Today you are closer to the person you were meant to become.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

My 5 Year Plan

I finally know what I want to be when I grow up—8 years after graduating high school.

I've always had an inkling it was ridiculous to be asked, at 17 years old, what I wanted my career to be. Now, I know it was completely asinine. My 17-year-old self loved art and writing. I also loved sports and old buildings. Hell, I liked new buildings if they were interesting enough. I liked a lot of things. But when someone asked me “What do you want to be?”, I had no idea. And honestly, at 17, should I know? I knew so little about the world when I was that age. I knew so little about myself.  Yet, it’s standard protocol to expect high school seniors to declare majors and areas of study, or at least know what they want their future job to be. We are expected to go to college and get a degree, then get a job in our field. That is all fine and dandy if you know what you want to do. But what if you don’t?

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Sweet Summertime...

The leaves are turning and the temps are dropping. That can only mean one thing: summer is disappearing, and fall is approaching.

Honestly, I love this time of year. In my mind, it's the time of year where things slow down (even though they don't), I get to relax (I don't get that either), and there are more lazy nights watching movies and cuddling on the couch (this, I get...guilt free too, since it's chilly out!).

In reality though, I'm beginning to understand that life never slows down. So often we look at our obligations and the things we really want to be doing but--what do you know--those things we want quickly get shoved aside and obligations take priority. The key, I think, is aligning what you want with your obligations. I'm slowly starting to do that again, and it feels oh-so-amazing.

Change 1: I got a job coaching volleyball. I love this sport. I'm passionate about playing and coaching and just sharing the game. And I'm really good at all of those things. So, when the opportunity arose (again) to be a coach, I jumped in. We're nearly a month in and I don't have a single regret (except, maybe, doing this sooner).

Change 2: I'm finishing my degree. When I decided to take a break from school, it was the right decision at the time. But, now is the time to jump back in and write my thesis, graduate, and earn my master's degree in English. After that, I have no specific plan aside from getting full time employment, hopefully at the university level working with students in some way. For now, though, writing that paper is a major priority, and I want it to be.

Change 2 1/2: I say "half" because it goes with #2. I am cutting back hours at my current job to give myself more time to write my thesis. It's completely worth the pay cut, and with the help of YNAB I know it's doable. Plus, with the Alaska PFD in October and my coaching paycheck in November, I know I'll be fine.

Change 3: I'm getting back to paleo/primal. I wouldn't say that I haven't been eating this way; but I have had too many indulgences. Summer does that, at least for me. Softball, beer, concession food, eating out with friends. It's easy to slip into a non-paleo eating pattern. But, every meal I cook at home is paleo, and I'm happy that habit has stuck. I don't buy crappy food (aside from the occasional pre-made macaroons and sourdough bread).  However, now that I'm on a tight budget, need to focus on school things, and have a busy schedule, there is no better time to clean up my diet and get back to primal principles. I need all the energy and mental focus I can get, and I know eating this way is the best way to do that.

I am always learning things about myself, and this last year has been a doozy. I wouldn't change much, though. The future is looking brighter than ever, and I can't wait to see where everything leads me. More to come!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Settling in without settling for less

Holy blogosphere, it has been a while. I’ve neglected writing for some time, and I don’t really have any good excuses except that I’ve been a little less dogmatic about health and nutrition than I have been for a few years now. I’m not saying that I’ve gone off the rails and completely abandoned everything I’ve learned; instead, I’ve come to realize that this really has become a way of life, a lifestyle, and I find myself needed less accountability to stick to things than I perhaps needed before (even if said accountability was the abyss that is the interwebs of blogging).

If you’ll recall, this last winter I really struggled staying on the wagon and really felt I had abandoned all primal and paleo principles, felt like I was gaining weight, and didn’t feel like I was making any significant gains. I suspect some of those feelings were due to winter blues, but I also believe chronic obsession with being “healthy” turned into a negative thing for me. I got tunnel vision, and I wasn’t looking at the big picture. I was weighing myself too often (sometimes multiple times a day) and being way to analytical about every morsel of food that went in my mouth. I saw the scale bounce around, slowly saw my 187 creep back up to 202, and I freaked out. I thought I was failing. And, technically, I was—just not in the way I thought I was.

The Whole30 really brought me back. And not because I am adhering to those rules all of the time, but because it got me back in the mindset of “be healthy” instead of “lose weight.” And, I’ll tell you what, I like myself a lot more when I’m in that state. It’s less stressful, there’s no pressure, and I do things because I truly enjoy them. I cook good food because I like to. I like the way the food nourishes my body and the way it makes me feel. I work out because I see definition in my arms and I feel strong and athletic when I play sports.

