby has noted that I am never tired anymore, never want an afternoon nap on the weekends, and definitely am acting like a younger version of myself lately!  ;-)

For the most part, traveling while eating Paleo was very easy.  We made sure to pack plenty of snack type foods and fruit for the car, including various nuts, raisins, and some dehydrated apples we bought at Costco that are deeee-licious!  We stopped at Buc-ee's for our regular pit stop (do they have Buc-ees in other parts of the country????   Cause we love them in central Texas!) and bought jerky, smoked pork tenderloin, a giant dill pickle, and ate the fruit while the little kids were able to have a hot dog and tater tots.  For meals there, we either ate out (lunches at salad with all the veggies, no cheese) or helped out and cooked ourselves.  Since there were a lot of family members gathered together, we even smoked 3 racks of baby back ribs one evening and made a giant salad for the Paleo eaters and had the regular sides for the rest.

Because this trip was so family-focused, sweet loving hubby did treat me out to a "date night" at Flemings Steak House one evening.  We were doing fine...ordered a glass of cab to "share", ordered our entrees (filet mignon w/lobster and scallops for him, lamb for myself, roasted asparagus to share instead of salads), and were just settling in for a nice conversation that promised to be about anything other than children, our parents, or our jobs...when IT happened!  What might that be, you might ask?  The first true temptation both of us have had since going Paleo.  A piping hot, straight from the oven loaf of sourdough bread, topped with parmesan cheese...with two spreads on the side.  One was a sun-dried tomato/basil/herb butter and the other was a feta butter cream.  OH NO!  Seriously?  What were we supposed to do?  Actually pass on that deliciousness?  We eat at a $100/dinner date place about once every 5 years or so (remember, we have 4 kids, 2 in college, and I am a happy (non-unionized in Texas btw!, but still underpaid) school teacher.  We don't go to these fancy schmancy places very often.  We might never get a change to eat feta butter cream every again.  Were we supposed to politely just decline the bread?  Were we supposed to scream in agony and throw it across the restaurant at those other potato/bread eating people?  Were we supposed to give in with the realization that our paleo ancestors surely would have given in as well if presented with the opportunity to eat something so luscious?  So, what did we do?  We looked at the bread, waited a beat too long and the waiter walked away, looked at the bread again, shook our heads at each other and said at the EXACT same time, "It's not worth it." and pushed it to the end of the table and never looked at it again!  We rock!  So proud of us.

But, I did have a few "slip-ups" on this trip, despite my best intentions.  I ate some house vinaigrette (have no idea if I spelled that right!...when some book publisher decides to pay me thousands of dollars for the rights to my blog, I'm sure they will correct it at that time...LOL!) one evening on a salad because there was no olive oil or vinegar as an option.  The next evening, I ordered a Cobb Salad and then realized once it was delivered that it had a couple of tablespoons of bleu cheese crumbles on top...I LOVE bleu cheese.  Despite trying my best, I did not get it all picked off and ate some.  Then, today at the grocery store, I found myself reading just about every prepared salad dressing label on the shelf with the hopes that surely one might be paleo-friendly.  I love salads, but the olive oil/balsamic vinegar thing is getting old...I need another option.  I bet I picked up at least 20 different brands to organic brands to "healthy" brands...not one had an absence of sugar or corn syrup or corn starch or sour cream solids or wheat flour...NOT ONE!  Unbelievable what I have been ingesting for years without bothering to read anything.  So, unless someone out there can email me a great Paleo alternative, I guess I will stick with olive oil and vinegar.

But, I am worried that I have had a few little stumbles.  As I have said in a previous post, getting off a diet can become a VERY slippery slope for me.  I guess my saving grace is that I don't feel like I am dieting.  I am just eating healthy and liking everything about it.  In 2 more days, we will be at the end of our 30 day challenge.  I am dying to see how much weight I have lost, but at this point, we are not even considering getting off of it.  We both feel so good and want to question about it at all.

College boys drive back to college tomorrow.  For their last night at home, I am making lamb chops, roasted mushrooms and asparagus, mashed cauliflower with garlic, and grilled pineapple w/cinnamon on top for desert.  Now, even my reluctant eaters should eat that...right?

