An almost long lost friend…

I’m signing in to teambeachbody and BOD for the first time in a loooooooong time – feels long, like a month I guess? Well except for last Wednesday when I was given the homework of “do something for yourself” and all I could come up with is working out. Feeling a little nervous. Almost like you’re meeting up with a good friend who you haven’t seen in awhile. Will they be different? Will you be different? Will the expectations of each other be the same?

There’s a lot of vulnerability involved in going back to your routine. I can feel the loss of muscle and definition in my body (my legs especially). My butt is even flatter! I never thought that I would rue the friggin day that my butt got flatter (cause damn, this baby got back yo). I can also feel the mental wavering. The insecurities of yore. The questions with no answers. The procrastination. All those little barriers you put up YOURSELF. It’s hard.

I’m going to go and look at myself in the mirror – to find ONE thing that is the same. One thing I can focus on to get me past the fear. This is something that helped me on return from vacation. Looking at my pictures, where I thought I had derailed my last 6 months of success, only to still see my collarbones. Those collarbones reassured me that nothing had truly changed. The work still showed. It was a reminder that the work HAPPENED. I had done it. I had succeeded. Because sometimes it’s hard to remember when you’ve been off for a bit. But I did it. And there was proof. Then I will hit play.

Also, I’m doing Insanity Max 30 – is anyone reaaaaaaallly gonna blame me for some fear and procrastination? No, I didn’t think so 😉

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Who am I?

These past 6 months have been life changing. I have changed my habits, my mindset, my confidence, my image – everything. I have had people comment, “omg, who are you??” – always jokingly, but like, omg, who are you and what have you don’t with the “regular” Meighan.

I don’t know to be honest. Is that normal? Is it normal to be on this journey and change so much that you don’t even recognize yourself? It has to be. Change is change. By the very definition of the word I wouldn’t be the same once I changed. Like, come on.

So where does that leave me then? I’m scared to go back to the “old” me – but is it all parts of that old me? Just some parts? Aren’t there parts of the old me that were pretty darn awesome that should be kept? Have I gone through a complete metamorphasis??

I don’t really know how to reconcile the two. Sometimes I feel like I’m in a cult, or spouting hypocritical nonsense when I talk about fitness or nutrition. This is the person who, just a couple of months ago, had no problem feverishly planning out a burger and poutine extravaganza and braving a bloody snow storm to get it. Some habits had already changed, I will admit that. I used to plan Chinese or pizza nights when my bf was out of town/country – I would plan it into my week, obsess over how amazing it was going to be, talk about it to my friends as if it were an event. I stopped doing that. I stopped giving food that much power. I very rarely plan out non-healthy food (can’t say I don’t plan out food – one of my favourite things to do is meal plan, lol). I haven’t had a pizza night in forever. I did plan out ribfest, but that was time sensitive (only around for one weekend).

Basically I don’t feel like myself when talking about how I workout or how I eat. People treat me differently. Especially around food. They start acting like I’m judging them for their choices. FYI, I don’t give a shit what someone else eats. So now I’m being made to feel bad because I am making a choice that doesn’t involve unhealthy food?? Or they’ve made comments “omg, you’re judging me for this cookie aren’t you?” Uh, no. Cause it really and truly doesn’t matter to me what YOU eat. It matters to me what I eat. Sigh.

Or, “omg, you get up at 5 am to workout, you’re crazy!” Ya, well, to me, you’re crazy for actually wanting to go to a music festival and camp with a thousand other people with your two small children. Like, ugh. Hell on earth to me.

There is also a part of me that really and truly wonders, is this for keeps? Are the changes real? Will they stick? Will I continue to enjoy living this way and basically continue indefinitely? Or, will it stop? Will everything slowly change back? Will I think it’s enough and stop, even though I know maintenance is important.

It’s scary. I’ve never been here before. I don’t have any experience that tells me things will be successful. I have zero evidence. The only thing I can do is trust myself, trust the process, and believe that in the end, it will all work out. Shaun T’s catch phrase is “trust and believe” and it’s something that I really need to put faith in right now. We all know that it’s easier to believe a negative versus a positive. It’s easier to believe a put down versus a compliment. I have to actually work harder to remain constant and just trust the process and journey I am in. Frankly, that’s just annoying. But I suppose all this growth is a good thing.

 

Ditching the guilt

I’ve been trying to get healthier and lose weight for a long time. Like 10 years. I’ve gone through so many attempts, so many ups and downs, and at the bottom of it all, I truly believe the key to success is ditching the black and white mentality of “good” vs. “bad” that seems to attach itself to people when they try to exercise and eat right.

I belong, and have belonged, to a number of accountability groups and chat forums. I’ve been on Weight Watchers for years, and their fairly recent addition of a Connect portion in their app (basically FB for Weight Watchers), has really brought the trouble with “good” vs. “bad” right up to the forefront. It’s not just Weight Watchers. It’s any accountability forum I’ve been on.

It goes like this:

Oh my god, I’m soooooooo bad, I had pizza and ice cream last night! But don’t worry, I am doubling up my workouts and eating only salad for the next 3 days to combat it!

