Holiday Treats Come Early

One of my coworkers walked past my desk today with two boxes on her way to the lunch room. “There’s pie,” she said as she passed by. Pumpkin and apple. I have no idea what it was for but it looked delicious.

And then our conference rooms were overbooked and not appropriately scheduled which meant our scheduled 2pm (you know, that time when you really start to hit that post-lunch wall and count down the seconds to closing time) was moved from a perfectly sterile lobby conference room to the lunch room. Our VP of Ops was finishing a plate when we walked in.

I just finished my 2nd round of Whole30 this week (read: “yesterday”). And while I definitely did a better job with reintroduction this time around, I still managed to sip a paper Dixie Cup worth of champagne on the same day as my gluten reintroduction. And okay, I did have a sip of IPA the day after gluten reintroduction at a Lions game too. And wouldn’t you know it? Something didn’t quite sit right. By Whole30 standards, I still didn’t get this reintroduction thing quite right (why must I continue to self-sabotage?) but I definitely learned some lessons.

Pie before the holidays? Holiday treats come early, folks! I can just see the writing on the wall. Suddenly Melissa Hartwig’s “Is it worth it?” becomes “Why not?” and the decision is made before I even ask the question. I’m elbow deep in stuffing, marshmallow sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pie with whipped cream, washing it down with copious amounts of red wine and yes, I’ll take a side of ice cream to choke down the pie crust that I’ve never ever liked in. my. entire. life. but continue to polish off of plates because it’s there; thank you.

Then the writing on that wall goes from bright pink and bubbly, sugary sweet, to black and jagged. I’m weighted by remorse. And perpetual tiredness. And irritability. And sore joints. And elevated stomach issues. And, well, weight.

Yeah, about that…I’ve lost 20 lbs since May.

I know know it’s not about the weight (I turned to Whole30 to address health issues that allergy testing and blood work couldn’t shed light on), but I need to keep saying that out loud; it helps me remember where I was and what choices I made to get to today. And really, I say it so my decisions make more sense to the people around me. Because very few people will understand ordering a dry baked potato but so many of us can shake our heads “yes” at the thought of getting back to our fighting weight.

My advice to you? Keep that reminder in front of you. Post it somewhere publicly, if you have to. But don’t eat the pie before the holidays.*

*Disclaimer: That is, of course, unless you responded to “Is it worth it?” with a true and emphatic “Yes!” (If that’s the case, I am judging you for deeming a superstore pie as worth it but YOU DO YOU, BOO.)

Life has been a little hectic lately.

Life has been a little hectic lately. In the last 7 weeks or so, I have worked in inordinate amount of overtime. Do you still call it overtime when you’re a salaried employee? Not just a few late nights here and there or a few early meetings but multiple days’ worth of time. Leading up to our project launch, I was in the office for a 14 hour Saturday backed up to a 17 hour Sunday and back in by 7:30am on Monday (but only because I slept through the 6:00am scheduled start).

I have never before and hope to never again experience the kind of exhausted, not-enough-eye-drops-in-the-world, mental/physical/emotion strain of that kind of timeline for a project launch. Take it from me, you should never attempt to launch before you’ve completed your mock launch activities.

But my project team and I did it. We’d been preparing for an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software implementation. We were already using a previous version of the same software but instead of looking at this change as an upgrade, we pulled out all of the data that had been erroneously entered over the past several years and sifted it out. We remapped table keys. Restructured business processes. Rewrote code and reports and work instructions. And despite a few misses that we’ve worked to clean up over the last two weeks, this project has been considered an overall organizational success!

But can we zoom out a little?

I’m exhausted. Still, almost two weeks later. My husband, who pulled all of the weight of family life during this period, is now fighting off his first illness of Autumn. My house is full of tiny fruit flies from a misplaced can that wasn’t properly recycled during my usual cleaning routine because, well, there was no routine. I worked out this past Saturday (taking it slow) and it nearly killed me. Fast forward half a week and I pulled a muscle playing with my daughter; my body is wrecked. And my beautiful little girl wants “Momma, Mom, Mommy, Mom, Momma. Did you hear me calling you, Mom?”

We’re all a little drained from the chaos. And to be honest, there’s no way we all would’ve made it without these things right here:

  • My Tribe
    • Friends who continue to pour into me when I go dark. Friends who continue to text or Snap without a response. Friends who send flowers to work for encouragement.
  • My Husband
    • Who allowed our roles not just to flip flop, but to completely shift onto him. Who put his career behind mine for a period. Who bit his tongue – a lot. And who continued to encourage me even if he felt like I should be waving the white flag.
  • God
    • For putting those people in my life. For continually tapping me on the shoulder with scripture or songs about being a light or a door for others to experience his goodness. For keeping me from completely morphing into a troll at the workplace.
  • Whole30
    • For categorically denying my desire to stress eat. For minimizing the impact of skipped meals, small meals, or late meals on my system. For giving me the energy that I needed to make it through a 17 hour shift at all, let alone without getting sick immediately following. For giving me something else to commit to when the project felt all consuming. For teaching me ways to cope without food.

