Holiday week, and all the food and indulging that goes along with it.  Oh, and the requisite illness that also seems to go along with the holidays.  Christmas Eve and Day were a good time spent with family, though I could have done without the cold/sinus infection that made me pretty miserable.

Really the most notable thing about this week is that it’s the week before the halfway point, which means pictures and skinfold measurements.  Yikes.  I’m really not ready for that.

Measurements
Weight is — remarkably, for everything I ate — about the same as last week.  Measurements are down a touch.  Will wonders ever cease?

Workouts
Um, yea.  Didn’t really happen.  Between being festive and being sick, I did little more than strength train once or twice.  Totally getting back into it.  Really.  I mean it this time.

Habits
Did I tell y’all about the new habit?  I don’t think I did… so, the new habit is to eat nothing but whole foods for two weeks.  My diet on the whole is pretty clean, though I can’t say that I eat nothing but whole foods.  Aside from the holidays, I’ve been trying to do this for at least two of three meals for the day.  It’s hard to do this 100% — and except for a two-week experiment, I don’t think it’s something that fits into my lifestyle.

Intermittent Fasting
I’ve fallen off this wagon a bit, though I still do it at least a few days a week.  I still think this is beneficial for me.

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
Weeks 17-18: Create a sleep ritual
Weeks 19-20: Drink only zero calorie beverages
Weeks 21-22: Use targeted recovery strategies

Week 23:  Eat only whole foods

It’s been a not-bad kind of week.  Kind of flew by, but I’m looking at the next few days off, which makes me happy. And it’s funny because while, sure, I like not having to work, the thing that I most look forward to on days off is simply being able to sleep in.  My normal 4:30am alarm time is just way too early for anyone to have to be conscious (and if it matters, my dogs totally agree with me).

Cone off for a quick picture.  Note the festive,
holiday-themed wrapping on his tail.

My Cone of Shame dog is causing less trouble, though he’s still pretty ticked off about having to wear the headgear.  Too bad he’s completely untrustworthy to be left unsupervised without it for more than 20 seconds at a time.  I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again — he’s very lucky he’s so damn cute.

So – a review of the last week before the holidays are in full swing:

Measurements:
Good news here — everything edged down a bit.  My goal of being down 10 pounds by Christmas Eve is possible, as long as I don’t go crazy the next two days.  I’ve got about a pound to go … I’ll hit it!  On another note, I’ll say that I’ve noticed a certain shift in my body composition.  My measurements have gone down, but it’s more than that — it’s like the fat that’s still there is readjusting itself in a more aesthetically pleasing form.  It could all be mental tricks my head is playing on me, but I’ll take it.

Workouts:
Finally I’m getting back at this after almost 2 weeks of being a sloth.  Luckily for me, this was a recovery week, so I was able to fit in all the workouts in the last few days.  Feels good to be strength training again — how often do I have to say this before it motivates me to get off my butt?

Intermittent Fasting:
I’m officially quitting the Primal experiment, but the IF is here to stay.  It’s been a revelation to me and I’m pleased with the results I’m getting.  It really makes me far more mindful of the difference between real hunger and wanting to eat due to boredom/emotional angst/habit.  Also a good lesson in how being hungry won’t kill me (I know!).

Habit:
All about recovery these past two weeks — let’s just say that I’m looking forward to a new habit.  I’ll revisit the idea of BCAA’s after workouts when I feel like I’m doing workouts that warrant special recovery supplements.

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
Weeks 17-18: Create a sleep ritual
Weeks 19-20: Drink only zero calorie beverages
Weeks 21-22: Use targeted recovery strategies

Posting has been a little light around here lately — with the cold weather, I oftentimes have dogs snuggling with me rather than my laptop keeping me company.  And who can say no to doggie snuggles?  I certainly can’t.  I’m a pushover like that.

Enough of the excuses (well, there will be more down below, but you’ll get to those parts soon enough…), let’s review, shall we?

Measurements:
A flip of last week — weight stayed about the same and measurements dropped a little bit. I’m determined to make it to the 10 pounds down mark by Christmas.  It’s my gift to myself.

Workouts:
Bad week for me.  Because Clarke the Brainiac Tail-Chewing Dog needs constant supervision, I haven’t really been working out (see, another excuse). I kind of miss it, though I have to admit that being lazy suits my personality as well (though that’s how I got into this mess to begin with!).  

Primal(ish) and Intermittent Fasting:
The Primal thing hasn’t really stuck, to be honest.  I’m still paying more attention to eating clean, but I find myself bored by the whole meat/vegetable thing (excuse #2).  On the other hand, IF is working out really well.  I don’t even really think about it much anymore, it just happens anyway.  I don’t do it everyday — usually schedule-dependent — but do it most days and am finding that it really cuts down on the eating-for-no-reason noshing. 