But, I also have a few beers when I play softball. I go out for pizza every once in a while. I’ll enjoy a meal out and not worry about being 100% primal. I know these things aren’t healthy, but I’m not going to agonize over it right now if I can maintain my strength, weight, and health when I’m 80% primal. To me, that’s a positive change—a change that says yes, this is my lifestyle. Not just some fad, not just some temporary change to get to some end result. This is the way I choose to eat, most of the time, to make myself healthier.

The number on the scale might not reflect positive change all the time, but I can see a definite difference in the way my clothes fit. My body composition is changing, for the better, and I love that. For now, it’s summer, and I’m going to enjoy it and have fun, go camping and play softball and not stress out over food, because I know when I have the options of being primal, I will take them 90% of the time. Maybe this fall and winter I’ll get strict for a month or three to see what I can do; but at the moment I’m happy living in the present and practicing all principles of the primal blueprint to lead a happy, healthy, and full life.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Whole 30: Round 2

I'm happy to announce that I will be officially starting my second Whole30 on Monday, and I'm bringing some friends and family along for the ride!

I had originally planned to start my second go 30 days out from my triathlon, but after this week I've decided to move it up and start sooner and continue it out until my triathlon. So, for me, it'll end up being closer to a Whole 35 I believe. No matter.

I saw such great gains in my athletic abilities and my triathlon training during my first Whole30 that I didn't really want to delay starting my second one any longer. Sure, I had a good time out with friends last weekend (and will do so again this weekend) and have indulged a little in the food department (but not without the consequences of bloating and tummy issues!). I miss the energy I had just a week and half ago, as well as the better sleep I was getting and the ability to jump out of bed in the mornings. I want that back. So, "Whole 30: Round 2" is commencing sooner than originally planned.

The most exciting part about this time around is helping out some friends and family along the way. I've opened a Facebook group and invited a handful of interested people to join in. I'm really looking forward to having this support group and being a helping hand as they take on this journey. Included in the group: my mom, my close friend/cousin, and a few other friends and family. So cool.

I didn't finish my first Whole30. I came 5 days short. Which, in hindsight, just sounds ridiculous. But that's all the more reason to give it another go. The Gold Nugget Tri is right around the corner, and I'm going to kick some serious booty doing it by prepping with awesome food and great workouts.

Even though I "failed" (and I use that term grudgingly) at my first attempt, I do want to celebrate one win: I did not weigh myself for THIRTY DAYS. That, my friends, is a huge deal for me. If you read this post, you'll understand why. I'm extremely proud of myself for doing that, and I look forward to doing it again. Monday morning, I will get the scale out to record my starting weight, then it will promptly go back in the closet where it belongs. I'm also going to take measurements this time because I feel that's a better indicator of progress than scale weight anyway (I feel like I got a lot stronger over the last month).

Anyway, I did manage to lose a little over 6 pounds: 208 to 202.8. In 30 days, that's pretty good--a little over a pound a week. And I know that was all fat and absolutely no muscle.

Here's to another 30 days of awesome!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

My Whole...25

Yes, 25. It breaks my heart a little (okay...a lot) to write that. On Day 25, I fell short. When my carefully modified fajita burrito (no tortilla, no rice, no beans....just meat and veggies and guac) showed up at my table completely covered in melted cheese, I couldn't bring myself to send it back and ask for it without.

If I could do it all over again...I'm not sure I would have done it differently. But what I WOULD have done differently was to not let it completely derail me. Because here is what happened: I ate said dish, I told myself I had "failed" at my Whole30, and I had two beers later that night because I felt sorry for myself.

That, my friends, was the wrong reaction. At Day 25, I should have resolved to finish it strong, and not let a little shredded cheese get in my way. Sure, it might not be a true, completely compliant Whole30...but I should not have let perfection be the enemy of good. I could have at least finished off with a "the best I could do at that point" Whole30. Instead, I let that little slip turn into two beers that night, a few glasses of wine Friday night, a night out drinking with friends on Saturday, and then a whole lotta grains on Sunday.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Day 22: Things I've Learned

Wow, I can't believe it's day 22 already! This has been a great experience so far. I think the biggest takeaway is that I'm learning things that I really believe I'll take with me beyond my Whole30 (and that's the entire point, is it?).

I was talking to a friend of mine, and I had to explain that while my Whole30 technically "ends" on April 2, I'm not planning to not continue eating this way. I feel fantastic, I have been killing my workouts and have been getting stronger, and I have more energy, I sleep better, and I've truly been enjoying every single day. So I thought I would take this day to write down the things I've learned that, Whole30 or not, I'll continue to implement into my daily life on a regular basis.

