May 1: new month, new goals

I’m here. I’m not dead. I haven’t quit my 365 workouts challenge. Although, I did seem to “quit” the blog for a while. Then when I kept realizing I needed to blog, I kept putting it off. Oh well, such is life of a procrastinator. I will go back and finish my entries for the past…what, 60 or so days? More? Eeeek.

In the meantime I have been focusing on school (all A’s this semester!), my food, and my workouts. I’m seeing great gains in my body. Now, I’m no low body-fat bodybuilder, or superstar Crossfitter, but I *NEVER* thought my 1 year ago 175lb self would be where I am today. I never would have thought I would be my smallest since high school.

This has been my motivation to blog again. If I never would have imagined being where I am today, where can I be at the end of this year? I still have 8 months to go! That’s TONS of time to change a body.

Here is your warning: there are pictures of me in a bathing suit on this post. They’re not great. I’m not perfect. This is a huge step for me, part of me still can’t believe I’m going to post them. I am not looking to ‘brag’ or show off (far from it!), but rather try to celebrate and embrace the body I have now and continue to work on making myself healthier. And that means mental health too. So, say it with me, “I love my body. I love my body.”  This brings me to, Day 1…

This month I’m doing a little photography challenge, that’s fitness related. Disclaimer: I have NO photography skills. My iPhone sucks because it’s been dropped so many times, including submerged in the toilet once. That said, it’s fitness related and will keep me motivated to improve myself and to blog.
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What else…I’m at the end of my 2nd Whole30 of the year! It’s going well. I didn’t document the food as much as I did last time. I will do another recap though.

Today for my exercise, SINCE THAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THIS BLOG, I took a walk with my cousin. We went 30min, 2.31 miles. 13:20 pace. Being the beginning of the month, I probably should have done more, but I wasn’t feeling it. Since this month has been food focused and 50miler recovery, my workouts have been much lighter. That’s ok, I’ve got big things coming! Doing a marathon in 2 weeks, then a 50k June 1, probably another marathon in the summer as well. Upping my run mileage!

Back to MAY. 

Lets start my food today, Paleo/Whole30 stuff:
I had venison cabbage rolls for breakfast w/sauteed greens. No pic, sorry. They don’t look that great, but they taste good.

Lunch was a kale & salmon omelette with 2 pieces of bacon. Delicious!
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Dinner was smoked chicken legs and more sautéed greens.
I’ve had so many greens lately, this has been a staple.

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Now, for my May 1 fitness pic challenge. Entries, “BEFORE.”
(be nice people, no photoshop or editing! How many of you are putting non-covered up bathing suit pictures on the interwebs? Not many.)
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Unfortunately, I do not think I’ll ever have a complete hard midsection. Being 175lbs a little over a year ago, and also 9 years ago, I think I wrecked my body in that way. Oh well, I guess I’ll always have a little pouch of loose skin around my belly button.
Or, get a tummy tuck when I win the lottery.

I call this, “my tire.” Get it? Heh. I love it. Not my stomach, but the picture.Image

This, my Photoshop-talented, friend TJ made artsy for me!
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And finally, here is a progress pic. My handstands are improving, as is my midsection!

Welcome to May! Kick it’s ass everyone!

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FOOD! Since we all love it…

Time for another food post. Things I’ve made or eaten the last several weeks…er, month! Oops, another realization I’ve waited too long!
Recipes when available. (Ok, I lied. I only have links to 4 recipes. I usually just throw meats & veggies together! Roasts: I use tons of garlic & onion & spices. Hamburgers. Nothing fancy.) Usually, I just throw things together, or alter recipes to make them Paleo compliant, or just better!

The day after Whole30 ended (Jan 31), we loaded up the car and headed to Houston for my first 50miler. Since I’m originally from the area, I had lots of places to stop. We wanted to hit a museum, Central Market (best grocery store, ever!), see family. My cousins live right across the street—well, dirt road and a short walk–from a raw milk farm! We brought the big cooler and really stocked up. Dairy isn’t Whole30 at all, but if I’m going to have it, it’s going to be this stuff: pastured, no grains, no hormones, antibiotics. Just…love! No dairy from the grocery store for me. Chemicals, hormones, and whoknowswhatelse in that factory stuff. It’s taken a couple years to get to this point of not wanting store bought dairy, but I love this raw stuff. I’m really glad this farm is several hours away.
EatWild is a great site to find local farmers!
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When we got home after the weekend, we used the tremendous amount of cream to make our own butter! It’s actually pretty easy, I encourage everyone to try it! You don’t need a big KitchenAid to do it, a hand mixer works fine. It’ll just take a little longer. This is the blog/instructions we usually follow. (her pics are MUCH better than mine) However, the pics & instructions below are all it takes. It’s really simple. I usually divide the butter up and make salted, unsalted and herb varieties. This time was chive, rosemary & thyme.

To start: pour cream in mixer and mix! That’s it. Just mix, mix, & mix some more.