Habits:
The whole targeted recovery thing is the habit this week, and I can’t say that I’m doing a whole lot with it.  I am foam rolling and stretching more — especially important because my lower back has been a bit sore — but haven’t really done anything else.  Of course, I haven’t been actually working out, so there’s no need to do anything to recover from nothing, right?

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
Weeks 17-18: Create a sleep ritual
Weeks 19-20: Drink only zero calorie beverages

Week 21:  Use targeted recovery strategies

On their best behavior while I was working.
You can barely see the bandages on his tail.

Okay, okay… so I’m a few days late.  It’s been a weird week, made weirder by my weird dog that chewed a chunk off of his tail which required a vet visit.  The best part is that now he gets to wear a Donut of Shame (much like the Cone of Shame, but a little more dog-friendly).

Now that all of us Lean Eaters are into the swing of eating healthy and working out on a regular basis, the next step is to start thinking about recovering from those workouts to maximize the gains we’re working so hard to get.

PN lays out three strategies:

  1. Take BCAAs after workouts
  2. Eat an LE-friendly postworkout meal
  3. Do another form of purposeful recovery
I’m not entirely sure what I make of #1.  I know I made a promise to keep an open mind about anything that the program throws at me, but I’m feeling some resistance and push-back from my head on this one.  Mostly it’s saying:  “But you don’t work out hard enough to warrant supplements!”.  So, I don’t know.  I haven’t run out to buy any to try out yet, so that gives you an idea of where I stand on that at the moment.

(to be fair, I’m working from home this week, so aside from the vet visit, I haven’t actually left the house once, so a run to get supplements isn’t in the future)

The other two?  Sure, they make sense to me.  Eating a good protein + smart carbs after working out is something that I’ve had in my bag of tricks for awhile now.  And as far as #3 goes, more recovery in the form of stretching, foam rolling, meditation, etc can never hurt.

I’m not convinced about the BCAAs but I’m going to noodle the idea around for awhile and once I decide to leave the house, maybe I’ll swing by my local GNC and pick up a bottle just to try it out.  I’m not paying money for coaching advice to ignore it — I need to keep reminding myself of that.


Between the Christmas music in every store and commercial, and the frigid weather outside, the holiday season is in full swing.  Along with that are the dinners out, the drinks with friends and the holiday goodies at every turn.  This is certainly a challenging time to stick to healthy eating, but if I can do it now, I can do it anytime, right? This week has been pretty good overall — tinkering with my eating habits has been fun. I’m a living, breathing science experiment with n=1, and it’s interesting enough to keep me focused on doing things the right way (for the time being… the Christmas treats haven’t been substantially tempting yet…).

Let’s review, shall we?

Measurements:
Weight is down as low as it’s been since I started Lean Eating.  YAY.  Even though I’ve been doing Intermittent Fasting this week, I was surprised because I’m also dealing with hormones which historically don’t play nice with the scale.  Measurements are the same, but hopefully they’ll nudge down next week.

Workouts:
The new set of workouts that were assigned two weeks ago are KILLER.  There are fewer exercises, but they’re harder and I’m pushing more weight. After the 30-40 minutes it takes me to complete them, I’m absolutely dripping with sweat. Which is all sorts of awesome.

Primal(ish) and Intermittent Fasting (IF) experiment:
Like I was saying the other day, the Primal experiment has definitely had a good dose of the “(ish)” in it.  The new Belgium waffle maker in the house has been a huge downfall (there always seems to be already-made waffle batter waiting in the fridge for me, too) and I’m just trying to contain the damage.  Other than that, though, I’ve been eating pretty clean and with an eye towards being Primal(ish).  IF has been going really well and has been quite an eye-opener for me. I’m naturally eating less and not having to think about having healthy snacks available is one less thing to worry about. I think IF has a good chance of becoming part of my lifestyle.

Habits:
Still doing the “drink no calories” thing.  I’m ready for it to be over so I can taste the Vanilla Cinnamon Bailey’s that I bought on impulse today. I mean, how could that be bad, right?  


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

Weeks 17-18: Create a sleep ritual
Weeks 19-20: Drink only zero calorie beverages

IF, what?  Intermittent Fasting, of course.

So, I’ve been experimenting the last few days and I’ve come to some interesting conclusions.  But first, some of the reasons that I decided to give this a try:

  1. Just like with Primal(ish) eating, there’s a ton of anecdotal evidence out there that shows people not only lose weight using this tactic, but gain control over their hunger as well.
  2. It simplifies life — by fasting from dinner until my mid-morning breakfast, I no longer have to find something in the house to eat in the evening, and I can forgo my protein shake in the morning (or whatever I have for my “first” breakfast of the day).
  3. It simplifies decisions — is it after dinner?  Then, no, I cannot have a snack.  Is it 10am yet?  Then no, I can’t eat whatever might be laying around the office.
  4. It’s a very black and white strategy, which might prove useful for this very black and white girl.
  5. Curiosity.  It may have killed the cat, but hey, who likes cats anyway? (I kid! I kid! All you cat lovers out there don’t come after me…)
There are a couple of different methods of IF.  You can do anything from a full 24 to 36 hour fast every few days to doing it the way I chose to — a 14-16 hour fast by eating dinner and then not eating breakfast until mid-morning the next day.

