Saturday, January 18, 2014

Day 13: West Marin Ride

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You may have heard that we are in a bit of a drought here in sunny California. I think it's rained once since November. The weather has been spring-like, clear and in the 70's. It sure doesn't feel like winter. So today, I took advantage.

I was up early to meet the Marin Tri Club folks for a 25 mile ride described as, "good if you haven't been on your bike in a while." Yep, that's me. I've been on a spin bike and rode the few miles to my gym and back, but I haven't done anything more since my Turkey Roll ride on Thanksgiving.

Breakfast: HeartThrive energy bar (apple)

We hit the road by 9:20, leaving out of Nicasio, a picture perfect town in West Marin, and heading toward Point Reyes, even more of a quaint, country cottage town. We rode the 10 miles to Point Reyes and, while the cardio was no issue, my legs were burning. They're out of practice. We re-grouped in Point Reyes and had some decision-making to do. The group decided to ride back to Nicasio and then do a repeat of the out/back, which would total about 40 miles.

I was only looking to do about 25. Plus I wanted a bit of a change of scenery, so I decided to split from the group and ride further on toward the visitor's center. But first, a group shot before we departed.

Me, Croco, Nancy, Carlos and Gioia
This was the first time I met Carlos, who runs Novato Adventure Boot Camp where a lot of these ladies go to keep their bodies tuned up, and Elise (Elise took the picture). Hi you two!

Anyway, I cycled off on my own, enjoying the relaxation that comes from setting my own pace without a care in the world. When I was nearing the visitor's center I saw a sign toward Limantour Beach - 8 miles. I sort of knew I wasn't going to make it the whole way but wanted to take a peek. I stopped near a sign and had to settle for a selfie being I was all alone.

Lucky girl, I am!

I started down Limantour road, I had no idea what it was like. But I found out. Flat at first, and then it started climbing. And climbing. And climbing. It wasn't steep, thankfully, but it just didn't let up. I gave up on going the 8 miles and decided to settle for a view of the water. Any water. I took in the serene, quiet beauty of the ride. Cool, clear, only birds and the sound of my wheels on the road.

Just me and the open road.
I pedaled and pedaled and finally saw a tourist sign on the sign of the road. That must mean a view of something.

A view of Tomales Bay

That was all I needed to feel satisfied and turned back toward Nicasio. I'd ridden 13 miles. When I got back to Point Reyes I stopped for a snack.

Some of my choices at Toby's Feed Barn
Whole foods!
Snack: Banana, almonds

After the break I got back on my bike for the 10 or so miles back to Nicasio. There were so many cyclists on the road it was almost like an amusement park. I felt so much gratitude in being out there with them all. This is why I do it. For days like this. And to fit into my skinny jeans.

Back to my car for a stretch and another snack. 27.41 miles in 2 hours, 15 minutes. Woo-hoo!

Snack: Apple, 2 rice cakes

A few Garmin snaps for your review.

12.1 mph average - I'll take it!

Yep, that was a hill alright.
Gorgeous day! Full Garmin stats here.

And then on to the rest of my day. I had some shopping to do but found myself getting hungry so I stopped for lunch at the Whole Foods salad bar.

Lunch: pea spinach soup and a small salad with pulled pork.

Then a good amount of shopping before heading out to dinner. Japanese...yum!

Dinner: a wide assortment of sushi, sashimi, and you name it, I had some.

There you have it. My day, in a nutshell. And now, I'm done. Tired. Pooped. Headed to bed. And I am going to sleep in tomorrow. Late.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Day 12: Lemon Poppy goodness

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Whoops! Forgot to post this last night. Better late than never, right?

Breakfast: Oatmeal (1/2 cup dry) with a fried egg

I had that hungry feeling all morning. The one where you feel like you're going to need to eat and eat and eat and not be satisfied. By 9:30am I felt like I needed another meal.

Snack: Banana, almonds, 2 brown rice cakes, orange.

That sort of did the trick. It got me to lunch anyway. I was on the road most of the day for work and hadn't packed a lunch. I stopped in at the same natural grocery store as yesterday, The Golden Carrot. In Thursday's post I'd forgotten to tell you about the bar (I just went and added it - it was the Lemon Poppy flavor). Today I got apple and a cranberry flavors too. I know these fall into the "processed" category but the ingredients are so wholesome and they are made locally.