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After about 8-10min it goes past ‘whipped cream’ and starts clumping into butter! You’re left with butter and buttermilk. Delicious.
Separate it out with a mesh strainer, squeeze the liquid out, and you’re left with a butter ball. Or log. Whatever shape you like.

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Now, lots of food collages! Things I’ve eaten this month.

Lets start with some breakfast.

We have sautéed veggies & bacon frittata. Then, my usual, scrambled eggs (usually with some type of veggies) w/salsa, and home cured bacon.
Marks Daily Apple has some good frittata recipes, but they’re just like scrambled egg: throw whatever you have in there! I had yellow squash, red pepper & spinach. Garlic and onion too, of course. Then bacon on top.

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Lets get to lunches! Usually some type of salads or leftovers, that I eat at school. Hence the leftover containers. Here we have kale salad w/apples, radish, pine nuts & almonds, yellow beets, mint & parsley, olive oil & lemon. Delicious. Top right is roast hog and salad. Bottom right is salad with buffalo burger, I think. And then a plain ‘ol salad.

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Here I wanted to show some portion sizes. I try to get a TON of volume of veggies. The top left is an egg salad. Veggies piled high with egg dumped on top. I forced myself to eat it all! (the plates are huge) Then roasted veggies w/deer & regular salad. Oyster happy hour (YUM!), I ate 3 doz. Finally, sometimes I get desperate. I *NEEDED* to eat something, and I had an orange. I was in the car. Nowhere to let the juices drip & to put the peel….
SO, an orange in a shoe box it is!

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Got my first sack of crawfish for the season (it’s still a little early), and the dogs were VERY interested in them. They thought the mudbugs were delicious, btw.

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Let’s address eating out!

Went out several times, especially when we were in Houston. My dining partner got some scallops over risotto (I did not try). When we were leaving the Museum of Fine Arts, the food trucks were parked outside! I was so excited. I got some kind of meat wrapped in bacon. It came with a wonderfully spicy guac. I also got some kind of taco, sans shell. Both were delicious! Finally, some BBQ in a cup.

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Now, some dinners!
Fall off the bone crock pot wild hog. (no recipe)
Hog & asparagus
PaleoOMG bacon ‘alfredo’. I altered this and added tons of brocoli, lots of spices. It was really good. I’ll probably make it again.

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Here’s more meat pictures.
I think this is deer or hog with caramelized onions & garlic.
On the right, is sausage stuffed pork chop and steamed broccoli. YUM.

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And finally, the roast chicken I made this week. I adapted Thomas Kellers Ad Hoc recipe. I used rutabaga, turnips, carrots, leek, onion, garlic, sweet potato. Used some homemade raw butter, rosemary, thyme and tons of S&P. It was so good, I wanted to give you three views. The veggies were out of this world. I love roasted vegetables.

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And, there you go! Things I’ve eaten this month! I’d like to do a food post once a week, but I don’t think I have the variety for that. I make 2-3 ‘bigger’ meals a week, and the rest of the time it’s either eggs, big salad or leftovers. The leftovers go pretty far. I’d like to try a new recipe every week, but I don’t think I’d actually take the time for that.

Finally a food post!

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I’ve said many times this month I’d write a food post, what and how I eat, etc. Then I realized that I should wait to see how this month went before committing to put my, what conventional people call: crazy, out there for everyone to see. I’m going to show you WHAT & WHY I eat what I do! This is probably my most wordy post yet, but there will be pics, promise! BEFORE & AFTER pic at the bottom, if that’s all you care about. I will be doing this each month (or I plan to) this year!
(I will say, this works FOR ME. If you think it’s crazy, that’s fine. But, I’m HAPPY with my choices, my body and my athletic performance. I don’t have health problems. I did when I was training for Ironmans on SAD: standard american diet. I think this speaks for itself)

Since 2009, I’ve mostly eaten a Paleo or Primal diet. It’s not a “diet” in the (wrong) definition of a fad way of eating with the goal to lose weight. “Diet” does mean the types of food you habitually eat. Anyway. I do not eat this way to just lose weight (although it usually is a nice side effect). The problem is, during various times of my life since 2009, I’ve fallen off that way of eating. Usually during stressful or major life changes: breaking my femur, leaving the military, moving, moving again, moving again…you get the picture.

So, back in Sept. I went back to my beloved way of eating and started getting myself healthy again. Then in Dec I realized I needed another challenge, thus this 365 project was born. AND I realized I needed to clean up my eating habits, and how I look at food, again.