Rocking on in my cave world!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Day 23 - On The Road

Well, I am taking the true Paleo lifestyle to heart today as I get ready to travel for a few days with my family.  Unfortunately, we will not be "hunting and gathering", we will be "cleaning and tossing" as we travel to my parents' house to help them clean it out, organize, de-clutter,  get it ready to put on the market and downsize to a smaller home.  LOL

The challenge will be staying Paleo while on the road and staying away from my own kitchen.  I think the thing that concerns me the most is eating out in restaurants and/or fast food places.  I may or may not have Internet while I am there, so if you don't here from me for a few worries...I shall return.  Hopefully with a wonderful success story of how easy it is to stay Paleo, even away from your own comfortable surroundings.

I am so thrilled with how good I feel and how much weight I am losing at the same time.  I hit the 20 pound mark yesterday...and it has seemed so effortless.  I am finding it easy to find new things to eat, as well as tweaking old, family favorites.  One of my college-age sons came home for Spring Break and asked for his favorite meal...taco salad.  I made it the way I normally would except for a few changes.  Omitted the cheese and crumbled up tortilla chips.  Added a chopped bell pepper and doubled the amount of tomatoes and diced avocado that I would normally use.  Substituted salsa (after reading a thousand labels of the different ingredients...some salsas are nothing but chemicals and corn syrup!) for the ranch dressing.  It was delicious and actually better than it used to be.  Even my college son called it a success and wants it this way from now on.  Go figure.

On the road soon...rocking on in my cave world!  Smile at someone today and be happy!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Day Twenty-One - The World Divided

Well, it seems like I have many more people reading my blog than I thought!  I don't have a lot of  "Followers" and did not think many people were checking in, but after my last post on my fears and doubts, I have received many comments from friends and family and even a couple of strangers!  Although, let's not refer to you as strangers, let's refer to you as new cyber-friends!

I seem to have hit a nerve with so many people.  Many have told me how much they identified with my thoughts, how true my feelings were and that they totally understood the internal turmoil and struggle with faltering on a doubt and the almost near impossibility of getting back on board.  Others have shared that ups and downs are just a normal part of any struggle to lose weight and if you have a bad day, as we almost all will certainly have...then just get up the next day and get back on track.  Ahhh...if only it were that easy!

From the feedback I have received, I have now determined that our good Lord, in his almighty omniscience has just decided to divide us humans into two camps...those of us that I will call "true slims" (TSs) and those of us that I will call "truly not slims" (TNSs)  LOL!

TSs are able to have ups and downs in their relationships with food.  Sometimes they may overindulge and have days or time periods where they binge out on vacations and holidays, etc.  But, for TSs, they are able to pick themselves up and get back on the wagon without much of an effort.  TSs like food, as we all surely do, but they do not "love" food.  TSs very rarely experience that miserable feeling of eating something to the point of nausea...simply because it just tastes so good.  TSs are usually able to stop when they are full.  My daughter is a TS.  I know this because she can stop in mid-lick on an ice cream cone and say, "I'm full" and throw it away!  WHAT!?!?!?  Who EVER gets full with ice cream still left in the cone?  TSs...that's who!  I think the key is that TSs do not have emotional issues tied to food.  They seem to live that age old adage, "they eat to live, not live to eat."

The rest of us, and according to statistics there are more and more of us all the time, are TNSs.  TNSs cannot even fathom throwing away an ice cream cone with ice cream left in the bottom!  TNSs tend to throw all caution out the window when at a favorite restaurant and order their favorites, despite the consequences.  TNSs can find many reasons to "cheat" on their diets...they can come up with over 150 days a years that should be diet holidays...actual holidays, weekends, obscure holidays (come on, who diets on Arbor Day?), birthdays, anniversaries, and even whole time periods (really, don't we all overeat the entire month between Thanksgiving and Christmas?).  TNSs have moments of clarity where we feel good and get our wits about us and are able to stick to a healthy food plan.  But, as I said in my last post, when we falter, we tend to start self-talking ourselves back into failure and an eventual return to unhealthy eating.  TNSs, for many different reasons, have an emotional attachment to food.  We look to food for comfort when we are down.  We eat when we are bored.  We eat when we are happy.  We look at food, especially our favorites, as a friend.  We "live to eat, not eat to live."