Then people, sometimes hundreds of people, respond with:

Oh I’m in the same boat! You’re not alone! You got this! Ya, I cheated sooooo hard yesterday! Just gotta get back on track! Re-set! etc.

Ok, how about this? How about no re-set? How about no “getting back on track” because eating pizza and ice cream isn’t getting “off-track” cause there ain’t no bloody track to get off of?

This is perhaps one of my biggest concerns/issues in my journey right now. And not to be a sanctimonious asshole, cause I’ve BEEN THERE! Many, many, many times. I have done the exact same rhetoric. I’ve posted the EXACT same messages and gotten the same exact words of “encouragement”. It’s only been in the last probably year and a half that my mind has shifted to something more real and forgiving and I truly believe, from the bottom of my little food addicted soul, that that is the key to any success I am having right now, or have had in the past 6 months to a year.

Long before I tried Whole30, I had been actively practicing mindfulness and positive thinking. Not positive thinking as in every situation has a sunny side – sometimes it doesn’t, and another pet peeve is expecting to be positive in every fucking situation. Sometimes it just sucks. Leave me alone. But, for the most part, transitioning into a more positive and grace-filled rhetoric with myself.

Which is why, if I eat Jack Astor’s loaded nachos, plus their cheesy garlic pan bread, plus dessert – I experience ZERO FUCKING GUILT. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

If I sleep in and miss my workout, and maybe don’t even get to it that night when I get home, I experience ZERO FUCKING GUILT. Nothing. No shame. No need to pull out the whipping belt and give myself a good lashing. Nothing.

BUT, you may be asking – how do you not derail completely?? How do you still have success at getting stronger and losing weight??

Because I honestly do not believe I am on any sort of “track” to be derailed from. There are decisions in life, and they are made by me. No one can make my decisions for me. They can sway me, sure, but in the end, that decision is all mine. And I own it. I honour my decisions. “Good” or “bad” (though I don’t like categorizing them).

In practicing mindfulness, I have changed how I make decisions. So, in our examples above, let’s start with Jack Astors (gahhhh, their nachos, amazeballs) – there had to have been a whole process leading up to eating those nachos. What was the rest of my week like? Why did I want them? Did I want them because work sucked and the bf is being an ass and otherwise my emotional state is somewhere circling the sewage drain? Or did I want them just because, well their nachos are fucking amazing, and in that moment of time they hit all the points on my personal “worth it” metre?

If it’s option A, there are consequences to eating them. Because letting those emotions get the best of me, that’s not mindfulness. UNLESS, I fully recognize that my day and week was shit, and gooey cheese and guacamole is really what I want at that time. But I’ve still done the WORK in unpacking why I’m eating them. If I eat them for emotional reasons, I own it. I go through the feelings associated with that choice, and maybe I won’t make the same choice the next time.

If it’s option B – go forth dear friend and enjoy! Fucking ENJOY them! Relish in the texture and flavour. They are not a REWARD for your good week. They are just nachos, and you are enjoying them. End of story.

But hear this – in both options it was a CHOICE. It was not a slip. It was not a cheat. Cheat implies you did something wrong. It implies you need punishment. Why would you put that connotation in your mind about food?? That’s not healthy. Same with off track, and derailed. One thing I learned about Whole30 that I really liked was this mentality about “slips” – there are none. You either chose to eat it, or you didn’t Boom. Mic drop. This has been so helpful in making me second guess some of my decisions and give me a healthier relationship with food.

There is no shame in wanting nachos. Or cake. Or really good ice cream. By allowing those words with negative meaning to be attached to your choices, you’re telling your mind that you are “bad” and it’s such a vicious cycle. We are human. We DESERVE to eat the good things, and to sleep in and miss a workout. Build in imperfections to your eating and exercising lifestyle and you will never feel like you “derailed” again. Cause a cycle never stops right? So it means you make a choice like nachos, but the next day you’re back to your regular pattern. No harm, no foul.

Here’s the kicker. Mindfulness is tough. It’s work. It’s far easier to say screw it and just eat those nachos without thinking. But that’s a huge disservice to yourself and your journey. You have to do the work in order for it to work. It will take time. Lots of time. You will make decisions you wish you hadn’t. But, as long as you learn from them, it does get easier.

So in the end, I wish more people would be kinder to themselves. I wish they would remove this “good” vs “bad” mentality from their thinking. It’s liberating, and for me, has made me much happier with my journey than I ever have been before. I have posted before at how much anger I experience (or experienced) in having to eat right and exercise all the time to deal with my obesity. Mindfulness has, for the large part, taken care of that. Because I no longer see what I am doing as punishment. I eat whatever I want, when I want. It’s just that “when I want” has changed, because I no longer give as much power to those less healthy choices. So I crave them less. Not forbidden? Well then, I don’t want it! The mind is fucked up yo 😉

For those who may still be thinking I’m a sanctimonious asshole, that’s cool 🙂 I get it. My reason for writing this post is to hopefully share what I have learned and maybe it can help someone. But I get that you have to be in the right space for it. Had I seen something like this a couple of years ago, I would have rolled my eyes and moved on. Ask my #rideordie – my positivity loving, silver lining in every cloud, the universe provides all for all, #rideordie – she has met more skepticism from me about this stuff than she probably deserves 🙂

So I get that this may not be for you right now. But hopefully it will be at some point. It was a game changer for me, and I can never imagine going back to how I felt before.