So really, this post is a gratitude post for those things that kept me going. At work, we passed the project launch, cleaned up the few misses, and we’ve already started sliding back to normal. But me? I’m changed. I’m exhausted and more experienced and more filled with gratitude. It took overtime and high stress and looming deadlines to remind me that my focus is really on people, and that includes me.

Thank you, tribe and Freddy, and God, and Whole30, for shaping me during this time. For showing me grace. And for teaching me about my priorities and the balance that leads me to my best me.

Without you, I am a lesser me.

Whole30: Day 30

Today is my 30th day of Whole30! I cannot believe the last 30 days have gone by so quickly.

In the last 30 days, I have gone without added sugars, dairy, legumes, alcohol, or grains. I’d love to boast a perfect record but I discovered some missteps along the way, mainly after I had already eaten the offending food. I also allowed myself some cheats in the form of dried fruit and veggie chips which met the Whole30 ingredient criteria but failed in the strictest sense of Whole30 for completely eliminating foods that facilitate over consumption.

Here’s what I think:

  • It’s not impossible.
  • It does require a lot of planning.
    • Day Designer has an awesome printable for meal planning that kept me organized. Thank you, guys!
    • My husband took over planning for a bit but I couldn’t have made it without breakfasts, lunches, and dinners written out next to the grocery list for the week! If you’re not a chef, don’t try to wing recipes. Research and plan. Trust me on this.
  • You won’t miss X nearly as much as you think you will.
    • Beer on a hot summer day?
      • Yeah, it sounds good. But I’ve gotten pretty crafty with sparkling water and none of the bloat!
    • Chips and salsa?
      • This one is a game changer. I am a tortilla chip addict. I consume them at such an alarming rate that my husband started to buy two bags when he’d go shopping so he could have some (we call that behavior enabling, but that’s a story for another day!).
      • As of this evening, I have gone t-h-i-r-t-y days without tortilla chips. You know what I realized? Being addicted isn’t really that funny. If I eat one, I want one hundred and one! I have no control and, even worse, that’s by design. The food industry designs processed food to be addictive.
  • Plan some Netflix food documentary binges through the process. They’ll reinforce your decision to do what you’re doing.
  • Don’t try to force your kids to eat Whole30 with you. Introduce some new recipes but don’t make your experience miserable because you’re making your kids miserable.
  • You might just find that energy you’ve craved.
    • I’ve been staying up later and later as I’ve been going through this process. The wise voice inside says I should’ve been holding steady to my bedtime to become a morning person but the fact of the matter is, I’m getting more hours in the day regardless of what time I’m getting them!
  • You will probably lose weight.
    • I lost 9 lbs. I’ve been comfortable wearing pants that were busting at the seams. I got to pull out a pair of pants from the back of the drawer that were hopeless. I can see definition in my arms again (which is funny because while I’ve been focusing on food, I’ve been putting zero energy into exercise).

Closing thoughts?

You should do it if there isn’t a medical reason that you shouldn’t. Outside of generally being healthier and more aware of what I’m putting in my body, I feel like this huge burden has been lifted from me. Food can pull at you. It calls to you and then shames you from your changing body. Or it can, if you’ve got too much processed food in your diet. Cut it out and replace it with wholesomeness. Your body and your mind will thank you.

Whole30 Update: Day 21

I am less than ten days away from completing the Whole30 program and I’ve got to say, I’m nervous. I’m nervous because I love it and have done so well with this program. There’s something so simple about drawing hard lines about what you will and won’t put into your body.

I started this particular “Year of 30” challenge at the best possible time too. My CFO and HR Manager just finished the program so the office is somewhat familiar with the gig. The two have been incredibly supportive and everyone else doesn’t care, is afraid to mention anything and get trapped in a 30 minute dialogue about it with me, or has some pretty encouraging things to say.

Oh, and one of my best girlfriends just taught me how to make Whole30 compliant ranch. Yum. It’s so right and it feels so wrong…

I’m 9 days out and I’m afraid of losing those hard do-and-don’t lines. I’m worried that I won’t really know if something is causing inflammation and it will become part of my life again. I’m worried because it’s so easy to make concessions here and there until they’re everywhere.

Right now, I feel good.

I was starting to drag this weekend and I was feeling pretty down about getting this far into the program and not having reliable energy until I happened to look at the clock one night.

My bedtime has been 9:00pm for a long time; 9:30pm at the latest. I was exhausted. If I pushed myself, I woke up sick without fail. A late night? A sore throat. Last year, after 6 years of being tired, I finally went in for allergy tests but they all came back negative. I could not stand the thought of spending my 30s as tired as I had spent my mid-to-late twenties.

But this past week I’ve been shutting off around 11:00pm. I’m tired in the mornings but I’m not delirious and even if I was, I’m going to bed two hours after my usual bedtime. (I agree with you if you’re thinking that’s probably not the best way to manage my new found energy but you need to realize that this is new to me!)