Now, if you are a TNS like have probably spent countless hours thinking about, reading about, journaling about, praying about, even seeking professional counseling...why is it that you have this ridiculous attachment to food?  Personally, I cannot pinpoint any particular "normal" reason.  I wasn't abused as a child.  I wasn't emotionally neglected as a child or an adult.  I wasn't forced to "clean my plate" when I was young.  I do not have a spiritual or emotional void in my life (I am very happily married for over 22 years, have four loving, healthy children, and am a Christian believer).  It comes down to...I don't know why I have this thing with food and eating...BUT I DO!

I guess if I could figure it out, I would publish a book, solve the world obesity issue (or at least my own!) and make a million dollars and retire to the Rocky Mountains.  Alas, I just don't know the answer.

So...I know none of this post was about Paleo (which is still going great, btw), but is more about my thoughts on how differently so many of us look at food.  I guess in the ancient cave world, I would have been a cave mom...and I wouldn't have had deep dish pizza, authentic Mexican food, and deep fried deliciousness and food wouldn't have been an issue...other than to hunt and gather enough to ensure my survival on my daily basis.  I would have been eating to live.  Perhaps down deep, at some core level, that is why the Paleo lifestyle if appealing to me...perhaps I am hoping to re-awaken some part of my ancient DNA that will help me see food as fuel, not as a friend.

What do you think?  Post a comment and let me know!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Day Eighteen - The Honeymoon is Over

Well, I knew it would happen sooner or later...but the honeymoon is over!  Kaput!  Done!  Finito!

Today was the first day since going Paleo that I have even had the thought of wanting to cheat or go off plan.  I do not know if it the fact that I have been on the plan now for so long that I am bored with it.  I do not know if it is the fact that I am a teacher and Spring Break is only 2 school days away and like most teachers this time of year, I am desperate for a break!  I do not know if it was the fact that lunch today in the school cafeteria was delicious looking cheese enchiladas with chili on top.  All I do know is that when I saw my fellow teachers chowing down on their enchiladas topped with chili and jalapenos...I really wanted some as well.

Now, I didn't cheat.  I wasn't even close to actual cheating...but the thought was there.  It crossed my mind that those enchiladas sure did look delicious.

A part of me is slightly panicked because I don't even want the smallest nugget of doubt to creep in to my mind that I might not be able to accomplish this.  But the practical part of me says that just having a thought is obviously not cheating and that I am fine.

I guess I am scared because of my scarred diet history.  Like I said in a previous post, I have NEVER been a long-term successful dieter.  I do very well for a week or two, sometimes even longer...and then I mess up...get discouraged...vow to go back on "the program", whatever that might be at the time...try to get back on track...fall off the wagon again...perhaps try one more time...and then give up and gain all my weight back again, usually with a few extra pounds to spare.


This is really working.  I don't want my emotions over food to get in the way of how I am actually treating food these last couple of fuel...instead of as my best friend.  I don't think I am in danger of slipping yet...but it sure did sort of freak me out to even look at something else longingly.

I guess I need to learn how to cope with the fact that I might slip up someday and if (probably more like when) that happens, how am I going to react?  Is it okay to not do something perfectly?  Can you still be successful even though you have bumps along the road?

I wish I knew the answers....

Monday, March 7, 2011

Day Sixteen - Why to Trust Only Your Doctor!

So, two days ago on Saturday, by a convergence of circumstances much too convoluted to explain here, my employer required me to attend a "Health Check" hosted by a local grocery store.  This snapshot of my health included weight, height, BMI, blood pressure, blood glucose, total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, and triglycerides.  Now, take note there were NO physicians at this health check.  There were NO nurses at this health check.  There were NO physician's assistants at this health check.  So, who was running the show, you might ask?  The grocery store employees who work in the all fairness, there name tags said "pharmacy technician".  I have no idea if this is a position that requires special training at all.  There was also a pharmacist available to answer your questions after you received your results.