 

Inspiration

Inspiration comes in many, many forms. I was in a funk a couple of months ago and then got inspired by Whole30. This week I am getting inspiration every single day from doing #ShaunWeek and belonging to Shaun T’s private facebook group for the week’s challenge. An intimate group of just 1900 people! lol. But seriously, the stories these people post, omg, the feels. The feels alllll over the place. It’s motivating to see people from all walks of life go through the same stuff as you! And to just keep showing up, day after day, no matter what. That’s awesome.

Shaun T seems to have this ability to speak to people (through a screen no less) and provide this epic level of inspiration and motivation that I’ve rarely seen matched (maybe by Tony Robbins’ fans – have you met a Tony Robbins fan or seen his conventions? Holy lord. Puts Beliebers to shame). I have cried several times doing Shaun T workouts. That sounds awful. But it’s not “in pain” crying (well, not totally). It’s “omg I’ve pushed myself to the absolute max emotionally and physically” crying. I did it last week when I was in my Insanity Max 30 week of my hybrid calendar, and I did it twice (twice!) in my Pure Cardio 2 workout yesterday.

Let me describe yesterday. So, Shaun is putting out these workouts at midnight EST each day. So no advance notice. I get up and do the workout and it was haaaaaarrrrd. So hard. BUT – I noticed that I didn’t really, if I’m being totally honest, give it my all. I paused a lot. More than needed. I used the unfamiliarity of the moves to stand and watch way more than I should have. I finished, but I didn’t get that satisfaction aspect. It ate at me all day. So when I got home, I had a snack, some coffee (kinda psyching myself up), and did it again. This time I really paid attention to what I was doing, and what he was saying. And shit yo, that stuff is deep! It’s more than speaking to you physically. These workouts go so far beyond that and that’s what makes him so insanely popular.

Today I procrastinated HARD and got at my workout really late, but still did it. That’s what counts.

Shaun T is also giving all the people in this private FB group homework each day. One piece of homework is actually for the entire week, and it’s to think about 1) a successful moment in your workout, 2) a successful commitment in your day, and 3) what is your definition of sustainability. I created a Google form so I could easily track my submissions every day. Here’s what I have so far. Each one in each category is from one day, oldest to newest top –> down

Shaun Week

I think part of the reason why he is so popular is because of these types of activities. It’s not just food and exercise. You have to be holistic, and he nails it.

I’m having so many moments of revelation and it’s only been a few days. This, coupled with my decision to go Paleo, really has me noticing the drastic changes I have made, and am making. It makes me wonder a little bit about who I am, and how different this version is from previous ones. And I liked the previous ones! That’s what makes it kind of hard – will I still be me? Will I still recognize myself? It’s really hard to consolidate everything, and that can be frightening.

The homework from yesterday was to think about your “before the before” – what led you to your “before” picture? Because that’s a vital piece of learning. And I thought about it. I don’t have trauma or hugely significant things that have happened in my life. What led me to be overweight and unhealthy was standard. Predominantly a food addiction that led to disordered thinking and behaviour. Here it is below…

I don’t have, really, a before the before. Or the before is so long ago that it’s just repressed. Perhaps that’s what’s meant with “internal unbelief”?

I have not had any major life traumas. I have not had any spectacular failures. Things have been pretty even keel. So what is my before the before?

I hated exercise. I hated getting red and sweaty. I wrote research papers to get out of gym class in middle school and only gave in to high school gym because I refused to let a poor grade affect my transcripts. I was always overweight, but not super conscious of it. I knew I looked different from my friends – I wasn’t able to fit into the same clothes, and we certainly didn’t look the same. I would try working out (Tae bo!), but inevitably quit. I ate whatever I wanted to and rejected any attempts to curtail that.

My family, like many families, loved with food. Every single gathering was an extravaganza. We have some amazing cooks in the family. I have a food addiction that has created some disordered patterns that are still incredibly hard to shake. I created this mentality around food that it will somehow go away, that I’ll never get that food again. So I binged on it. I obsessed about food. Especially things that I didn’t receive very often (take out, restaurant food, etc. – I am from a very very small town on Vancouver Island, British Columbia – we didn’t eat out, ever). Over the years I built up this “scarcity” feeling around food, and it has followed me to this day (I live in Toronto – I am never going to run out of food here 😉 )

Through university I tried to workout and eat right, but I had zero clue what that meant. I had no idea how to change my habits. I joined a gym and got a personal trainer and went on a diet. An old fashioned, calorie restricting diet. I was basically eating poached eggs on one piece of light bread with some veggie sticks because the trainer cut out so many things from my diet that it was all I knew how to eat. I lost weight, sure. But I couldn’t keep it up.

