Paleo Update: Last Days

Okay, so 57 days ago I signed up on the whim for the Whole Life Challenge at the urging of my co-workers. I hemmed and hawed and totally didn’t want to do it. Paleo was for nutcases who liked to talk about cavemen, right? And had an unhealthy obsession with coconut, isn’t that correct?

Yes, and no.

57 days later, I’ve lost a little over 8 lbs (it’s hard to tell this week if I’ve lost another 2 lbs because I’m bloated…thanks Mother Nature!). I can fit in my clothes better and one pair of pants that I couldn’t fit over my hips now fit me well.

Every few weeks, I would wake up earlier until now I’m up at 6:30 a.m. (I’m a night owl, so for me this is HUGE. I’m talking epic.).

That’s all good, said and done, but here’s the real exciting stuff:

1) Last month I got my first period since August 2013. Husband and I didn’t know what to do with ourselves we were so excited.

2) I used to suffer from aches and pains thanks to joint inflammation. Not so much now. As a matter of fact, one weekend I ‘cheated’ and ate a bunch of dairy (and a short stack of double blueberry pancakes at I-Hop). The following Monday I felt like I had the flu, my joints ached that bad. A week of continued clean eating and I was right as rain again. So Paleo has taught me that there is such a thing as inflammatory foods.

3) I’ve learned that it’s not hard to eat healthy and stay under your calorie limit. As a matter of fact, I’ve stopped calorie counting because as long as I was eating fruits, vegetables, nuts and lean protein, I was always hitting 1200-1500 calories a day.

4) My workouts have gotten easier. And I tried jogging again, no shin pain! Awesomesauce.

5) I have an arsenal of Crockpot recipes to refer to now for easy cooking at night. But even if I don’t cook, I know what I can eat at the grocery store and at restaurants. My personal motto is ‘No Bread, No Booze, No Sugar.’ Of course, Paleo is much more than that, but it’s an easy mantra for me to chant when my husband decides he wants to eat McDonald’s at 9:00 at night.

6) Planning is half of the puzzle for good eating habits. The other half is knowing what to eat when you find yourself short on time or out on the road with oops, no snacks (as I often end up).

7) Organic fruit tastes a lot better than regular fruit.

All in all, I loved the Whole Life Challenge. I’m kind of competitive, so it was fun to have my co-workers around me compete to see who would get the highest score. And out of all of the ‘seasoned vets’ that started with me, I’m the only one left standing. Wooo-hoo!

I’d like to continue eating Paleo because I feel so good. I’d also like to continue learning about nutrition. But more importantly, I want to learn some new recipes! Who knew cooking via Crockpot was so much fun??

I encourage all of my readers to check it out and see if you’d like to try it yourself. It’s worth it! 

Paleo, Paleo

Today is day 3 of Paleo and I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck.

On day 1, I ‘mostly’ stuck to the Paleo diet, although I had a small bag of chips whilst waiting for my husband to cook a very late dinner. No big, I’ll just subtract a point (I’m doing the Whole Life Challenge) and be on my merry way.

Yesterday was day 2, and I ate 100% Paleo. I bottomed out at 1156 calories, so I was only 40 shy of the healthy 1200. No big, I wasn’t hungry when I went to bed and wasn’t starving when I woke up this morning.

Today I had three boiled eggs for breakfast, an apple for a snack, 3 oz. of baked chicken, a 1/2 cup of mixed veggies and a sweet potato (plain). And I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck. My head hurts, I can’t focus on the computer screen (so dizzy…..), and I’m really tired. In the past, I would carb overload so that I would (eventually) feel better, but not today. I have a lot of my co-workers doing it right along with me and they’re offering a lot of support. It’s actually what’s keeping me away from scarfing down two tubs of ice cream right now.

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I’m determined to do this, not because of my health (which may or may not improve…we shall see), but because I never stick to anything. And honestly, it’s not like I can’t have carbs…I can have brown rice and quinoa, and root veggies. I can eat A LOT of things,  it’s a matter of me going out and getting them.

So it’s not hard on paper. It’s not terribly restrictive. I’m eating healthy, taking a multivitamin (in my case, a prenatal) and attempting to move 10 minutes every day. Easy. Right?

This Paleo challenge is all about testing my resolve. Can she last 8 weeks? We shall see.

Post from the Past: From Gyne’s Lips to God’s Ears

This is a post I wrote for another site in 2011 when I went to the first GYN and was told I didn’t have PCOS (obviously they were wrong…hindsight is a bitch, you know?). It’s one of my favorite posts and I thought it’d be fun to share with you. ;) 

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Today was stirrups day. As some of you already know, I was diagnosed with PCOS, and that requires an official visit.  My appointment was at 11:15  in the morning and I scurried in the office at 11:10. The receptionist was blathering on the phone to some idiot doctor who sounded like he didn’t know his liver from his ass, and didn’t even bother up to acknowledge that I was standing there.

