I meant to write this post last night, but the dogs were still so damn tired from Thanksgiving that they had climbed onto my lap and were fast asleep all evening.  I didn’t have the heart to push them off.  Plus I saved money because I was able to shut the furnace off — do you realize how much heat two 70 pound lap dogs can generate?

Anyway – Thanksgiving 2013 is in the books and there were some things I did well, other things I perhaps didn’t navigate as well as I would have liked to.  So, a rundown to wrap up the holiday with a neat little bow:

Thanksgiving Successes:

  • I avoided the rolls.  This was hard!  I love me some fresh bread, that’s for sure.  But everything else on the table was so delicious I (almost) didn’t notice.  Also – rolls are my kryptonite and once I have the first, there’s no end until the bread basket is empty.
  • Over half my plate was filled with turkey and broccoli.  A small portion of stuffing and a not-so-small-but-still-not-big helping of sweet potatoes (lovingly nestled in butter and marshmallows) completed my dinner. Still, most of what I ate was good for me.
  • No before or after dinner cocktails.
  • Only 3 glasses of wine with dinner.
  • No snacking throughout the rest of the day (aside from my standard quality testing when helping to carve the turkey… someone has to do it…).
  • I really slowed down while eating, and I was one of the last to finish. This took more focus than I thought it would.
Thanksgiving Gobbles:
  • I filled my plate with too much — even too much good stuff, to be honest.  I should have left a good chunk of food on my plate, but that felt rude.  My family is such a Clean Plate Club kind of family, ya know?  In order to make sure I didn’t eat too much bad stuff, I loaded up on turkey and broccoli, but I ended up with just too much food.  I ate to well past 80% full and felt about as stuffed as the turkey.  The small victory in this is that I usually eat much more and it’s usually the scales don’t tip in the favor of the healthy food.
  • A slice of pie for dessert … and then another slice of pie at dinner (the second meal of the day).  They were both really good, though, and I enjoyed them immensely.
  • 3 glasses of wine with dinner!  I should have stopped at one or two.
So, a bit of a mixed bag, but overall, I was better this year than I have been in past years and so that’s a win.  Like LE says, you don’t have to be perfect, just better than you were yesterday.

It’s Thanksgiving — one of my favorite holidays of the year.  All the good food of Christmas without the hassle of gifts and tinsel and the Little Drummer Boy played so often it feels like he’s pounding on my head.

This is going to be a cheat day of sorts for me.  I will almost certainly not be doing my Lean Eating habit of only drinking non-calorie beverages — I’m pretty sure there’s an adult cocktail in my near future, and if not that, then the wine at dinner will be hard to pass up. And this is where the “ish” of my Primal(ish) experiment comes in.  I’m going to try and load up more on turkey and vegetables, avoid the bread, but I’m not going to forgo stuffing or potatoes or — my favorite — pumpkin pie.  It’s a holiday, right?

Instead of focusing on what I should and shouldn’t be eating, I’m going to concentrate on some of those habits from months long past:  eating slowly and quit shoveling the food in BEFORE I’m full.  Almost always, I’m the first one done eating at any holiday meal — I always thought I just was more skilled and motivated than anyone else — and this year I intend to be one of the last ones done eating.  That’s my goal.  And no second helpings unless it’s turkey or vegetables.

Because I can’t seem to get enough of challenges, I’ve also joined in on a friend’s challenge she has going with her family to run a mile a day from Thanksgiving until New Years.  One mile.  Somewhere between 9 and 15 minutes, depending on how fast I want to run/walk. I certainly can find time in my schedule for that, right?  Worst case, I can always brave the cold and walk/jog the dogs — multitasking at its best!

I hope the holiday finds you happy and healthy and able to sit down after dinner without needed to unbutton your pants.

Another easy(ish) habit for me — don’t drink anything that has calories in it.  With the exception of my protein shake in the morning (which I drink *because* of the calories), I don’t really drink my calories these days.  Occasionally a Gatorade after a particularly difficult workout (which hasn’t really happened in the past few months), but that’s about it.

Of course, the next step after that is eliminating all soda pop.  Um, yea.  That’s going to be tougher.  I ran out of my beloved Diet Pepsi yesterday and decided not to replenish the supply.  And then this morning I was especially tired and cranky after not getting a good night’s sleep due to a headache, and by mid-morning I broke down and got a Diet Coke from the vending machine (that tells you how desperate I was … I really don’t like Diet Coke all that much).