By the time I hit grad school I was 195 pounds (I am 5 feet tall), and so insecure about my overall appearance. I was so uncomfortable in my skin – especially in public spaces like the subway or a bus, cause who wants to get squished by the fat person? Once I finished grad school I joined Weight Watchers and Curves and lost 40lbs. I kept that off for a long time. But then it’d creep up – I’d get into the 160s/170s and join Weight Watchers again. Join a gym again. Get a trainer again. A cycle of rinse and repeat for YEARS.

I hadn’t changed my mindset about food. I had so much anger toward having to eat right and exercise that I would talk myself into pizza or chinese food binges (I have routinely ordered over $60 worth of Chinese food just for myself…I didn’t eat it all in one sitting, but still). I was talking the talk – oh moderation this, and balance that, which was shit. I wasn’t balanced. I would deprive myself throughout the week and then go to friggin town on the weekend. I had been “good” you see, so I “deserved” it.

Cycle forward like 9 years, and as of December 2016 I was back up to 186. Very round. Very squishy. Working out, sort of, but no real commitment. Eventually, by the time I hit last December, I was starting to get a handle on what I really wanted and what I needed to do to get there. I began losing the guilt that comes along with making decisions that one doesn’t deem to be “good for you”, and owned the decisions that I made. I started really focusing on food I could make that wouldn’t create FOMO. I started really evaluating my patterns. Come January 2017 I hit the switch and have committed to myself 100% and have made huge gains in my mental and physical well being.

I’m terrified of the slide though. I am terrified of going back to old patterns. Why? Because I have zero evidence that I won’t. I have all the evidence in the world to show me that I will slide, and nothing to prove to me that I won’t. That’s some pretty powerful shit there. The amount of power that I need to forget that evidence? Sometimes it’s more than I can take. That’s where my struggle comes from now. And from that struggle I am learning every single day how to overcome pieces of that negative evidence.

What really changed me this time around was completing a cycle of Whole30 – it took away that super intense emotional pull for food. Had cravings, sure, but they weren’t obsessive, all encompassing cravings. These cravings were minor, and passed quickly. It helped me re-evaluate what I like, and how I see food. It helped me to basically “break up” with food and start to distance myself from the unhealthy obsession I had with it.

I am now focusing on me, and what I need – not to the detriment of others, but more to make sure that I am just as important. Even that takes strength and power some days, but now I am building an evidence bank that shows I can do it. And that’s pretty awesome.

That’s my before the before. There is a lot of fear in it – especially about sliding. But I am working every day to try and overcome that thinking, and to allow imperfections into my cycle. I think that is paramount. To not get beaten down by your choices, or when life happens and things are less than ideal.

This whole week has been a big inspiration fest and I am so, so, so glad that I did it. Because on days that I wanted to quit (ab day, looking at you), the group and the energy from it kept me going.

I’m going to need that inspiration today – cause it’s Speed 4.0 in #ShaunWeek – terrifying 🙂 But I have my #rideordie coming with me, so at least we can perish together.

The end/beginning

I finished Whole30. Wow. A week ago now, I completed my last “on program” day. I finished Whole30 and lived to tell the tale. Every single day I mindfully did what the program asked of me (except for weighing in due to Weight Watchers). I am so unbelievably proud of myself and what I accomplished.

I should have started re-introduction last Thursday, but to be honest, I wasn’t (and still am still not) feeling it. On Friday I was going to have my dairy day. Latte. Tzatziki. Milk in my coffee, etc. But I didn’t want to. I drove past Starbucks and the thought of getting that latte was more like, meh. I didn’t truly want it. And listening to my body and my actual desires is way more important to me than eating a food just to eat it. I know re-introduction is important. I believe in it. But I have zero interest right now in eating those food groups (for the most part), so I decided to just let my body tell me what it wants.

What I did have on Friday was Greek food, with potatoes, lamb, and salad (and tzatziki!), and then a small thing of gelato afterwards. I said no to rice, and then I threw out the gelato once it was no longer hitting the same taste explosion as my first bites. I finished the evening feeling full, sure, but also in control.

On Saturday I hosted Iftar at my house and made traditional Moroccan food. Bastilla – should really just be hashtagged as #complicatedasfuckmoroccanpiething that took me TWO DAYS! Two days! Gah. You could do it in one day, but then you’d be married to your kitchen, and I really don’t know how you’d feel about that. I also made harira (soup to break the fast) – this baby takes 3-5 hours, depending, and kebob (marinated overnight naturally), and zaalouk (roasted pepper, eggplant, tomato dip/salad thing – friggin delicious – it’s like Moroccan Baba Ghanouj). Everything except the harira and bastilla are whole30/paleo. However, I ran it through my worth it metre. I haven’t had harira yet this year (during my strict Whole30, I didn’t eat it when my partner did for his Iftar), and bastilla? Well I make that shiz like maybe once every two years (see above as to why). So I went for it. Ingredients in these things? Flour, vermicelli noodles, lentils, chick peas, phyllo dough, copious amounts of butter. But it passed the worth it metre. I didn’t have any reaction. Didn’t feel more bloated. Didn’t notice any breakouts or anything.