Everything came up within normal ranges except for weight, BMI (no surprise there...already knew that going in) and my blood pressure.  The girl doing all of my readings looks over at me and says, "Your blood pressure is 220/140.".  WHAT?!?!?!?!?  Seriously?  That's like....ready to have a stroke high!  To say I was a tad FREAKED OUT would be an understatement.

Not only am I an insulin-dependent diabetic, but I also suffer from chronic anemia and iron deficiency.  My anemia is so bad that I have monthly visits to a hematologist where I have to be given iron intravenously through an I.V.  Because of both of these conditions, I see at least one doctor every few weeks.  I have NEVER had a blood pressure issue.  I am even on a low dose blood pressure medication, as are many insulin-dependent diabetics to help prevent kidney disease.

I gathered my wits back about me and politely told the pharmacy technician that I thought perhaps her blood pressure machine had not recorded my blood pressure correctly, as I could not believe it was that high.  I politely asked her if she could check it again.  She gave me that know the one...the one that says, "yeah, fat girl, keep your head stuck in the sand and deny you have any issues".  Well, the second time...again, my blood pressure was sky high.

To say that I was a bit panicked would be a fair statement!  One of the reasons that I was so worried is that the only thing that I have changed since my last visit to the doctor was starting the Paleo diet.  Surely eliminating all grains and dairy couldn't just elevate your blood pressure 100 points, could it?  I felt fine.  I had energy.  I didn't feel like I was about to suffer a cardiac arrest or aneurysm...but good grief, that darn machine was saying I needed to start making reservations at my local cemetary...and soon.  I had felt so good since beginning to eat Paleo and for the first time in a very, very long time...I saw a light at the end of a very dark tunnel of long-term obesity and fatness.  I had become convinced that I was enjoying this diet and felt great...and if all of that was true...then why in the heck was my blood pressure all of the sudden registering at near-death levels?

Finally, yesterday afternoon, I had worried enough and while shopping, I decided to go ahead and purchase a blood pressure monitor to keep at home.  I brought that baby home, plugged it in and it said my blood pressure was 112/72.  Ahhhh...feeling a bit better.  Maybe the people at the Health Check had a faulty machine...

Then, the clincher came this afternoon.  I had my monthly visit to my hematologist for my office visit and iron I.V.  My blood pressure was 102/68....perfectly healthy and normal.  I asked the doctor about it and she looked back through my chart of having visited her over the past 3 years and told me that I had not once had a high blood pressure reading.  I explained the Paleo diet to her and she was intrigued and said to "go for it"...that there was certainly nothing unhealthy about eating protein and fresh fruits and vegetables!

So, crisis averted...I'm not going to drop least not tonight.  I was going to be really ticked off if I had finally found an answer to my long-term food and health woes to have it just jerked out from under me that quickly.

Of course, now I am wondering how many other people left the Health Check on Saturday morning also thinking that their blood pressure was about to kill them?  Ugh.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Day Fifteen - I am Becoming a Top Paleo Chef!

I have always been a good cook.  I have never been one to just follow a recipe.  I very rarely even use recipes.  I am just one of those people that throws some of this and some of that together and it usually turns out pretty darn good.  This is a bad thing when someone asks how to make my famous chicken enchiladas or borracho beans...because it's not like I really have many things written down...they are just in my head on how to do it...

So, that being said, so far, this Paleo thing hasn't been too horribly difficult as far as cooking.  I am pretty darn adept at knowing what herbs and spices work together, different ways to prepare meats, and just coming up with something pretty tasty off the cuff.

But, tonight's dinner was so darn tasty, I am going to actually write it down for future reference so that I can make it again!  Plus, maybe some of you fellow cave men and women might want to try it as well!  ;-)

Our entree was grilled salmon.  I bought a nice side of fresh salmon with the skin still on.  About 30 minutes before grilling, I made the following marinade after looking at several different recipes online and adjusting to  our flavor preferences:

  • 2 T. brown mustard
  • 3 T. tamari sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped fine
  • probably 1/2-1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • probably about 4 T. olive oil.
  • good generous pinch of cayenne pepper
I split the marinade into 2 equal parts.  One part went on the non-skin side of the salmon to sit for awhile.  One part went into a gallon baggie with a bunch of trimmed fresh asparagus.