1) I can go out with friends and not drink. This is something I always knew, but without the rules of Whole30 I would kind of "cave in" and eventually have a few drinks. Which I honestly believe there is nothing wrong with that. BUT from a health perspective, and from a training perspective, I've come to realize that I can still go out and have a great time without getting buzzed. And the benefits of doing that? I still get to have a blast with my friends, I don't have any type of hangover the next day, and I usually can wake up by 9 despite being out late. Sure, I'm a little tired, but I don't feel anything like I would if I had been drinking. I can have it all: a great social life and the time/energy I need to be productive on the weekends.

2) Food prep is actually fun, and makes the week easier. I realized this mostly this morning as I peeked in the fridge and thought, "Oops, I didn't food prep yesterday!" I was a little stumped and actually kind of bummed out that I didn't have a lunch to pack and would have to visit the grocer salad bar on my lunch break (which is fine....but I've been enjoying my roasted chicken lunches). Plus, I enjoy the time in the kitchen. Since I didn't food prep yesterday, I'm kind of stuck this week doing the salad bar. I have something after work every night this week...I suppose I could figure something out when I'm cooking dinner tonight. We'll see. Anyway, lesson learned: Sunday food prep is a priority!

3) I can seriously do more when I eat this way. I can do more workouts, I can be more productive at work, I can go out with friends, I can play volleyball. Sure, I still get tired and need downtime, but I have plenty of energy to do everything I want to, without feeling dead tired. I know I need to rest (like today, when I woke up and felt how sore my legs were from yesterday), but my recovery time is improved and I can get back to working out sooner AND be stronger for it.

4) My tendonitis is not just greatly reduced, but seems to be gone. That's right, completely gone. I played volleyball both Saturday (4 games) and Sunday (2 games), and was swinging away both days. My shoulder/arm felt great. Normally, each swing stings, sending shooting pain down my bicep tendon. I don't remember feeling that once this weekend. I've never really thought about how not eating Paleo could contribute to my tendonitis, but after reading It Starts with Food, it makes sense that any type of chronic inflammation would prevent it from getting better. One of the authors of the book actually is a volleyball player and found the same thing to be true with her shoulder/arm.

5) It's okay to ask questions at restaurants. Whether it's about an ingredient that might be used or about what sides you could substitute, it's okay to do it and most times they should be willing to accommodate you. Just because you're eating out doesn't mean you throw all your health concerns out the window. Yesterday, I subbed sauteed carrots for beans and rice on my chicken verde dish. Guess what? They were completely fine with it (it might have cost an extra buck or two...I didn't look at the bill) and those carrots were freaking delicious. And I felt really good knowing I made the better choice.

6) Food will either make you more healthy or less healthy. This is a concept from the book that has really helped me stay on track. This focus on health not only helps me make good choices and stay compliant, but it also has helped me when I've looked in the mirror and thought I didn't look any different, or when I've been tempted to step on the scale. It's not about weight loss or a number on a scale, but about health. Yes, eating this way will help me lose fat. It will change my body composition. But most importantly, it will make me the healthiest possible person I can be. It will prevent disease like diabetes, which runs in my family. Eating this way along with a good exercise regimen, stress management, and sleeping will benefit me more than choosing not to eat this way. And that's what I will continue to remind myself of as a I wrap up my Whole30 and venture back to "the real world."

There's probably more, but that's what came to mind as I wrote this. I'm looking forward to the next 8 days and beyond. With 2 triathlons and a national volleyball tournament in the near future, I'm ready to use what I've learned to seriously rock this spring and summer.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Day 17!

I just realized that I haven't really posted anything since Day 9. Yikes! Where has the time gone? Don't worry, I have NOT fallen off the wagon. Quite the opposite actually. I'm on day 17 of my first (but certainly not my last) Whole30. This thing is great. It's exactly what I needed, and I'm already reaping the benefits. I can see a definite change in my body comp, my clothes are fitting better (and looser) and I'm wearing some things that just a month ago were too tight. I don't feel deprived, and the things I miss most are cheese and wine and Greek yogurt (Fage, full that stuff). But that's okay, because I'm getting quality food from other things, and even been nailing my food prep, for the most part. I can't believe how fast the last 17 days have gone by! I expect the next 13 to go just as quickly...I'm even busier this week than I was last since I'm back to tutoring. It's all good, though, I like being busy, and it's a lot easier now having a full plate with all my new-found energy.

So, just wanted to post a quick update. Honestly, the hardest thing has been keeping off the scale! haha, but I keep reminding myself that I want that moment, at the end of 30 days, where I can see how this has paid off (in addition to the energy boost, sleeping better, improved athletic performance, faster recovery time, and eating great food!).

That's all for now, folks!