Lunch: HeartThrive bar, lemon poppy

They are so yummy and satisfying. I'm posting the pics again. If you happen upon these I suggest trying them. They are made by The Healthy Baking Company and I'm seriously considering ordering some direct (you have to buy them by the dozen I think).

More driving, more snacking:

Snack: last piece of spicy hot beef jerky

I went to the gym after work and did another 4.5 mile run. My pace was 9:47, six seconds slower than last week, and I was super, super happy with that. It means it wasn't a total fluke!

After the run I did chest/triceps/PT and added in more core exercises. I'm having this pain in my rear, right pelvis area (hard to explain where it's at) and man, it started burning. I must have pulled some random muscle. I was thinking it's my hip but it's too high and back to be that - which actually eases my anxiety about it. I don't need hip problems!

After the gym I hustled to change as I was meeting a friend for dinner.

Dinner: meatballs, chicken, rice, brussells sprouts, squash

It was a mishmash sort of meal but so yummy. And satisfying. I think I needed a "big" meal the way I've been eating lately. I was tempted by chocolate for dessert but stayed strong. No alcohol either. It gets so easy to say no when you've been saying it a while. My resistance muscle is strong these days.

I've gotten some great emails lately, I plan to respond this weekend. Ok, I have to run...thanks for reading!!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Day 11: Is snackmeal a word? It should be.

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It didn't work out for me to make a hot breakfast this morning. In fact, I was at work and on the road before I had a chance to think about my morning meal. I spotted a "natural foods" store in the strip mall I was passing and decided to pop in to see what I could find. I spotted these Heart Thrive Energy Bars and checked out the label. Looked good enough for me.

Breakfast: HeartThrive Energy Bar

I had that with some hot mint tea. I'm getting obsessed with mint tea these days. So refreshing. Curious how it seems zippy and energizing when I have it in the morning, and calming and relaxing when I have it in the evening. How does that work?

Snack: Banana

I was driving around a lot today and lunch slipped away from me. In the end I pulled into a favorite deli and got some beef jerky.

Lunch: 2 long (think 10 inches) pieces of beef jerky, 3 mandarin oranges, 1 brown rice cake.

I'm calling that a snackmeal. It's not really a meal but more than a snack too. I guess a snackmeal is when you eat enough snacky type items to call it a meal. I'm going with that.

Snack: 1 brown rice cake

I arrived at the gym with my stomach growling. I knew that would affect my workout, and obviously not in a good way. Unfortunately I didn't have any energy gels in my bag this time. I started with spin class, which was already underway when I arrived. I was super-wheezy and left the class to get my inhaler. It didn't start helping until the class was over.

After spin I did back/biceps/PT exercises and a few of my old core exercises. It seems like even the "easy" core exercises are not getting any easier so I decided to step it up and add a few tough ones in to strengthen my core/abs. I only have to hope my back doesn't suffer as a result.

Got in my car after my workout and had another...

Snack: Brown rice cake

I used to eat those all the time and I'm happy to have them back in my life. Crunchy, a tad salty, and really quite wholesome. With only two ingredients - Organic Whole Grain Brown Rice and Sea Salt - I think even Michael Pollan would approve. Then I arrived home to find dinner being made, which was nice.

Dinner: Black beans, avocado, eggs

I had a bit more than is pictured here, stealing bites off the kids' plates when they were done.

Later, after a round of Candyland, the kids asked for a snack. And food sounded good so I made one for myself as well.

Snack: Brown rice cake with peanut butter smeared on

Hellloooo peanut butter! That rounded out the day's food nicely. I'm pretty sure I didn't eat quite enough again today. I'm trying to make a decision about what to do about that. Do I modify the program to allow me to eat more quick/easy foods (yogurt, cheese, bread) and more carbs (pasta, tortillas)? I'm kind of thinking of adding in gluten as long as the items I eat are homemade (ie - not heavily processed). Obviously that leaves out pasta as I don't see myself whipping up homemade fettuccine anytime soon. Bread is more possible, just need to borrow a bread maker.