What ever happened to good ole fashioned customer service?!

I finally interrupt with a loud, “Excuse me, my appointment’s at 11:15, is there anything I need to do?” She looked up startled and mouthed I needed to talk to her before telling the idiot on the phone, “No. Uh-huh. No, I can finish the call.”

Ugh. I gave her my best angry Black woman look before proceeding to huff and puff while she took her sweet time. Once I was checked in and placed into my room, a small Chinese woman who looked about my age walked in.

“Hi,” she said, extending her hand. “I’ll be in here with the doctor as he exams you.”

“Great,” I muttered. Another person in my pants. What fun.

She giggled. “Okay, why are you here today?”

I rolled my eyes. “Well, besides the huge hemorrhoids…” I paused when she gave an alarmed look and grinned. “Just kidding. Seriously, I’m fat,  got tons of body hair and a shit ton of acne. I’m basically turning into a hormonal ape.”

She laughed again and stood up to leave. “Well, let me get the doctor and we’ll be right in with you.”

I nodded and started playing with the instruments lined up on the wall. Hell, for what I was paying for this visit, if I wanted to play Operation with one of the sickly in the next room over I should have been able to.  My mother had warned me that the doctor looked like a “Peruvian Ray Romano”. When he walked in, I’ll be damned if she wasn’t right.

“Hi,” he said, shaking my hand. “So, you’ve got some problems with your periods?”

I gave him a pointed look. No need to go down hemorrhoid lane again. He ignored me and kept talking.

“Okay, well the good news is that all the symptoms that you’re experiencing are normal. Some times we want our body to be perfect and…they’re just not.” I nodded like a bobble head thing. Uh-huh, Uh-huh. Get to the point…

“You said you just recently got off the pill?”, he asked. “Why?”

I told him the pill had caused severe depression, but even worse, libido loss. “I just didn’t want to have sex!”

He grinned. “But then again, what woman does?” We both looked at each other and laughed. I was starting to like this doctor. He pulled on his gloves and told me to spread ‘em. The little Chinese intern was buzzing around, trying to get a good look.

“Mmm-hmm. Mmm-hmm.”

“See any village people down there?” I asked and tried to look.

“Nope,” he said, moving over so the intern could look. “But my intern here paid me five dollars to let her do this!”

“What?” I exclaimed. I peered at her. “You didn’t even get a free meal for it!”

The doctor agreed. “Yeah, back in my day, they gave the women $100 to let doctors examine them.”

I sighed. “Well, this is just great. I’m ass up in stirrups, the intern didn’t get a free meal for it, and I don’t get anything.”

They both laughed.

“OUCH!” I almost came off the table. “That hurts!”

“I see..”

I’ll spare you the nitty gritty details, but it turns out I have some issues with certain lady parts (no, not an STD).

“You’re going to have to have physical therapy.” He said, taking off his gloves.

I frowned. “Wait, for my vag?

He nodded. “Yep. But if it makes you feel any better, Thursday is  free anal probing for all patients!”

I laughed again. This guy was the Peruvian Ray Romano! He gave me all the gory details about what me and my lower half had coming and then gave good news:

“You might not have PCOS. We’ll need lab work to confirm, but you don’t have all the symptoms.”

I must have looked like I could have jumped out of the stir ups and kissed him because he took a step back. No PCOS?! I was grinning so hard my dimples hurt.

So! 1 hour and a lot of anal probing later, I was in a very good mood.

While checking out, I told the receptionist, “Goodness. After all that, I feel like I need a cigarette or something.”

She winked. “Tell me about. I’ll make sure they take you out to dinner next time.”

I’m pretty sure that was the best doctor visit I’ve had for a long time. And as weird as this is to say, I can’t wait to go back….

Good night folks.

Changing

Me enjoying the beautiful California weather.

In December 2011, I decided to put my writings on hold (including blogging) to focus on eating healthy and changing my lifestyle habits that contribute to my current weight.

Fast food almost every day for every meal? Out the window. My re-emerging soda habit? Kicked. Couch potato? In the last 3 months, I’ve went hiking, I walk almost 2 miles 3-4 times a week, and I’m currently doing SparkPeople’s 28 Day Bootcamp DVD. In the three months I’ve been away, I have learned how to listen (I mean really, reeeeallly listen!) to my body when I’m hungry. I recognize how certain foods make me sleepy, tired, and feel like crap. I have started calorie-counting, and I am slowly but surely learning how to cook healthy and delicious meals.