Sunday I was eventing for my business and normally would have eaten festival food. Instead, I packed paleo salmon cakes and dip, one of my homemade “megbars” aka, a copycat of Larabars :D, watermelon, and some cashews. Felt zero urge to having anything deep fried or sugary (or a combo of both!)

So where is all of this rambling leading us? To my point that I currently, have zero desire to re-integrate, for the most part, those food groups I eliminated during Whole30. Except sugar. I now add about 1/2 tsp of coconut sugar to my coffee cause, geez, c’mon! I’m human. And if a paleo recipe calls for maple syrup or honey, I will probably use (I have ditched the honey in my salad dressing though – it’s really unnecessary – wonder why it’s so common??) I have made the decision to go modified paleo. Modified in that I am not going to be all mega “eat all the organic things and raise your own cattle!!” paleo – cause frankly, that’s a wee bit ridiculous to me. I mean, you do you boo, if you wanna run with strict paleo, cool beans. Rock on. But as there is conflicting research on what truly constitutes real paleo (like, legit what our ancestors ate), I am going to rock what feels good to me.

So what is it? Well basically, day to day, keep it paleo (although seriously, what’s the hate on for legumes???), and then practice food freedom in deciding what’s truly worth it (like the bastilla and harira) and what’s not. And more importantly, what’s worth it in that moment. You could be craving that pizza all week – but when you finally go to order it you’re like, meh, I’m good. Then don’t order the pizza. It’s no longer high enough on the worth it metre. I like that point.

I have decided that pasta is reserved for really good Italian restaurants and not at home. Sigh. This means that me and zoodles need to make up. And not just the original zoodle (zucchini), but ALLLLL forms of the zoodle. Carrot – sweet potato – radish – regular potato, etc. I bought some from the store that I am going to try tonight. I like it cause it looks super dry, so probably won’t be slimy. Ew – slimy zoodles, barf. I am also forgoing gluten for the foreseeable future – gluten in the form of bread products and grains. I have no desire for them, so why bring them back? Again, it needs to be on the worth it metre. Some sort of “healthified” bread “product” I am not interested in. What would I be interested in? The bun that goes with my Woody’s fire grilled burger (I’ve rhapsodized about those before!) That would be fucking worth it. Lettuce just would not cut it!

I am not doing dairy at home. I am actually RELIEVED to not think I have to eat yogurt anymore! lol – that sounds so bizarre. I have been brainwashed on the “health” effects of yogurt (all varieties), and in reality, it probably doesn’t deliver what the hype would have you believe. I am not sure about cheese as of yet. I never ate a lot of it anyway – but damn, sometimes you just want some damn shredded cheese! Or feta in your salad! So I am not crossing it out, but nor am I looking to do things with it – does that make sense? As for my coffee, I am sticking with coconut milk (home and at work). Where I will use dairy milk is if/when I am out and that’s my only option for my coffee. I would rather have dairy milk than processed soy or almond beverage (or even coconut beverage at Starbucks) – as soon as they put “beverage” in the title, I stay away. That shit ain’t real. I’d rather take my chances with the dairy milk.

So, the person who doesn’t like vegetables (legit still a thing – sigh), and thought that cutting out sugar, grains, etc., would be the ultimate exercise in deprivation and masochism, has decided to go paleo – somewhere, some god of fate is laughing his/her ass off. But this is where I currently feel comfortable. I am also still moving forward with food freedom (as in practicing, and reading the book Food Freedom Forever by the co-creator of Whole30) so that in the end, no lifestyle change becomes restrictive and I just become obsessed with something new. That’s not healthy later.

So that’s where I am. Basically staying the course. But in such an awesome way 😀

Nearing the end…

I am 2 days away from officially completing 30 days of Whole30. Then I have about 10 days of reintroduction. So I wanted to reflect on items related to my Whole30 challenge as well as my journey overall. Warning, potential ramble alert 😉

As can be attested by this blog, or even the several I’ve had before, my journey has been long. I have never reached “goal” – whatever that is, and I have never gotten to a point where I felt in control, comfortable, and confident that I would be able to carry my good habits forward. Almost two years ago I had a “moment”. I was at a family wedding and I saw my cousin, my sister of the heart, whom I hadn’t seen in 7 years. She’s 13 days older than me and we were basically raised together. With her living in the boonies of BC, and me living in Toronto, we never got to see each other. We also never really spoke (maybe via FB wall posts? Comments on pictures and the like). So I was pretty excited to see her. And when I did, she was just so excited about life. She was so in control. She had discovered something that would eventually lead her to her passion.

