Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Food feelings.

So, in my last post, I talked about what I've learned about food... And what I do about food. The logistics. Reading back though, I don't want to leave some impression like I think I'm little miss know-it-all now or like its not still a daily concerted effort for me. I'm not craving bad things and I prefer good things... But it's not always that simple.
Those that know me know I love to cook. I published my first cookbook in 2011! I think I fell in love with cooking because its one of the ways I show affection. I work long and hard on a recipe and then grin from ear to ear while my loved ones eat it. I still feel that way about food. That's one thing.
Another thing is that I'm not a bachelorette. I have picky twin toddlers who have inherited my gluten intolerance and a husband who has no known food allergies but hates things like raw tomatoes. It's a tough crowd. With GF toddlers, I was spending upwards of $140 dollars a month just on bread for them. Early this summer, I bought a bread machine and got to work trying to perfect a recipe that would please all and not cut so deeply into mommy's shoe fund.
I finished this loaf tonight:

To me, it's like art. A labor of love. Smelling the fresh bread, the twins were begging for toast. That made my night. I love it when they love something I worked so hard on.
Anyway, my point is, while its great that I now know so much more about food and what works and doesn't work for my body, I still FEEL about food. That can be a complication... So again, it's all about planning. I thought I'd allow myself a thin slice of bread. I made toast for the boys and obligingly cut the crusts off. I nibbled on the discarded crusts and then sort of checked in with myself. That hit the spot for me, so I didn't end up having a slice. Just taking pause rather than eating without thinking is my new and best survival skill.
Then I grabbed a few celery stalks as a snack and sat down to watch SYTYCD with my little dudes. They love to dance! Xander asked for a bite of my snack.

Here he is sort of zoned out chomping on veggies in between dance moves. I was so happy to see this! Now that they see me with veggies all the time, they're taking risks and finding that they like the occasional "mommy snack". How cool is that?
So with lots of us in the house... There are lots of different foods in the house. The temptations are there for sure. I think I had become one of those people who eat their feelings. When I was sad, stressed, angry, bored... I'd eat. It was somehow comforting to me. Food was also a reward for most everything. Yay! I got a promotion! Lets have cake! Wow, I worked out! I deserve Skittles... Now, if I want something, I stop to think about why. Am I actually hungry? Is there something going on with me I need to address or is it just that it smells like fresh bread and I want in on it?
For me, breaking habits around my relationship with food has been the most impactful. That mixed with a solid 8 weeks of pushing the bad out was just the combination of choices I needed to create change.
I don't feel the need to deprive myself... Especially when I'm not feeling guilt about food. Getting my emotional connection to food in order was hard, but necessary. Not to make excuses, but I just think that food dependencies are some of the hardest to get a handle on. If you're addicted to a substance, you can try to quit cold turkey. You can't quit eating food... There is no spa-like celebrity rehab center for food addicts. I think we all have our own demons to face. That said, I hope this post helps give you encouragement if you need it.

Sorry for typos!
Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, August 26, 2013

Love what's good for you (the one about food).

A couple of friends have asked me to talk about food. I know it's been awhile since I brought it up. I guess it just isn't taking up much thought these days. Here's the skinny: 

This isn't rocket surgery. At the risk of over-simplification, I'll give you the secret. Your body is a machine. Depending on what you eat, your body will reset it's chemistry to compensate. Hence the cliché "you are what you eat". The systems in your body are lazy at heart, so when you change your diet, rather than magically resetting your chemical balance, it tries to coax you into eating what it's used to so it can rest on it's haunches. Get it? So, what happens is, your body craves what it's used to. Eat sugar? Ever try avoiding for a couple of days? Yeah. You get what I'm saying. 

So, the trick is, quell the cravings. The reason that dieting doesn't work is that it's non-commital. You're half-assing the idea of change and throwing your body for a loop. Temporary change does not equate to longterm success. It just doesn't. If you are successful in losing some weight on a diet, statists show (like me) you will most likely gain it back when you go back to the lifestyle that made you heavier to begin with. 1+1 still = 2, you know? Gaining weight back after a diet is the WORST thing. You torture yourself and fight craving after craving... for what? Nothing. Yeah. No thanks. 