Anyway, if anyone has experience with reintroduction or holding tight to some rules after Whole30, I would be so appreciative to hear from you. What worked? What didn’t? What setbacks did you not see coming? How are you succeeding today?

A Mile A Day: Day 25-28

I always say that anyone can do anything* for 30 days but 30 days really is a long time to do the same thing and continue finding interest in it. Or at least continue to find interest writing about it. I imagine it’s the same for reading so I’m going to start condensing the last bit of this 30 journey.

Day 25, Thursday:

I told my husband that I wasn’t going to walk and he told me I was. He’s chosen to be very supportive of my mile-a-day challenge where he could have been passive or irritated. And there were days that a passive or irritated husband would be entirely enough to dissuade me from walking. Today was one of them. So thank you, Freddy! Your insistence has refueled my persistence.

Day 26, Friday:

This is a total cop out but I promise you I got well over a mile today! In a throw-care-to-the-wind decision, I went left when I should’ve gone right after my haircut. Out of nowhere appeared Tanger Outlet mall! It’s not that it jumped right out at me, of course, but that the developers chose a more remote location. I completely meant to be there.

I spent about three hours walking the outdoor mall. I bought things. Things I needed. Things my daughter needed. Things I wanted. It was delightful! It’s been a while since I have been able to walk in and out of clothing stores with the sole question “Do I like this?” between me and an item of clothing.

I’m not trying to provide any false advertising but after over seven days of Whole30, I’m feeling good. My body is feeling good. Which meant I didn’t have to judge myself for the sizes I tried on and I was surprised to see an old size come back into play for certain cuts at certain stores. And most importantly, I did not ask “Do I like myself in this?”

The physical distance of a mile today feels like a cop out but the emotional mile was incredible!

Day 27, Saturday:

Today was my perfect day.

I was adamant that we head to a park to bike though I didn’t say why. After biking our mile, I ran to the truck to grab a tote filled with apples, carrots, cucumbers, nuts, almond butter, dried fruits, and waters. In the bag next to to the tote was a zipped up picnic blanket, perfect for a spot on the grass.

After our picnic lunch, Freddy and I watched our three year old athlete scale the side of a climbing structure in the park. She climbed robes with arms and legs and crawled across rocks and walked 90-some steps up to the top of a corn crib and back.

CornCrib_201705

Look at her face! She is so happy. I love these kind of memories. These are the same ones I hold onto from my youth. Family together outdoors. It’s so right.

Day 28, Sunday:

The whole family walked together tonight and while Freddy and I may regret naively stretching Emma’s bedtime (We do. We definitely do regret that), the walk was so nice. Freddy and I even found ourselves holding hands, swinging them back and forth. *sigh*

 

 

 

*anything in this particular case is anything that a person has chosen to do that may cause discomfort associated with a positive outcome

A Mile A Day: Day 18

I missed a day.

My husband was traveling and due to a communication error, I planned to walk after he got home at what I thought would be 8:00pm. He got home around 9:30 or so – after the sun had set.

I live in a great neighborhood but we don’t have street lights or sidewalks and my walk takes me away from places where I would seen. I could have easily grabbed a flashlight, my reflective gear, and my dog – but I didn’t. I had a funny feeling and I just listened to it.

I’ve been in the starting stages of a cold or allergies or Whole30 flu so maybe that was my funny feeling… but maybe it wasn’t. And after taking out some misplaced frustration toward Freddy, I’ve decided that it’s okay to miss days when intention tells you that you’ll do something and unforeseen obstacles tell you that you won’t.

That’s living, isn’t it?

But today? I’m getting my mile. And I’m adding to it. My new, perfectly-fitted bike arrived last night and I aim to take it for a spin!

A Mile A Day: Day 17

I have no idea whether it’s Day 2 of Whole30 or the mom who came in behind me this week at daycare simultaneously dripping and sniffing snot, but I am feeling whooped today.

The weather isn’t helping matters either. “Unseasonably warm” would not paint a clear enough picture for you. It’s HOT. We’re desperately running all fans on high to stave off air conditioning and a closed up house. But we’re sluggish.

Even so, Winston and I got in our mile. He met a new friend. A beautiful black lab and young but not quite a puppy. I didn’t bother timing it because I knew before we started it would be slow.

And so it was.

A Mile A Day: Day 14

I’m playing catch up after this amazing weekend!

Tonight’s mile was a run/walk to get back in time to tuck my sweet babe into bed.

It was preceded by a mother’s day brunch surrounded by my husband, father, brother-in-law, and three of the most important mothers in my life: my mother, mother-in-law, and sister.

My girlfriend came over to prep for my next adventure: Whole30 starting this Tuesday, on May 16th. We shopped for ingredients and made a fairly modest mess in my kitchen using my brand-new-all-the-bells-and-whistles food processor! What a breeze prep was with that thing! I’m obsessed.

And now I am catching up and winding down, looking forward to what this week will bring!

Happy Mother’s Day