All of that took my full energy. When I started this blog, I listed my goals, but I didn’t realize at the time that I would need to focus on my health 1000% before any of my other goals would be achievable. I tried to dive in feet first, and ended up being overworked, stressed, and tired. On top of all of that, I was eating crappy. I was slowly but surely losing my mind.

Not writing, not blogging, and not plotting for my freelance business was tough. Really tough. I’m a workaholic, and an overachiever, so to put my work on hold while I took care of myself was misery the first month.

But by the time January rolled around, I was feeling good. I was still accomplishing things, but for my health, not my wallet. My mind cleared. My outlook on life cleared. I started to read books for relaxation again, meditating, and working on my spiritual well being. It felt good.

So! Now I’m back. I have decided to take it slow with writing. Currently, I plan on writing with my post-NaNoWriMo writing group every Sunday. Once I’m done with my book, I’ll focus on the next step. From now on, it’s step by step, not leap by leap. :)

Appreciating Aunt Flo

Warning: Sorry boys, this post is geared towards women!

She comes every month. She’s a sign of a maturing female body. And she’s a siren when the body is doing something out of ordinary behind the scenes.

Y’all know what I’m talking about. She’s your period.

Today, I was feeling crummy. I was cramping, slightly feverish, and tired. I also had a strong craving for brownies. I was dealing with the flo.

But with all the years of having my period, I’ve never cursed it. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I love when it shows up. And I’m ready to put out an APB when it doesn’t.

My period gave me warning signs that sent me to the doctor, only to find I had a condition that puts me at a greater risk for ovarian cancer. I found out I might have trouble conceiving.

Because of her, my doctor and I are paying close attention to my health. And I am eternally grateful.

You guys know how I feel about my body. I like to think I am slowly building habits that are helping me take care of her, like being more conscientious of what I’m putting in myself, how much I’m moving, and how much stress I’m carrying.

I’m not pretending to be perfect–cause I’m not. But I am trying to change in a healthier direction.

So what does that have to do with you?

Today, on a whim I googled “cold symptoms during period”. What I came up with is women who had mild to severe PMS symptoms wondering how to get them to stop.

The first thought I had was, “Slow down or deal with it.” I found it interesting we were looking for a quick and easy fix to something that the body is supposed to do.  In this fast pace society, women don’t have time to slow down. But when your body is doing its monthly maintenance, a greater force is working against and for you. The body’s main purpose is to function as efficiently as possible. It gives a damn about work, that dinner date, or that appointment you need to make. And when you don’t take heed of what it’s saying to you, it’ll shut down-sometimes permanently.

So, what I’d like for you is to take a moment during your busy day today to ponder:

What has your body said to you lately? Ladies, is your Aunt Flo coming to town singing the right tune? And have you taken the time to appreciate her?

Think about it.

Food for Thought

I want to start treating my body as a temple.

There. I said it.

The fact of the matter is I’m too practical and rational to be doing otherwise.

Taking care of your body is extremely important. Courtesy of yogaworldtours.com.

Having things “in order” is important to me in all aspects of my life. So why not my health? Can you prevent sickness? Maybe or maybe not. The point is arming yourself with what you need to get through it.

My body is an amazing mechanism and I’ve been treating it like crap. Its time to start loving myself. Last time, I talked about finding spiritual balance. That’s part of loving your body too. Stress, worry, anxiety…all can bring on unwanted disease. Having a spiritual outlet can help.

So what does this mean? I’m starting a boot camp revamp. I want to move a little more, meditate a little more, and eat a little cleaner. Something just to show my body I appreciate her.

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On a NaNoWriMo note:

3 days until the writing begins! I’m stoked. I have a story idea, today I’ll be writing a janky quick outline and bam! I’ll starting writing first thing November 1st.

For all those writers out there, have you participated in NaNoWriMo before? How do you get yourself organized?

I’m trying a different approach: I’ll be using a spreadsheet to track my outline points and the number of words in each point. Since I’m motivated by visuals, seeing a word count add up will definitely help me.

And things I have learned since the last time I tried NaNoWriMo:

1) The story doesn’t have to make sense. You just write to meet the word count and then start worrying about what the heck you wrote after Nov. 30.

2) You should be having fun. There’s nothing as unmotivating as making yourself do something you don’t want to do. If I stop having fun during this process, I’ll throw in the towel and start again next year. No stress.

3) Get out and write at write-ins. Being social helps keep you motivated and you might make some great connections. Who knows? Your future best friend might be at that Starbucks frantically typing away.

I’ll be sure to post updates as I start chipping away at my 50,000 word challenge!