What can I say — it’s not even the caffeine, really, it’s that I just love the taste.  And it must be a dialed-back version of what a smoker feels like when they light up — my entire body just goes, “Ahhhhhh…..” and sighs with happiness with that first swallow.

That said, I’ll be able to follow the letter of the habit without too much trouble, but I do want to start working on eliminating the diet pop from my day.  I’m also guilty of having a more-than-occasional glass of diet root beer in the evening.  It satisfies my sweet tooth without me chowing down on chocolate or something worse for me (not that I have those things in my house anymore…).

Like I’ve been talking about — my new habit is really eating Primally(ish) and that’s what I’m going to be working on.  I just bought another 6-pack of Diet Pepsi, so I’ll consider doing away with it again once I’ve run out and see how long I last…

Another phase done.  Phase 4 is in the books and tomorrow it’s onto Phase 5, which is a longer 6 week phase.  I’m looking forward to starting fresh with a new set of workouts since I had so much forced time off during the last couple of weeks.

And Phase 5 will be my Primal(ish) phase.  My goal is to keep at it for the entire phase and then evaluate. The president of PN says that we should always be asking ourselves, “How’s that workin’ for ya?”  Is Primal(ish) helping me accomplish my goals?  Is it me just spinning my wheels?  I figure 6 weeks will be enough time to make a decision.

Because I know you’re only here for the review…

Pretty much the same from last week.  Weight is up a tick, measurements are exactly the same and my photos look like they did a month ago.  This turned out to be kind of a throwaway month for me in terms of measurable progress. But – and I need to remember this – in the past this likely would have spiraled down to me giving up on nutrition until January, but this time I turned things around faster without quite as much damage.

I’m back to the program.  Still taking it easy with the amount of weight I’m slinging around because I’m scared of re-injuring my back, but otherwise going at it 100%.  And you know what?  It feels good to be back at it.  Today I hit the treadmill to get my interval workout done, and you know what else?  Running actually didn’t totally suck.  It was almost good, even.  Makes me want to do it again.  Whodda thunk it.

Creating a sleep ritual is pretty much old hat.  I still have to make sure I get to bed on time, but I feel like I’ve got this one under control.  New habit tomorrow — I haven’t yet peeked to see what it is, but I’m looking forward to moving on to something new.

Habit Log:
Weeks 1-2: Fish oil and probiotic
Weeks 3-4: Eating slowly
Weeks 5-6: Stop eating at 80% full
Weeks 7-8: Lean protein with every meal
Weeks 9-10: 5 servings of vegetables a day
Weeks 11-12: Make smart carb choices
Weeks 13-14: Plan MealsWeeks 15-16: Log all food
Weeks 17-18: Create a sleep ritual

So, today was my first Primal(ish) day, and it didn’t go too badly.  I think I need to eat more, though — I’m pretty hungry still.

For lunch I made a spaghetti squash and ate that with marinara sauce and parmesan cheese, which was pretty damn good.  No one is going to mistake it for pasta, but with the sauce and cheese, it gets you in the neighborhood, for sure.

Imagine this with purple cabbage

Dinner was a very easy and very surprisingly good sausage and cabbage casserole. Found it in my Primal Blueprint cookbook and made it mostly because it was incredibly easy and figured it wouldn’t be too expensive an experiment.  I bought a purple cabbage and some Cook’s Test Kitchen recommended turkey kielbasa and pretty much all you do it cut up all of it, put in the cabbage in, the sausage on top, put a few tablespoons of water in and then drizzle with olive oil.  Stick in the oven.  DONE.  And really, really good.  I didn’t anticipate liking this … or at least I didn’t anticipate liking it this much.  This recipe will become a staple, I think.

Yesterday I alluded to other reasons why I wanted to try going Primal(ish) — in the past few months, my finger joints have been very sore.  I’m guessing arthritis — it runs in the family — but I started wondering if something in my diet (grains, specifically) were causing inflammation that might be exacerbating the condition.  And when my thumb joint joined the party with being swollen as well, I decided I needed to do something to try and help myself.  It might not work, but it can’t hurt, ya know?