The easiest way to get healthy is to... well...  make it easy on yourself. To get rid of cravings, you need to commit. Get through the hard part. I've read and heard all kinds of statistics around how long it takes to detox or reset your cravings. I think it's different for everybody. For me, it took a month. (28 to great, anyone??). After 4 weeks of eating whole foods, I wasn't craving anything other than whole foods. The cravings were gone, but my preferences were still the same... meaning, I ate kale because I knew I should, but I would have preferred mac & cheese. That's the danger zone. That is why I failed and fell back into old habits after 28 days. My body was just waiting for me to slip up... jerk.  

When I got back on the wagon and decided to fully commit, I knew I couldn't give up right when I was on a roll. Miraculously, after two months, my preferences changed. Not only were cravings for bad foods gone, but I was literally craving kale salad and green tea. 8 weeks was enough time for my lazy self-saboteur body to get with the program and reset. Ever since then, it's been easy. I'm not on a diet. I just live a healthy lifestyle. I eat what I love... and I love what's good for me. 

Sadie Lincoln talks a lot about gaining body wisdom. For me, that wasn't possible until after the 8 weeks as far as food is concerned. Now, I can objectively have a little cheese and just see. I found that I don't love how it makes me feel. It's super easy to tell what serves me and what doesn't when I'm eating clean. I feel like I can maintain this way of being for life. That is the key to success. Something sustainable. Something you'll enjoy! 

So, what DO I eat? 

Whole foods! It's pretty simple really. If it came off the plant that way, it's a whole food. If it's in a package, it probably isn't... but there are things like corn tortillas, salsa, hummus, guac... that are. 5 ingredients is a good number to cut it off at. The big key is balancing your portions. Here's a cheat sheet. I have healthy fat in every meal too. It keeps me satisfied. 

I still use a lot of the Barre3 recipes as a go-to. Most mornings, I have the Barre3 Muesli. If I get to have breakfast first thing, I love it. I've learned now that I don't feel as good if I eat grains later in the day, so if I have an early class or a meeting at work, I might just grab a Lara Bar and then have scrambled eggs with chicken sausage and avocado at lunchtime. I love breakfast food, so that's always a priority in my day.  

I love kale salad along with protein. I've been picking up rotisserie chickens from New Seasons once a week or so and just picking off of them for a few days. It's my new definition of fast food. 

I like to get my husband to BBQ something. He's a grill master, so there is no wrong answer. I love flank steak with grilled veggie kabobs. Trader Joes has some premade ones with onion, pepper, zucchini, and mushrooms. Yum! 

A snack for me might be marcona almonds, goat cheese, and cucumber slices... something like that. A Kind Bar on the go. Apple slices with peanut butter... 

Yes. My excuse for pigging out on sweets was always "If I die tomorrow, I'm going to kick myself for not eating that _____." I still fundamentally believe in indulging now and then in moderation. As for sweets, I recommend being realistic and planning ahead. If you have bad-for-you sweets in the house and no good-for-you sweets, you're walking into a bear trap. Even though my heinous cravings are gone, something sweet is still necessary from time to time! I keep dark chocolate almonds on hand. Coconut bliss ice cream (non-dairy and agave sweetened) is a favorite in our house. Even fizzy water with lime does the trick sometimes! Tea with local honey or agave. Just have a plan! 

What DON'T I eat? 

Sugar. I cook with maple syrup or agave and put coconut sugar in my coffee. I still love sweets, but I don't feel like the craving controls me anymore. Yay! 


Chemicals. Period. Nothing I can't pronounce. Nothing "diet" or "sugar-free". 

What do I eat ONCE IN A WHILE? 