While all of that was marinating, I made a quick cucumber/tomato/sweet onion salad with a balsamic dressing and fired up the grill to start heating.  Once the grill was ready, I threw the asparagus into a quick foil packet and threw that on one side and the fish on the other.  After about 5-6 minutes, I flipped everything and let it cook another 5-6 minutes.  After pulling off the grill, I let the fish rest a bit, peeled off the skin and sliced the long filet into individual serving sizes and served with the other half of the lemon cut into wedges....I cut open the foil packet of asparagus being careful to watch out for all the steam escaping...and we ate away...


If this is how the cave men ate...then I am all for being a cave mom and cooking in my cave world for my cave family!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Day Fourteen - Going to the Dark Side

No, not the dark side of the moon....not the dark side of the Force (see, to my skeptical college sons...I do know SOME Stars Wars references! Ha!)  I am talking about the dark side of sleep and rejuvenation!

Part of the Paleo lifestyle involves getting adequate rest.  In The Paleo Solution, Robb Wolf recommends 8-9 hours a night in complete darkness.  I have just started reading The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson and have not come to that section of his book, but I do know that one of his ten rules for a Paleo lifestyle involves adequate rest as well.  Again, all of these recommendations are based upon studying how our ancient ancestors lived and how our bodies were actually designed to live and survive on this earth.

Throughout history, our sleep patterns were largely determined by sunlight.  Our bodies are hard wired to respond to light.  When there is an absence of light, we sleep.  When there is a presence of light, we want to wake up.  Our bodies contain sleep hormones (melatonin for one) that are triggered by the absence and presence of light.  It is only in recent history, especially with the invention of the electric light, that we have been able to alter our sleep patterns to what we consider a more "convenient" way in order to live our lives and give us more waking hours to accomplish our know what I'm talking seems to be all about staying busy lately....

One of Mr. Wolf's recommendations is to purchase blackout curtains for your bedroom.  Initially, we did not do this as we have 4 large windows...but after a few days of eating clean and seeing the difference in how we felt physically, we decided to take the plunge (financially) and purchase blackout curtains.  They are not super pricey, don't get the wrong idea...we just have 4 kids (2 in college) and we live on a very tight budget.  I believe we ended up paying a little over $100 for everything.  Luckily, we already had the hardware from a previous set of curtains that used to hang in our bedroom.

In addition to blacking out the room at night, it is also important to "wind down" in the evenings.  This means turning off the TV, not rushing around doing a last load of laundry, etc.  You also have to make a committed effort to turning in earlier than you normally would.  My alarm goes off at 5:30am every morning.  This means that around 9pm, I need to start thinking about ending my day.

Well, the first night...what a difference.  Wow!  The room was so dark compared to what it normally was with just the wooden blinds.  Surprisingly, I fell asleep very quickly and dreamed vivid dreams all night long...which means that I probably was experiencing more REM sleep.  I have a history of sleep apnea and never even getting to sleep deep enough to experience REM I saw this as a good sign.

However, we still had a few problems...things we had never noticed before were like shining beacons in our bedroom now!  The little red LED light on the smoke alarm.  The tiny green light on our house alarm pad.  The "glow" from underneath the bathroom door where we have glass blocks in our shower (which relays the neighbor's flood lights in their backyard to our bathroom most nights).  These things had never bothered us before because we simply hadn't noticed them.

So, after a couple nights of tweaking some of these issues, including covering up the smoke alarm light with a tiny strip of black electrician's tape...last night, we were finally able to get our bedroom totally dark.  I mean, we could not even see our hands in front of our faces when we held them up.  It was that dark.

We slept like babies.  Totally rested...totally rejuvenated...totally convinced that the blackout curtains were totally worth the money.

Just another notch on the belt of persuasion that perhaps the cave mom life is a life I want to keep living.

Off to start my day...tons of energy, totally rested, and feeling great!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Day Twelve - Inexplicable!

INEXPLICABLE!  Webster's defines inexplicable as "impossible or difficult to explain."  That is the only word that even comes close to describing my ability to be happy and satisfied with the Paleo diet right now.