Also – I thrive when I’m on a plan.  It’s why I’m good at counting calories — that keeps me accountable and structured. Of course, I always get to a point where I don’t want to count calories anymore… so I don’t… and then I gain the weight back.  Primal(ish) will be different in the sense that if it works, then all I’ve done is changed what I eat and to keep it going, I just need to keep doing the same thing.  There’s no inconvenience to it (like counting calories).

I’m curious how this will go.  I always feel so much better about myself when I’m following a plan (and sticking to the plan, of course).  I’m going to try and make sure I get carbs into my diet — Lean Eating would call them “smart carbs” — like sweet potatoes, beans, and even some grains like steel cut oats or quinoa.  I feel better when I have them in my diet, for sure.  Vegetables and lean meats just leave me hungry.

There you have it.  It’ll be tough with the holidays coming up (and honestly, I won’t be complaint on Thanksgiving, I can guarantee you that), but this will be good for me.  And not only in an “it builds character” kind of way.

I’ve decided I need a change.  As much as the LE program preaches moderation and such, I think it’s time that I made a wholesale change in my diet:  I’m going to go Primal(ish).

In a nutshell (ha! that’s a pun! you’ll understand in a moment…), eating Primally means eating lean meats, lots of vegetables, good-for-you fats, some fruit, some dairy/cheese and pretty much no grains (pasta, rice, white potatoes, bread, etc).  It’s not intentionally low-carb — you do get carbs via fruit and some vegetables and sweet potatoes — but does end up being protein-heavy.

I’ve toyed with the idea of going Primal since I started LE, since the tenets of both have a lot in common, but didn’t want to give up my sweets and grains.  But recently I’ve been craving carbs — and mostly processed carbs — like there’s no tomorrow and that needs to stop. And the only way that I know of to stop those cravings, is to stop eating sweets and grains cold turkey, at least for awhile.

One caveat:  while I’ll be pretty strict, I likely won’t be “to the letter” Primal.  Meaning, I’m not making all of my own salad dressing or giving up beans and corn and things like that.  Keeping it healthy, though, and staying away from the processed stuff as a main part of any meal.

So tomorrow it starts.  I have planned out a menu for the week which is something I’ve tried to wing on the fly, but never wrote down and so it was easy to ditch the plan (since it wasn’t never really a fully-formed plan) and eat out or eat crap.  But now?  It’s all on paper and ready to go. Set in stone, baby!  I’ve got my shopping list for tomorrow morning and I’m looking forward to some of the food I’m going to be cooking.

I’ve got some other reasons for wanting to try Primal for awhile, but I’m too tired to go into that now.  Nighty-night!  More tomorrow…

Since the whole funeral/bad back/bad cold thing, I’ve been having trouble getting back on track.  I’m doing better, but still not as well as I want to.  So, the top 10 list of notes to myself:

  1. It’s okay to be hungry, Laura.  Honest. It won’t kill you. Only makes you a little cranky, and that just might make people at work stop talking to you. Bonus!
  2. Just because it’s there, you don’t have to eat it.  I’m talking about you, brought-into-the-office Panera bagels.
  3. SLOW DOWN.  It’s not a race.  Well, at least not a race that you’ll get a medal or prize money for winning.
  4. Vegetables.  They’re your friend.
  5. And all those processed carbs you crave?  They aren’t so much your friend.
  6. Stop buying junk food, bringing it into the house, then deciding that you need to eat it all RIGHT NOW to remove the temptation.  Duh.
  7. The dogs won’t mind being walked even though it’s getting chilly outside. Remember the cute hoodies you bought them?  Put them to use. Make all the neighbors jealous with how damn good-looking and stylish your pooches are and how dedicated a dog owner you are, with all the walking in the cold and such.
  8. When you’re almost full, stop eating.  Easy, right?  There’s no need to be a member of the Clean Plate Club — contrary to common Mom-guilt wisdom, this does not help the starving children in Africa.
  9. Don’t avoid the interval workouts just because they hurt because that’s more of a John Mellancamp hurts so good. Which totally rocks, ya know?
  10. JFDI.  That’s all.

I recently came across a series of posts from the AskGeorgie.com website that really resonated with me.  She talked in detail about self-sabotage and how to combat it.


Yes, it’s 6 different posts.  Yes, it’s a bit of reading.  But do you struggle with self-sabotage?  Yes?  Then trust me — it’s worth the time.