Coffee... I still drink coffee, but certainly less of it. My deal with myself is coffee before 10 am if at all. Tea any other time. I'm down to 2 or 3 cups a week at most. From a body wisdom perspective, I don't love how it makes me feel. 

Dairy... once in a while Gorgonzola just makes the recipe... or a little feta on taco night. I like to use whole milk plain yogurt in place of sour cream. Great on lentil soup! In small doses, now and then. 

Wine. Just now and then. On average, I have a glass every couple of weeks. 

Going Out
Restaurants are not created equally. Salads are usually a universally safe bet. Ask lots of questions! A lot of restaurants these days have their menus online. I like to peek ahead to make sure there is a good option. 

Plan your indulgences. If you're going to splurge, make it the best you can! Last night, I knew I was going out to eat with my bestie. I got to pick the place, so I chose my favorite restaurant, Meriwether's in Portland. It's farm-to-table, so most everything on the menu is fair game. We split this: 

Isn't it beautiful? Summer squash risotto with parmesan and a balsamic reduction. I started with a kale salad and some yummy aps including stuffed dates and crab deviled eggs. I even treated myself to some bubbly! All went into my Myfitnesspal ap and fell within my goal for the day. 

Other tips
Keep track! One dark chocolate almond can turn into 5 pretty fast if I'm not paying attention. I am loving using Myfitnesspal.com to track my day. It keeps me accountable and makes me really think about my choices. Usually with sweets, start with a bite or two and see how you feel. For me, that is almost always enough. 

You will be surprised how easy it is to eat well when you get into the swing of it. 

Already doing it? I would love to hear what's working for you! 

Other questions about food? Ask away! 


My kale salad recipe: 

I like to make this in double batches. It's even better the next day! 

1 bunch kale
a sea salt grinder
1/4 C diced red onion 
1/3 C golden raisins 
3/4 C diced apple (about a half an apple)
1/3 raw sunflower seeds - toast them fresh in a little bit of EVOO and add them in warm!
1/4 C extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbs unfiltered apple cider vinegar
1/3 C goat cheese crumbles 
edible flowers for garnish - I like pansies! 

This recipe is all about the method. Wash your kale, shaking off the water, leaving it just a bit damp. Then de-stem and chop into big bite size pieces. Put it all into a large bowl and grind up about a tsp of sea salt on top. (For an extra touch, use edible flower sea salt (Trader Joe's has it seasonally). Massage the salt into the kale for about 2 minutes. This helps soften the kale and get it ready to soak in all the flavor to come! 
In a smal saute pan, start heating your raw sunflower seeds in just a splash if EVOO. Stir occasionally until toasted. 
Meanwhile, add in your onion, raisins, and apple. Stir. Add your Olive Oil and Cider Vinegar and massage in for about 2 minutes until kale is evenly saturated. 
When your seeds are nice and toasty, add them on top while still warm and stir in. 
Stir in your goat cheese crumbles and garnish with pansies. 

Serve right away or refrigerate. This lasts in the fridge for a few days and just gets better! 

At least plan bee has a great soundtrack.

Sometimes listening to my body is the hardest part.

Last night I went to see one of my all time favorite bands. Pinback. They were so good - as always. The venue was small and the sound was great. It's a best case scenario.

The one bummer, that right knee that I tweaked in class yesterday was just getting worse. I felt a little bit like an old lady standing in the crowd. I decided to cancel my class today. I was so looking forward to it. Foundations with Heidi would have been great... but alas, I have to listen to my body. It's really annoying to face the fact that I'm not totally invincible.

So plan B, or bee as it were... I'm elevating and sipping on anti-inflammation tea with a little local honey to quell the sniffles, and listening to Pinback. I'm planning on doing 10 minute videos throughout the day.

PS: If you haven't heard Pinback, you're totally missing out. Here are some of my favs:

Proceed to Memory

True North


Good to Sea


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Leading (myself) by example.