Now, I’ve been on Beachbody for forever. I’ve ordered programs off of late-nite TV before. But this was the first time I had met anyone else, close to me, who was part of it. That moment really started my current journey. The journey I feel, now, might just be the one to carry me to the end. I started 21 Day Fix, and joined an accountability group on FB. That started probably about a year of an on-again, off-again relationship with working out and eating properly. I joined Weight Watchers again in the umm, winter/spring of 2016, then fell off with Ramadan of that year, and just continued to play at the fitness. The only program I had ever actually finished prior to 2017 was Hammer & Chisel. As someone who loved Crossfit, I am a lifter, and HIIT workerouter. I hate repetitive cardio (repetitive anything – I’m looking at you Autumn Calabrese – stop making things repeat!!) So H&C was perfect for me. After that program was done, I was totally expecting to enter into another program and just continue that drive. That was not to be the case, and I was back to dabbling. Both in exercise and food. I kept getting larger and squishier, and making more and more excuses as to why that was the case.

In January 2017 my partner went to Morocco for what ended up being 2 months. During those two months I made a commitment. A commitment to myself, my health, and my personal value in myself. As I’ve documented before, I started waking up at 5:00 am to workout – every single week day. Weekends I may or may not have gotten something in, but week days were a non-negotiable for about 95% of the time. I re-committed to Weight Watchers, posting a weight that was just 10lbs off of my highest ever (and no weight someone of my size should be – it was too much for my petite frame), and took on the approach of Dory to “just keep swimming”.

I ate a balance of about 80/20 – and made sure my weekends were structured so that they weren’t food free for alls. I usually had one “major” meal a week that was an indulgence, and made another commitment to my meal planning and food prep to make sure I was always interested in what I had on the menu.

I also, after over a year and a half of attempting self-love (a gift of self-awareness from my #rideordie that is more valuable to me than I can even express), gave up on the idea of guilt. Why be guilty over a cheeseburger? Or for not exercising one day? Why? You a grown ass adult. You made that decision. Fucking live with it. Don’t send your poor brain and heart into a whirlwind of guilt that serves no purpose other than to maybe make you feel better about choosing something that you think you shouldn’t have. If you DECIDE to eat that poutine, then HONOUR that decision. Everything is a decision. There is no force feeding poutine gang out there making you make that decision. So own your decisions and leave the guilt at the door. Plan your indulgences. Enjoy them. Leave the guilt out of the equation. Be mindful that everything you do is a choice, and you are the driver of that choice. Being more mindful of what you actually want will then help you make the decisions you truly want.

These two  months were a catalyst for me. They changed something in me that made ME impossible to ignore. Even when the partner came back from Morocco. My boy, I love him, but he’s high maintenance. However, I stayed on track and kept putting myself first – we had A LOT of conversations that went something like this:

Me: 9:30 – k, I’m going to bed

Him: (distracted) – huh? why, it’s so early!

Me: as a reminder, I wake up at 5:00 am every day – I gots to sleep

Him: but wait, I need your help on (insert thing that totally could have been done like 2-hours earlier when I wasn’t going to bed)

Me: k, good night!

Lots, and lots, and lots of conversations like this. Frustrating conversations. Painful conversations. Friggin annoying conversations. But I kept pushing. I had to keep my commitment to me.

From January through February, I was following various Core de Force calendars, and then in March started another round of Hammer & Chisel. I love the program, I do, but this time it wasn’t setting my heart on fire. The pace was slow compared to CDF and some Shaun T programs I had been playing with. I lost my fire. By this point I’m 4 months in to almost a religious following of a workout/eating program. I got so tired. So, so tired, and basically just in a funk. Then my friend messaged me about Whole30 and that started a 2-week period of saying “good bye” to my favourite foods. I was basically convinced that Whole30 was going to kill me. That I was going to be deprived and angry and very possibly not even finish.

I was not prepared for how ready I was for Whole30. I was not prepared to enjoy it, or to see its actual value. I started out of moral support for a friend. I dragged my #rideordie along with me to have someone to whine with. I never expected to get on the program and a) find it easy (telling me how right the timing was), b) to not feel deprived, c) to gain so much energy and mental clarity, d) to begin a long-deserved disconnection of my intense, unhealthy relationship with food. I didn’t expect any of it. I went along as a lark, and, to be honest, a way to lose weight (if I’m being honest with myself) – the book says DON’T WEIGH YOURSELF, and that it’s not about weight loss, and to be honest,  I am so far beyond the scale in my confidence and appreciation of myself that the number barely registers with me anymore. I am not hugely moved by that number anymore. A gain doesn’t send me into a tailspin, and losses are met with appreciation, but that’s about it. However, being truly honest, I thought Whole30 would help me shed like 10lbs in one month. Or more. Completely false. I think I’ve lost 4lbs? And I’ve lost that and more on a regular month with Weight Watchers.

The headspace Whole30 put me in is so much more rewarding than the weight loss potential. I imagine if I was heavier, or didn’t workout as much, I may have lost more. But I’m not really concerned about that. What surprised me the most, and the reason why I am starting to plan to continue in a modified way, is that Whole30 put me into such a positive space regarding food and my desire for it. When you remove all those food groups. When you just decide “no”, and you don’t “slip”, then eating actually becomes very, very easy. There’s very little to decide on. By removing the choice, you remove the temptation.