For me?  #11 (Limited Opportunity/Scarcity) and #13 (Quantity Saboteurs) are BY FAR my biggest enemies, though — of course — the others all creep in from time to time. I constantly have to fight my brain when it thinks “I MIGHT NEVER GET THIS AGAIN. MUST. EAT. NOW.” and “I MUST FINISH ALL THE ICE CREAM SO IT DOESN’T TEMPT ME EVER AGAIN!!”  Logical fallacies, both of them, but I keep on believing myself when the voices in my head say things like that.

(see?  now you have to go read to know what I’m talking about)

I have to spend a little time thinking on this and doing the homework and then I’ll report back, okay?  You do the same.  I really do think it’s worth the effort.  Every little bit of understanding you can gain about yourself is valuable.

Nothing like a little excitement to spice up an otherwise boring Sunday — severe weather moved through the area and the tornado sirens sent me and the dogs down to the basement. Belle hides in the closet whenever there are storms in the area, and I practically had to carry her downstairs because she was so reluctant to leave her hideaway. 

There was a confirmed tornado touchdown in the town just adjacent to mine, but we came through unscathed, thankfully.  Thoughts and prayers out to those who were affected by the bad weather.

It’s been a mostly lazy week for me — took a few days off and was just a little bit productive (enough so that I didn’t feel guilty for being a sloth the rest of the time).

And the weekly round-up:

Well, through no fault of my own, I dropped almost all of the weight that I put on last week.  Measurements also dropped back down again.  It’s frustrating to have lost time, but I’m pleased with the recovery, especially since I didn’t always turn things around this quickly in the past.  Next week is the end of phase 4, which means photos will have to be taken, so that’s motivation to be extra good this week.

FINALLY working out again!  And feeling pretty good.  I’m a walking collection of sore muscles, but that’s sometimes the best feeling in the world, ya know?  I’ve been kind of babying my back (and – I think – for good reason), but I’m as healthy as can be in terms of my cold and so that won’t be holding me back.

This week was all about the best thing on earth — SLEEP.  I love sleep.  I would marry it if I could.  Because this is a habit I tackled a few years ago, I haven’t had to work too hard at it.  About the only thing that I ought to try is not turning on the TV to fall asleep.  I use it for white noise more than anything (it certainly doesn’t keep me up), but I wonder if the light it throws off makes that sleep less than restful.

Habit Log:
Weeks 1-2: Fish oil and probiotic
Weeks 3-4: Eating slowly
Weeks 5-6: Stop eating at 80% full
Weeks 7-8: Lean protein with every meal
Weeks 9-10: 5 servings of vegetables a day
Weeks 11-12: Make smart carb choices
Weeks 13-14: Plan Meals
Weeks 15-16: Log all food

Week 17:  Create a sleep ritual

My life is like a Go-Go’s song (which is an 80’s all-girl band, for those too young to understand the reference) … “Vacation, all I ever want is… vacation, got to get away…”

I’m taking a few days off work, just because.  My roommate is off on her own vacation, and so I’m doing one of those badly-named “staycations”.  Mostly I’m spending my time doing a whole lot of nothing (except spinning through the deluge of shows on my DVR), which has been extraordinarily nice.  Tomorrow I might be productive.  Or not.

Got a workout in this morning — did the LE workout that was assigned, though only the minimum number of sets and fairly easy weights.  Felt good to sweat again, though my back isn’t completely happy with what I did (I’m telling it that it’s fine, though).

Belle and Clarke don’t have sleep issues

But the best part about the time off?  The ability to sleep in and not wake up to an alarm clock at some ungodly early hour of the morning.  Oh, and I can stay up past 9pm, even! I’m living the life, I’m tellin’ ya.  And without the alarm blaring, I’ll easily sleep 9-10 hours unless the dogs have other ideas (Clarke is lazy — he’ll let me sleep — but Belle is an early riser like I usually am).

Makes me wonder what life would be like if I always got to sleep without a schedule. Would I eventually settle in at a nice, 8 hours of sleep a night?  Or more?  It’d be an interesting experiment, but one that will probably have to wait until retirement. Or wait until my employer decides that 6 weeks of vacation time (instead of the max of 3) is deserved so I can take a month off.  Or maybe I could go into academics so I could take a sabbatical?  (“Thanks for hiring me!  I’m going to take the semester off for my sabbatical…”)