Did anyone go to Barre3 in the park last Sunday? It was about the coolest thing ever. 300 + people, many new to Barre3, getting their 'quakes' on in the sun. More on the Barre3 Blog if you missed it. Here's a rad aerial shot:

I'll give you a dollar if you can find me. :) 

Anyway, something Sadie said during that workout really stuck with me. To paraphrase, she talked about the inevitability of her growing up with a love of fitness because of watching her Mom. Her Mom had done daily yoga practice in her bedroom and had lived a fit lifestyle. 

I would love for my boys to grow up not really knowing a life without fitness. More so, wellness. They see me doing my b3 videos all the time now, and at the age of just 2, it's plausible that they won't ever remember the old version of me. It makes me so excited to think that just by my example, they might grow up with a healthy appreciation for their own bodies. They might live longer lives all because of the changes that I am making right now. They might grow up to be Sadie Lincolns. 

As wonderful as that idea is... and it truly is wonderful... there are still days when I waver, you know? Days when I wake up and I'm just not feelin' it. Today I woke up and felt a little under the weather. My first reaction was, well, I guess I won't go to my 10:00 class. Deciding to suck it up, I went to get dressed in to my workout clothes, reaching for my favorite top. I figured, it's impossible to be grumpy in hot pink, right? I had it halfway over my head before I realized that the dryer had eaten one of the straps and ruined it. Well, (said my inner monologue) I guess I can't go now. Jumping that mental hurdle, I put on a sub par top and went anyway. On the days I really just don't want to (which are few and far between lately) I look forward to that feeling of accomplishment at the end. That got me out the door and in the car. In class, I tweaked my knee somehow. Instead of leaving feeling proud of myself, I gingerly hobbled out on a bum knee worrying about the rest of my day. The upside, my legs are so much stronger now that it is pretty easy to just shift my weight and keep going. 

As I sit here typing (knee icing and elevated) I know I'll make it to class tomorrow. You know how I know? Because I've done it before. I modify around a sore knee and usually feel better afterward. Now that I've been doing Barre3 steadily for some months, I can look back and see progress. I can see myself getting stronger. Taking better care of my body. Gaining body wisdom. As much as I want to be a great example for my family, I think the secret to that success is becoming a great example for myself first. 

Even as I had thoughts of doubt this morning, I knew I'd go... because past behavior is the best predictor of future success. 

Proving to myself that I'm capable of change is my biggest accomplishment in this life. I can't wait to see where this road leads. 


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Everything is a barre.

Luckily, everything is a barre. Tonight, my hubby was feeling ill so I took the twins on a tour de playgrounds around the neighborhood. I did 10 minutes at the preschool with this platform:

It was the perfect height for the NYC workout. I got a strange look from another Mom, but then took the opportunity to tell her all about b3, show her a video on my phone, and let her try it with me. Then the boys and I headed up to the elementary school for some extra cardio on the big play structure.

I used a plastic rock wall for support during a stretch series and the twins tried to copy me. We made a game of it. Whatever works, right?

Hope you're enjoying your weekend!


Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Ouch... and my love/hate relationship with the scale.

Oh my gosh you guys. I was SO sore this morning. Holy canole! Seriously, I woke up at like 3 am to go to the restroom and almost couldn't get out of bed. Wild!

Loads of stretching today and a stroll with the family this evening did the trick. Check out this picture from our sunset walk:

The smoke from all the wildfires is doing craycray things to the sky. It's surreal. My heart goes out to all effected by the fires. I'm praying for a little rain to help out the fire fighters.

So - I've been using Myfitnesspal.com to track my progress this past week or so. It's pretty great. If you haven't tried it, check it out. It's free. You log your food and activity each day. It also tracks your weight and water intake... all kinds of stuff. For a long time, I wasn't weighing myself everyday because my weight fluctuates SO much that it can be really demotivating. Then my friend Robyn gave me another perspective. She weighs herself every morning. She says she knows if she doesn't want to, she did something she knows she shouldn't. It's her way of keeping herself accountable to... well... herself. I loved that. I'm not a baby. I can handle a day when I'm inexplicably 3 pounds heavier. Using Myfitness pal, I can watch my little graph over time and at least see that I'm trending down. Here's my graph for this week:

Slowly, that line is gonna go down. 