Did it make eating out hard? Yes, but still doable if you ask the right questions and plan ahead a little bit. Did it sometimes suck? Sure. I’ve been at a conference these past two days. Conference food – ugh. Especially since it was hosted by my institution and I know alllll about their catering. Sure enough, wraps, quinoa salad (even not on Whole30, Meighan does not eat quinoa, ew), and greek salad SMOTHERED in cheese and dressing. Sigh. The conference organizers didn’t even ask for dietary restrictions on the registration, so lunch was extremely hard. I took two wraps and dug out the sandwich meat and then had the salad, steering clear of the cheese and just owning the fact that the dressing wasn’t compliant, and filled up on fruit. When I had the carcasses of the wraps on a plate in front of me, I was surprised at the sheer weight of them. All that tortilla dough, weighing one down. Yuck. I was glad to not be in a carb stupor considering this conference was a full 9-5 deal for two days.

What’s the lesson in this? I didn’t go, oh, woe is me, I guess I HAVE to eat all this not-so-good-for-me things. Sigh. Oh dear.

No. I modified. Nothing I ate was actually compliant (except the fruit). Deli meat, even if it’s one of those super natural brands, has sugar in it (usually cane), and deli meat served at a conference? Probably has nitrates. Salad dressing – probably not pure olive oil, probably some other non-Whole30 oil in there as well, along with some type of sugar (honey, etc., or even just sugar sugar). But I still consider myself compliant because I frickin TRIED. I didn’t eat the wraps. I didn’t eat the grain salad. I didn’t eat the bars and cookies that came out later. I didn’t give in just because it wasn’t ideal. I still had to eat, and I did what I could. In an ideal world, I would have packed my lunch. That would have been ideal. It didn’t happen, so next best thing.

That power – that power to say no to food. To not even consider it. To not even want to consider it. That’s what Whole30 has given me. And that is fucking priceless. Do not get me wrong, there are cravings for things. There are cravings for easy things. Kraft dinner of all bloody things for me the other day. But, I don’t actually think it’s the food necessarily, but the fact that’s easy. Whole30 food isn’t easy. There is a fair amount of prep and time involved. So no, I’m not saying I didn’t want things. I wanted things, but unlike before, I didn’t obsess over the things I wanted. The cravings have all been fairly fleeting. Like, ya, that’d be nice, but not having it is cool too. So it is regaining (ah, hell, who am I kidding) gaining that power over food that has amazed me, and shown me that this journey, this current iteration of it, may be the one that sticks. The puzzle pieces are finally starting to come together and it is liberating, and empowering, and just plain awesome.

This is not to say that I live in some idyllic world where I will never binge eat junk food again. No. But, I now know that I can conquer it. I know it’s not this Kilimanjaro sized task that is insurmountable. I climbed that particular mountain, and the view is pretty fucking amazing up here.

 

Whole30 Week 3

Week 3 is almost over! This program has become so ingrained. I do find my meal planning to be a little challenging because I don’t want to be bored (so don’t want to eat the same things all the time), but I also don’t want to be a slave to my kitchen. That’s a tough balance on this program.

I did have a #fuckwhole30 couple of days this past week. One, last Sunday, Victoria Day weekend in Canada, and I was helping the bf move into his new downtown office space (thus freeing up my second bedroom in my house!!). This involved trips to Costco, Ikea, etc. (all on a busy long weekend, awesome). It also involved him being in a hurry, wanting to get it done. Get us out of the house and on the road. Well Whole30 doesn’t work that way. I asked him, do you want to have breakfast at home, or out? He’s like, sure, I want Tim Hortons (he loves the croissant breakfast sandwiches). At this point, I’m two weeks into Whole30. The fact that I cannot eat basically ANY outside food is not a surprise. I said no, either a real food place (like an actual restaurant, where I can order actual food vs. processed crap), or we eat at home. What happens? He gets all pouty because of his obsession with croissant breakfast sandwiches. So I say, fine – let me scramble me some eggs and we can get your stupid sandwich on our way to shopping.

So my breakfast was fine. What was my downfall? I didn’t pack snacks. I didn’t have a plan for lunch. After a few hours when those eggs and apple had worn off, I was HANGRY. Blood sugars had dropped – I’m cranky, and pissed off that I’m basically shopping with a squirrel with ADHD (omg, shiny!) as in my bf SUCKS at making a decision on things, checks his phone flipping constantly, and basically causes these sorts of trips to last longer than they need to be. Finally we stop off at home so I can get food, and we’re off to his office to set everything up. The entire day I was just pissed off. Pissed off at him, and just basically everything. Pissed off that I can’t eat what I want right now (even healthy food, outside of the house). Pissed off that he won’t remember that I am restricted right now. Basically just pissed off that I was following this stupid program. That was my first I HATE THIS moment. If I was ever to give up, it would have been on that day (or this past Wednesday, but I’m getting to that). But I didn’t. I persevered, and thankfully I eventually got dropped off at home to do my own thing and he went to entertain clients.