I was a little dubious going into it — I had always bought into the “eat every few hours” advice that’s been floating around for ages now because it seemed to make sense.  I mean, it seemed like every time I ate a little meal, it wouldn’t be long before I was hungry again and looking for food.  So how would I be able to go that long without any food?  To give you an idea, when doing the food every few hours thing, I’d often eat right before bed and still wake up hungry (whether or not that was exacerbated by poor food choices, I won’t touch on right now).

The first night it was difficult to not snack in the evening — it was habit to have something to nom on while I was watching TV, reading or working on my computer.  But I’ll tell you — it felt good to abstain, especially since I knew I had enough for dinner and shouldn’t need anything more.

The next morning I woke up a little hungry, but not as bad as usual.  And all morning my stomach was a little grumbly, but if I was busy working on something, I didn’t even really notice.  Turns out that waiting until 9:30am or so to eat (depending on what time I finished dinner, of course) wasn’t all that difficult.  

And then once I did have that meal — and it was fairly substantial (eggs, piece of fruit and some cottage cheese) — I wasn’t really hungry until lunch rolled around.  Of course, by this time I’m not technically in the “fasting” stage, but it wasn’t hard not to snack between meals.  And if I’m not snacking because I’m not hungry, then those are calories that I didn’t need anyway that I’m not consuming (did you follow that?).  #FTW

I’ve been keeping track of my weight, and it’s been slowly inching down.  Perhaps this might be a strategy that helps me reach my goal?  It’d be nice if it was, because it’s not all that difficult to implement and — ironically — I don’t feel like it’s at all restrictive.  All I have to do is not eat when I’m not supposed to. Even my pea-brain can handle that.

As a footnote, I’m more “-ish” than Primal these days.  Perhaps I didn’t give it a fair shot, but I really do feel more satisfied when I add some carbs into my diet.  For what it’s worth, they are mostly “smart” carbs (fruit, sweet potatoes, more complete grains like quinoa and wild rice) and I’m otherwise eating pretty clean.  There’s something to be said for feeling satiated, which strictly Primal doesn’t seem to do for me.

So – onward.  I’ll keep tweaking what I’m doing, figuring out what works for me and what doesn’t.  In LE terms, I’m starting to write my owner’s manual, documenting how I run best (though I think that’s a book that will never have a “The End” tacked onto it… well, at least not until I cease to need an owner’s manual…).


I suppose this is the Thanksgiving edition of my weekly review, eh?  It’s been a weird week, with having the one day off in the middle of everything.  While I prefer the weeks with the days off and such, it’ll also be nice to get back to normal for a few weeks before the Christmas holidays come around in earnest.

Measurements:
Weight is a tick down, measurements were pretty much the same.  Things were going well and then I hit the Thanksgiving roadblock.  That’s okay — nothing went UP so I’ll take it.  Now’s the time to get serious, though, before all the good holiday food starts popping up left and right.

Workouts:
We got a new set of workouts which are different from what we’ve had so far.  This time around the workouts are set up as more of a progression — each week we are supposed to try and lift more in fewer reps to build strength. Personally, I’m a person who likes to push heavy stuff around, so I like those kinds of sets (of course, my lower back isn’t such a fan, though).  And the interval workouts up the ante as well:  a full minute of work with only a minute of recovery (see what I did there?).

Primal Experiment:
This has been okay.  For the first part of the week, I was really good.  Since Thanksgiving, I’ve been mostly good.  My roommate got a Belgium waffle maker at a black Friday sale and what can I say — it’d be rude not to eat what she’s cooking, right?  But really, aside from that, I’ve been pretty on target.  I think this is really going to help kick start some weight loss. 

I’m also considering tossing in another aspect of Primal — intermittent fasting (IF) — where you fast anywhere from 16 to 24 or 36 hours, but otherwise take in as many calories as you usually would.  IF has a lot of anecdotal evidence that it does a lot of good things for you, both physical and mental.  LE’s take on IF is here  — John Beradi, the top dog of Precision Nutrition, is a proponent of IF, though he says it’s just another tool that may or may not work for people. So – I’m curious.  More on this later.

Habits:
This week started a new habit of not drinking calories.  Aside from a few glasses of wine with Thanksgiving dinner, I’ve been good about this.  The next step will be seeing if I can ditch my morning Diet Pepsi to see if that plays a role in the sugar/carb cravings I still seem to be having.

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

Week 19:  Drink only zero calorie beverages