To coincide with my new 365workouts project, I started the year off right with Whole30. What’s Whole30? You can read about it HERE. The short version is that it’s a nutritional, emotional & habitual reset by eating REAL FOODS: meat, fish, eggs, fruit, healthy oils, some nuts! Think you’re addicted to sugar? This is for you. Addicted to junk food? This is for you! I’ve never been a big junk food, soda, fast food eater, but I do enjoy nice rich meals, decadent desserts and, as a native Texan, my beloved chips and queso on occasion. (swoon)

Since today is the last day, yes I know I’m technically posting this about 12hrs early, I thought it would be good to put it out out here for you to read. As expected, I hit the typical withdrawal (not too bad), the anger phase, then it was 8428867001_467758005b_nsmooth-sailing for the rest of the month. The only challenges were my 2 marathons (WHICH, is NOT recommended on Whole30 because you’re resetting your body nutritionally, not focusing on working out/weight loss, as outlined in “It Starts With Food” <—link. BUY it. I have no financial interests in it either!). However, this is my 2nd or 3rd Whole30 and I’m not new to this general way of eating, so I wanted to try it. PLUS, if I want to continue this way of eating (and I do/will), I need to see how I can incorporate this into my Marathon Addiction (Marathon Maniac #674!). AND, if you’ve read the other posts…I executed them in perfect Whole30 form! Major props to myself on that.

Ok, who is ready for food? I’ll take you through some of my meals this month! 

(preface: I do not eat meals in any particular order. If I feel like having a salad for breakfast or eggs and bacon for dinner, I eat it)
Typical breakfast: Coffee (no cream or sugar!), leftovers of meat/veggies, eggs: boiled, scrambled, salads. Yes, salads for breakfast! Delicious.

I try to make my food as colorful and varied as possible! No brown processed foods.
What we have here (clockwise): black coffee (coconut milk is allowed in Whole30, but I like my coffee black), 2 fried eggs, morning salad, 2 pieces bacon for ‘dessert’, sautéed kale under 2 eggs w/hot sauce, 2 boiled eggs, bacon, Texas Rio Star Red grapefruit (the best grapefruit!). 
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Lunch: meat and veggies. Or usually a BIG salad, which is usually meat and veggies.

(What we have here: salad w/sautéed shrimp, shrimp hot pot from a restaurant, ground beef & veggie stuffed poblano peppers, another big salad!) 
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Sometimes I’ll have 2 smaller meals. A smaller breakfast, then something after a hard CrossFit workout. Sometimes, if I’m traveling, I just have to eat what is 8430054446_1ec6f78cea_navailable. It might just be a piece of meat.
(sausage, chicken & mashed cinnamon sweet potato, pre-marathon steak & shrimp!, bacon wrapped chicken & sweet potato: both chicken & sweet potatoes were post-CrossFit workout)

MORE SALADS. And my dinner last night! Which, I have to say, was SO good. The sauce was a reduction of the pork juices & marinade I made. Out of this world!
(fresh veggies from the CSA, a 3lb container of salad–you will NOT be hungry after that, and my dinner last night, Day29: sausage stuffed pork loin w/broccoli)
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Dinner: more of the same as what my lunch looks like. But, here’s some pics of meat! A pot roast I was searing before putting it into the crock pot and a pork belly about to be cured for homemade bacon, and the finished product!

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BENEFITS.
I guess I could go through the typical Whole30 benefit list. It reads just like all the others you may have read:8430252500_c93c9271d7

  • IMPROVED ENERGY! (I wish I could have this flashing!) I rarely have a need for a nap anymore. Sometimes I’ve tried when I know I could use the sleep, but I just can’t. I don’t wake up groggy in the mornings. I *HAVE* to get up and out of bed.
  • HAPPY. I’m generally happier. Less mood swings. I don’t think this is 100% directly related to the food I’m putting into my body, but important to the whole: I’m happy to be eating good-for-me real food, I’m seeing benefits & results, I’m energetic = HAPPY!
  • Clearer skin. My skin isn’t perfect, and I can’t out-eat genetics, BUT, I’ve minimized my breakouts (ugh, even in my 30’s) and I get compliments that my skin looks “good.” (meaning ‘better’ than it used to be)
  • No big cravings. Sometimes I really crave salads. Or boiled eggs. But never deserts.
  • Body Change. This is what most people usually want to know/see. But, that’s not what Whole30 is about. Sure, it’s a nice side effect, but this is about being HEALTHY. And for some of us, that means needing to drop a few lbs. I have dropped a few pounds (UPDATE: -7.8lbs on Jan. 31). I know my body has changed. My loose belly is dramatically reduced, my boobs are smaller. Just yesterday, my formerly “skinny” jeans that I had to *SQUEEZE* (and not flattering) into last year, were much looser yesterday! As I instinctively went to puullllll the waistband to button it, I was floored to see and feel that there was an extra inch or two of room where my belly used to be. WHOA. What a great feeling! ………

CUE POSITIVE FEEDBACK LOOP = Happy! 
I think I would have lost a few more pounds had I not done 2 marathons this month (much added stress & metabolic disruption), but I still saw progress.

So. There it is. If you have any questions about Whole30, I’d say go to their website for more info, as I am no expert. However, I can share with you MY experiences that I’ve had the last several years!