The other day was just this past Wednesday. So really, two #fuckwhole30 days in one week. Is that a regular thing 2.5 weeks in?? Wednesday was an incredibly emotional day. First, moontime started (girls, you know), and second, I had 3, yes THREE huge financial issues. One, my condo corp hasn’t been taking maintenance fees for 3 months at their own error, and slapped us with a notice of lien on our house with resulting lawyer’s fees they want paid immediately. I am still currently fighting that battle as I have a long list of what they did wrong in terms of my fees not being withdrawn. Second, our property tax bill came in. So that was a lovely 4K surprise. Then, it’s later that night and I’m Netflixing and painting my toes. What do I do? Not secure the cap on the CORAL nail polish I’m using, it slips from my hand, and splashes freaking pink nail polish on my a) carpet (cream btw); b) my nightstand (white); my bedspread (grey); and I’ve just discovered this morning, my iphone charging cable (not a big deal, just pointing it out). By this point I was so DONE with the day that I said fuck it. And mopped it up best as I could, and resigned myself to the $$$ it’s going to cost to either fix, or clean properly. It was not a good day. On this day I was not adulting. I was done adulting. I wanted take out food soooooo badly. The thought of cooking made me actually cry. Like legit. Sitting on my couch thinking of my kitchen, and I cried. Cause Whole30 prep? It’s hard yo. So I ordered Swiss Chalet. Quarter chicken, white meat, no roll, plain baked potato. I put some compliant ranch dip on the potato, and then dipped EVERYTHING into hot sauce. That’s emotional eating on Whole30, lol. That took A LOT of dedication to strip down my order, to say no to the roll, to say no to fries. But if there’s one thing I DO NOT WANT TO DO, it’s start over. I am not starting over.

So, not a fantastic week emotion wise. GREAT week for exercise and eating though. It was my week for Insanity Max 30 with my man, Shaun T. These workouts, even at only 30 minutes, are HARD. I was modifying the modifier sometimes. Especially with all the plank work – I have an issue with my upper thoracic region that my osteo is currently working on. I didn’t want to undo all of the work she’s done fixing me by doing too many weight bearing upper body moves, so I did different things when he had certain plank exercises (and there are a lot – Shaun loves him some plank exercises). Even on Thursday, when I called in sick to work because I was sick to my stomach with cramps, etc., I STILL pressed play. I almost puked, and it was 1/100th of my effort, but I did it. No excuses baby.

I also took on a 30-day buns, guns, and abs challenge. I’m on day 4 today. So that’s an extra thing to keep me motivated. By the end, there’s like 250 squats :O I guess I like a challenge?

Food has been en pointe, cause, well, when you’re doing Whole30 it can’t not be en pointe. I am being really careful with my fats still. Measuring everything. Making sure I’m within my Weight Watchers points. People could easily gain weight on this program by treating it as a free for all. It’s not. You have to be so mindful of your satiation signals. Stop eating when you’re full, only eat when you’re hungry. Make sure your plate has that veg/carb/fat balance. I was down 0.4 at my weigh in this week. It’s to be somewhat expected with moontime. Let’s see what next week brings.

This coming week is my last full week on Whole30. I kind of feel like someone who’s been in a secluded colony and has to like, be reintroduced to normal civilization. I am a little scared about reintroduction. I don’t want to go back to where I was. I don’t know what I can reintroduce that won’t undo everything I’ve gained from this challenge. Will adding splenda back to my coffee send me into a sugar seeking tailspin? Will eating whole wheat pasta (since I gave up white pasta a long time ago) make me into a carb monster? Will reintroducing these foods bring me back to the place where food had this terrible, unyielding emotional pull on me?

This is my biggest fear. Prior to doing Whole30 food was an addiction. Think of Whole30 like my food rehab. This past iteration of doing Weight Watchers I’ve gotten a lot better. For the most part, I didn’t have that anger I normally have when following an eating and exercise regime (the anger that I HAVE to be so careful. That I can’t just do what I want). That anger, again, for the most part, had dissipated. I was cool with my 80/20. I normally had one large meal per week that was an indulgence, and otherwise, kept it pretty clean. But that yearning for certain foods. That pull towards things. That was still there. Somewhat tamed, but still there. Weight Watchers, despite the awesomeness of the program, was never able to release me wholly from that. It has for many, many, many other people (I’ve read their stories), but not for me. Whole30 did that for me. Once I got past the first days where I wanted so many things, often just out of habit, the pull went away. The yearning, went away. I am terrified that it will come back once I reintroduce items. I think what makes it so scary for me, is that I don’t actually know what causes it. Is it sugar? Probably. Maybe. That bitch is the root of a lot of issues. Is it carbs? Is it dairy? Probably not so much on the dairy as I didn’t eat a lot of it anyway, pre-Whole30. So what is it?

I don’t want to live forever on Whole30. It’s very restrictive, and I LOVE food. I love good meals out. But nor do I want to feel like I did before. I don’t know where that balance is, and that unknown is scary. It’s going to be a very tough thing to find that balance. To not get obsessed with food again (either being restrictive, or the opposite), and so I’m not entirely certain how reintroduction is going to go.

Today is the first day of Ramadan. I have a few hours of cooking ahead of me today for the bf’s first Iftar (breaking of the fast). So on to my shopping and meal prep for both of us!