Somehow, this graph makes it all seem more clinical and less emotional. Another fun side effect of weighing daily is the feeling of pride I get on the mornings I have nothing to fear. Then even when I'm up a little, I know it's not a trend. 

To each their own, but this is my new favorite thing. I can't wait to see my graph a month from now. 


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Overdoing it.

Ok, total amateur hour over here. I have unlimited classes this month so instead of going to the studio once or twice a week, I thought... might as well make the most of this month, right? Yeah. So. I had my 4th studio class in a row today and struggled through it. My muscles were failing right and left, especially core. 3 in a row is my max.

There isn't enough epsom salt in the free world to help me now! I think my only hope is to keep moving until bedtime and then do a lot of stretching along with a big girl dose of Advil.

I'm still totally proud of myself... but yeah. One of the main goals of Barre3 is to gain body wisdom. I have learned where the threshold is, so I've got that going for me.

Hope you're having a great day!


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

I've cracked the code!

Hi friends,

Good news - I've cracked the code. I struggled and beat myself up for weeks after I backslide post 28 to Great. 28 days was just enough to rid me of sugar cravings and let me see and FEEL results. Sadly though, it wasn't long enough to change my preferences or my core belief system.

I'll tell you what though, 7 weeks. That's enough. Maybe 8. Since I got back on the proverbial wagon in April, I've been keeping up with my online workouts... ish... and eating healthy-ish. I hadn't put on anymore weight, but I hadn't lost the handful of pounds I'd gained back either. I decided that I needed to do something more structured again. I totally loved 28 to great, so I just used that model. I followed the portion Rx from the Barre3 blog and committed to working out at least 10 minutes a day, 6 days a week. (Sorry I haven't been blogging through it! I am working on a novel and only have so much time to write anything with the twins!)

This time, when I got near the month mark, I knew I wasn't ready to "quit". I'd been following all the food rules, but at that point, I would have rather still had cake than kale... coffee than tea... bread than protein... I was making good choices because I had committed to, but not because I wanted to. The thing is, I can't let there be an end date.

In week 4, I finally faced my fear of the awkwardness of group fitness and went to a class in studio for the first time. All my fears were realized. I was the chubbiest girl in class. I got weirdly sweaty when everyone else looked cool. I tripped over my own feet. All of it. You know what though? It was fine. No one cared. I confessed that it was my first class and got tons of support and even complimented by a skinny little Lululemon model-looking 20something. It turns out, just like everything else in life, the anticipation is always worse than the thing itself. After that, I was going to class twice a week and working out online the other 4 days. The workout in studio is my new favorite thing. Even though it's way harder than working out at home, it's also so much more grounding and centering. At home, I'm distracted by the dirty floor or the phone... the kids... whatever. In class I just focus. It's a beautiful thing.

Anyway, I digress...

So, now I'm about 9 weeks in to it. I've lost the weight I gained back and I feel awesome. I still have 35 to go. The miracle is, now I KNOW I can get there. Somewhere around the 7 week mark, my preferences changed. I genuinely prefer tea to coffee and kale salad to mac and cheese. 28 days wasn't long enough to create a fundamental change in me. 7 weeks... that was enough. I went to a wedding last weekend and set down a 1/2 full glass of wine in favor of water. I preferred it. Today at class (I'm going to 5 this week), I looked around at all the perfect bodies and realized for the first time that they are no different from me. They just figured it out sooner... that's all.

I'm excited to see where another 8 weeks will take me.

I know I'm sort of rambling now so I'll conclude by just encouraging you not to give up. Whatever your goal is, I want you to know that it's possible. I believe that completely.

If you don't believe me, follow the Barre3 rules for 7 or 8 weeks and then let's talk.