Anyway, I'll figure it out. The weekend is approaching and I know getting more food will be easier because I'll have more time to prep.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Day 10: Holding steady

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I stayed up way too late last night. I was tired, though I just couldn't get myself to settle and go to sleep. The alarm went off bright and early and for the first half of the day I felt good with plenty of energy. Around midday though, I started to crash. Coffee would have done the trick but I wasn't really tempted. Something about detoxing off the caffeine makes me not want to go back on it. Which is kind of sad because I like coffee.

Breakfast: Oatmeal with a fried egg

This breakfast didn't keep me as full as the last time. Probably because of the more regular exercise and burning through the calories? Or being on my period - that makes your appetite stronger, right? I dunno. Anyway, I felt hungry most of the day and that, coupled with poor planning, made for a sad eating day.

Snack: 2 slices of deli ham

Midday came around and I had no plan for lunch. I stopped by my house to see what I could scavenge.

Lunch: 2 slices of deli turkey, a large avocado.

I know, I know - another day of not eating so great. But work was busy and I was just dragging due to lack of sleep so I barely noticed.

Snack: Banana, orange

I ran some errands after work and then grabbed something for dinner.

Dinner: Trader Joe's Spinach & Bacon salad.

550 calories and 35 grams of fat, that seemed like a good balance to the day's food intake. The salad had cheese in it, which I didn't notice until I tossed the salad. I went ahead and ate it of course. After dinner I had a cup of hot mint tea. It was very relaxing.

So there you have it, a simple day with simple food, mostly. I've been wondering how long I'm going to keep this challenge up. I'd like to finish it but at the same time, I feel like I can accomplish my purpose without finishing the 28 days necessarily. My purpose to check out the gluten-free thing with gluten is mostly resolved, I don't think I have an issue. And the purpose to break some bad eating habits is going great, though I would like a bit more time eating cleaner than usual so I'm not quite ready to dive into a bowl of steaming curry noodles. Not yet, anyway.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Day 9: Bent but not broken

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Yesterday was the official start of week two of the 28 day eating challenge. That means nuts, beans and gluten-free grains are now on the menu. I know, I've been eating them here and there before yesterday. At least now it's on the list.

Breakfast: Oatmeal w/ 1 tbsp maple syrup.

It didn't keep me as full as yesterday. That's likely due to my exercise yesterday and the fact that I didn't have an egg with it. But I was busy at work so I wasn't tempted to eat anything other than the snacks I'd packed.

Snack: Banana, 13 almonds

Lunch: Burrito bowl w/ grilled chicken, black beans, rice, pico de gallo, avocado

I had a staff meeting to attend in the afternoon and because of winter breaks, we celebrated December birthdays today. Well, I couldn't NOT eat the pie they'd gotten, right? Well of course not but I wanted it. So I had slither of a slice of chocolate nut (like pecan pie with several nut varieties and chocolate chips) and a slither of a slice of the blackberry pie. I actually found the nut pie to be too sweet to enjoy. But the blackberry was nice. They were both made locally and, of course, had sugar and gluten.

Snack: 2 slithers of pie, oranges

This could have been the beginning of the end of my eating day. I've read so much about sugar and carb consumption triggering the desire for more, more, more. I worry some will see their being powerless and sort of give up, but I think it's just good to know what different foods do to our bodies (and minds), and then recognize how it plays out for us as individuals.

After work I went to the gym, 25 minutes on the upright bike (finally able to do level 9 at full speed), legs/shoulder/PT exercises. And then home for dinner, which was a homemade version of lunch.

Dinner: black beans, rice, pico de gallo, avocado, small slice of soft cheese.

After dinner I played with the kids for a while and then started the too-long process of putting them to bed. I need to figure out how to shorten the bedtime thing. It takes a full hour between story reading, teeth-brushing, potty going, toy requesting, one-more-hug wanting bedtime stuffs. I'm telling you all this because I think I used the drawn out bedtime ordeal, plus whatever other stress I'm under, plus maybe even the pie choice, as an excuse for what happened next.

Snack: Lots of tortilla chips. Lots.

It wasn't the whole bag or anything but it was more than a bowl. Fortunately I came to my senses eventually and asked why I was sitting on the couch eating almost-stale tortilla chips. Why am I doing this challenge? Because I want to. Why am I choosing not to eat processed foods during this challenge? Because I want to. I signed up for this, it is my choice. Enough with the undermining my own goal. I put the remainder of the chips down the garbage disposal and also put a stop to the excuses.