Let me preface this post be saying that I have quite the history with diet failures.  I have NEVER been a "normal" person.  The first time my mother took me to a Weight Watcher meeting was the summer between 2nd and 3rd grade.  She did this not because she was a cruel a matter of fact, she is the polar opposite.  She did this because I was begging her to help me lose weight so I could feel accepted and normal...even at 8 years old! What has followed has been over 35 years of steady weight gain, temporary weight loss (but never down to a normal weight) and then more weight gain.

I have never been "normal."  Never.  My complete identity has always been the "fat girl with the red hair".  I know there are probably many pyschological issues tied to seeing myself this way...and perhaps at some point I will talk more about it here, but the point is...I have never been able to lose weight down to a goal weight and NEVER been able to escape DD (remember him?  Diet Demon?) from sabotaging me in my weight loss attempts and my desire to achieve a healthier lifestyle.  For as long as I can remember...I have been a failure at achieving what the world says is "normal."

One of the most opportune times that DD comes after me is during times of stress and times of depression.  I am normally not only a glass is half full kind of girl, I am a glass is overflowing girl.  I am an optimist and always have a smile on my face.  I am very rarely down.  However these last few days have been pretty darn difficult.  Like all of you, I have many roles in life...wife, mother, daughter, teacher, employee, friend, volunteer, housekeeper,  etc, etc, etc.  Let's just say that the last few days have left feeling pretty much beaten up in all of these areas except my role as a wife (thank heavens for hubby, he's my anchor all the time...don't know why God blessed me so much with him.)  Not only does my cup feel empty lately, it feels like it has a hole in the bottom of it and everything is draining out as fast as it can.  I am being pulled in a hundred different directions for a hundred different reasons for a hundred different obligations that I have.  I am just empty...stressed and just bummed out.

This should be prime time for DD to come pay me a visit....nudging me along with those little thoughts of "just a bite of this" or "boy, wouldn't that taste good" or "I'll get back on it tomorrow".  Nope...none of those at all. And it's not like the opportunities aren't there.  But, I have no desire to cheat of get off of this program at all.  Despite the day I have had, I was happy to come home tonight and make a nice, fresh marinara sauce with fresh tomatoes, fresh bulb garlic, onions, fresh basil, fresh oregano and extra lean ground beef to pour over the spaghetti squash that is currently baking in the oven. Normally on a day like this, I would come home exhausted, put my feet up in the recliner, have a cold beer and order pizza delivery for the family for dinner.  Not tonight.  I made the kids PBJs and chips for dinner...and not even tempted to taste the peanut butter or eat a Lay's.  

Like I started out this post.....INEXPLICABLE.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Day Ten - Hooray for Tequila!

Well, faithful followers, today was THE DAY of  THE STATE ACCOUNTABILITY TEST for 4th grade Writing.  Can we just say.....STRESSFUL!  I LOVE being a teacher.  It is the world's greatest profession.  I KNOW I make a difference in the lives of my students.  But, the stress wasn't from concern that my students wouldn't do well or do their best...the stress was from being so concerned about accidentally breaking a rule!  There were monitors from the district watching our every move and every word.  What if I didn't have every bulletin board covered?  What if I accidentally said the wrong thing and didn't follow the script?  I had to be on my feet "actively monitoring the students" all day long...pacing up and down, back and forth, up and down, back and forth, over and over and over.....UGH!

So, my last student does not finish until 3 hours after dismissal and I am FINALLY home with my family, sitting down, have my shoes off, and have time to relax...THANK HEAVEN that Mr. Wolf says that alcohol is allowed on the Paleo lifestyle.  I am not a big drinker.  I used to like a cold beer every now and then and would always have a drink at a bar while waiting on a table at a nice restaurant...but alcohol is definitely not on my "daily needs" list.  But after the day I have had today?  Bring it on!

My apologies to Robb Wolf for not remembering the name of his margarita...I don't have the book near me and I think it is named after his gym...but for our purposes here, we will call it the "Cave Girl Margarita!".  Squeeze the juice of one lime into a grass of crushed ice, rimmed with margarita salt (I think I added the salt part, don't think Mr. Wolf advocates this!  Oops!  LOL!  But isn't the salt delicious?), add a double shot of gold tequila (Jose Cuervo of course!) and then top off with club soda or sparkling water.  Can I just say, DELICIOUS!  Just what I needed after this day of nothing but bundles of stress and angst.

So...the bad news is...only 6 weeks left until THE STATE ACCOUNTABILITY TEST FOR READING AND MATH tests!  UGH!

But...the good news is...despite the "Good Luck" chocolates and the "Congratulations for Making It Through the Day" candy bars I received today...I did not eat any of them and am still living life as a cave mom in a cave world!

Rock on!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Day Nine - Paleo Basics from a Novice

Well, since "advertising" my Paleo status yesterday on Facebook, I have had quite a few inquiries as to what the heck Paleo is and what the heck I am doing.  So, I thought I would explain the diet plan as I understand it.  Please note though that I am just a baby at learning how to live this lifestyle!  Heck, I am only on Day 9!  I am sure there are MANY things I am still doing wrong compared to the few things I am doing correctly.  So far, I have read Robb Wolf's book, The Paleo Solution, cover to cover, read some information on various different websites, and just recently downloaded The Primal Blueprint, by Mark Sisson to my Kindle (although I have not started reading it yet).  All I can testify to at this point is that after 9 days of eating Paleo and following other guidelines by Mr. Wolf, I feel great and have lost weight.  I do not feel bloated.  My problems from inflammation (allergies/sinuses, plantar fasciitis, muscle aches and pains) have all but disappeared.  My blood sugar readings are absolute perfect.  And most of all, as a sufferer of chronic anemia for the past 3 years, I finally have energy!

So the idea of all this is to eat the way our ancestors in paleolithic times ate.  Think "pre-agriculture"...think "Hunters and Gatherers".

What to eat?  Mostly plants and animals.  This boils down to a lot of meat, poultry, and fish and a lot of non-starchy vegetables, fruit, nuts, and seeds.  For fats, think olive oil, coconut oil, almond oil, and avocados.  If weight loss is your goal, Mr. Wolf recommends no more than one serving of fruit a day.

What not to eat?  OK - Don't freak out...seriously, once you try it and take the plunge, it's not near as bad as you think it is going to be...for those of you who know me well, seriously, did you think I would EVER be a person advocating this lifestyle?  But, here I am doing it.  So, it must be do-able if I can do it, right?  So, here we go.  No grains (this includes wheat, barley, corn, oats, and rice...yes, pasta is made from wheat), no dairy, no legumes (including most beans and peanuts), and no processed foods.  Think clean and natural.

What to drink?  Coffee, tea, and water.  No creamer, no sugar, no artificial sweeteneres.  I am struggling the most with no Diet Coke and black cofffee.  As I've said before on the blog, giving up the Diet Coke was the hardest.  But believe it or not, I have sort of lost my craving for them already.  As for the coffee, I used to drink it black all the time, but somewhere along the road of life, I discovered Half & Half and then about a year ago, a dear, sweet friend exposed me to the joy of Heavy Cream in my coffee.  I didn't make that a habit, but boy, was it delicious.  Going back to black coffee has been harder than I thought.  I did buy some almond milk yesterday at the store, but haven't tried it yet.  I may do that in the morning and see what that does.

What else?  Mr. Wolf recommends 8-9 hours of sleep each evening in total darkness.  Mr. Wolf has a exercise program based upon the lifestyle that our paleolithic ancestors lived so many years ago.  It doesn't involve long distance endurance training, but shorter more concentrated efforts mixed in with other natural movements (like walking).  To be honest, this is the last step of the program that I am tackling and I am just now starting to do some of the exercises each morning and evening.

I am sure there are many more details that I am leaving out, but if you are interested in the "down and dirty" beginner's primer for what to do, this at least gives you the basic idea.

Now, I do have one thing that some of you may not have.  If I did not have this one thing, I do agree that this might be MUCH, MUCH harder.  That one thing that I have is a very supportive spouse that is doing this program with me.  The day we started, we completely gutted our pantry of anything non-paleo.  We emptied out cereal boxes, pasta, flour, sugar, canned meals and soups, boxed dinners (Hamburger Helper), salad dressings, crackers, cookies, and many other things.  We left these things on the dining room table for a few days to see how it would go and then ended up donating anything that hadn't already been opened to the food pantry at our church last weekend.  From the freezer, we got rid of frozen prepared dinners, bread, frozen pasta, pizzas, and ice cream.  Without these things in our home, it has made this SO much easier.  If I was tackling this on my own and the rest of my family were eating the way we used to eat, I admit that this might be much harder.  I can only say that I have much gratitude to the big guy up above that He blessed me with such a loving and supportive spouse.

And hubby will tell you already that he is totally on board.  At first he was doing this with me to support me, but now it has changed in that he is doing it for himself, simply because he feels so much better than he did a week ago.

Well, hope I have answered some of your questions.  As to the things I am still not doing correctly, I guess I will discover those as I go!  ;-)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Week One - The Results Are In!

OK, fellow cave dwellers....I wasn't going to weigh myself for the entire 30 day experiment, but I just couldn't resist stepping on the scale this morning.  I have been eating Paleo now for exactly seven days.  I feel better than I have felt in months.  As much as this diet (lifestyle?) might seem to be a short-term fad, I am really seeing the possibility that it could be a life-long change.  The science and research that I have read this week convinces me more and more that wheat products especially are the cause of many of my health issues.   So, after one week of eating Paleo, I have lost 7.4 pounds!  Hubby has lost almost 5.

Neither one of us is really trying to lose weight, we have just changed the foods we are allowing ourselves to eat.  Wow, it has been so easy to eat this way.  Satisfying and delicious, but most of all, I don't have to worry about counting calories, calculating points, journaling my intake, or having guilt when I eat something I shouldn't.  As I have written about already this week, I know I am still in the honeymoon period, but right now, doing this for 30 days seems like a no brainer.

My mother-in-law asked hubby today what happens after 30 days.  Good question.  I guess we decide if we want to continue this lifestyle or not.  I have been doing a lot of reading about people who eat Paleo 6 days a week and have one "cheat" day.  But, then everything I read about that says they always feel like crap for a couple of days, what's the point?  Right now, I really have no desire to cheat.  Today at church, there was a retirement reception for a church staff member.  The obligatory cake, punch, and snacks were provided.  Neither hubby or I were even tempted to want a piece of cake.  In fact, the idea of doing so almost revolted us.  I keep thinking about the science behind this diet and how my digestive system seems to treat gluten like an why go and irritate it when things are going so well?  It just doesn't seem worth it.

Now, of course, this isn't just a eating change, but there are other aspects to this program and my doctor told me that when I read the book, I needed to pay attention to all parts of it.  As you might expect, one part of the Paleo lifestyle involves physical activity...but not like what I have been used to in the past.  Thank Heavens!  Let's just say that miles and miles on a treadmill does not appeal to me in the least!  I will speak more about the physical activity part of this in the next week or so.

The other part of this lifestyle involves rest and the time your body needs daily to recuperate.  We have ordered blackout curtains for our bedroom and they are due to arrive tomorrow.  Mr. Wolf encourages 8-9 houurs of sleep EVERY night in complete darkness.  You will have to read his book or do some web searching to find out the reasons why complete darkness is so crucial to our sleep and rest.  I am anxious to get the curtains and see if this makes a difference in the way we feel each morning when we wake up to start our day.  We live next to a few neighbors who don't seem to care if their floodlights/porchlights/houselights are on all night.  Despite having wood blinds, our bedroom is never really completely dark.  It will be interesting to see what happens.

Tonight is hubby's birthday.  I always make him one of his favorite meals.  Normally, I usually make homemade enchiladas, my famous barracho beans, rice, homemade guacamole, and chips...and then make him his favorite carrot cake with cream cheese frosting that he loves so much.  However, tonight, we are having grilled NY strip steaks with sauteed onions and mushrooms, "mashed potatoes" (ok, mashed cauliflower with garlic and pepper...still delicious!), and roasted asparagus for his birthday dinner.  Instead of a birthday cake, I bought and cut up a fresh pineapple...his favorite fruit in the world.  Should be just as delicious, is totally paleo-friendly, and we can eat as much as we want and enjoy the delicious taste of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables (fresh from the Farmer's Market!).

Loving the paleo life...and 7.4 pounds lighter in just one is good!  ;-)