So I had a great day on the whole. Good, wholesome food choices (mostly), great exercise, and some fun with the kids after work. I'll admit, I feel crappy about the tortilla chips, but that's a good thing and important to remember, it helps when I'm facing the same kind of urge the next time, "remember, you felt crappy after eating that junk last time." The lesson is to balance it. Not beat myself up but not ignore the natural, negative consequences either.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Day 8: Whew, I made it.

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Ok, the first week is under my belt. A few glitches here and there - hello frozen yogurt! - but all in all, I'm pleased with how it's going. Week two means I can officially add in beans, nuts and gluten-free grains. I say officially because I've sort of been eating those things here and there already. It's just not in my nature to eliminte food groups without a good reason, and for the life of me I couldn't wrap my head around not eating beans, nuts or whole grains.

The gluten-free thing I get, I mean that's part of why I'm doing this, to check it out. But otherwise? Yeah, whole organic oats can't be a bad thing, right? Right. Speaking of oats...

Breakfast: oatmeal and an egg fried in butter.

It was an interesting meal. I used to eat this kind of thing all the time, except with grits instead of oatmeal. Hey, grits, I love grits! And they're gluten free so I'm good. Oh, but they're probably too processed to meet this challenge:
"Grits are coarsely ground dried corn. Prior to being dried the hull and germ of the kernel is removed. The resulting “hominy corn” is often bleached prior to grinding. The larger of the ground kernels becomes grits and the finer is cornmeal (polenta)"
Yep, that sounds like a process. But I do like the hot breakfast thing, it's a filling way to start the day, though I don't like the time involved. It was so much easier to put some Kashi in a bowl, pour milk and I was eatin'. Anyway, my workday got underway and before I knew it, it was 11:30am. I didn't feel hungry but figured I'd eat my morning snack anyway.

Snack: banana

Then I went to meet a client for lunch. But it fell through and I ended up missing lunch altogether. Doh! The thing is, though, I never really got hungry. Around 2:30 I had my afternoon snack.

Snack: Orange

And next thing you know, it's time to go to the gym! I knew I'd be in trouble exercising on so little food so I rummaged around in my gym bag and found these Power Bar Energy Blast gels. Truth be told, I think they're kinda gross, which is why they survived in my bag so long, but I was not in a position to be finicky.

I realize these are not on my 28-day challenge food list. Again, not in a position to care. I needed to fuel for the fire and this was all I had. I started out on my run with a plan to do a small loop that included a BIG hill. But as I was running I realized that loop would be too short so I did a larger loop that still involved a hill, just not quite as big.

I only looked at my Garmin a few times, I really wanted to run by feel. I felt really good, a little sore legs in the beginning but they warmed up pretty quick. I had a feeling I was running at a good clip, other than when I was dying running uphill and convincing myself I wouldn't die. I wasn't far from the gym when I checked my Garmin, just under 4.5 miles and running a pace of 8:58! Holy speedster.

I stopped at 4.5 miles and checked my time, 43:42. Yippeeee! Under 10-minute miles - 9:41 was my average pace. I did the happy runner dance, which is not much of a dance because being a happy runner often means I left it all on the course. I needed a good run, I really did.

After the run I did chest/triceps/PT exercises. My strength is really coming back. I can do all my stuff without much pain. I'm sure my fellow gym-goers are happy to no longer hear me whimpering in during my last couple of reps.

Dinner: 2 slices of meatloaf, mashed sweet potatoes, 2/3 of a banana.

Regarding my food today. I did not purposefully skimp on the calories. I'll work on it, I will. I don't want to lose muscle, I want to fuel my machine, and I want to feel good. I have no interest, NONE, in under-feeding myself. It's just hard when many of my go-to snacks are off the table (by my own choice, I might add), like string cheese and yogurt. I already know I'm lactose intolerant so I've considered adding dairy back in maybe next week just to give myself more snack options. After all, it's my challenge, I can do with it what I want.

Thank you for all the comments here and on my FB page. I want to share Mira's response to my commenting on her feedback in yesterday's post.
"Aww, I didn't school ya! I am just worried about you! I think you're nuts but I get what you're doing. I just refuse to feel like crap as long as you are willing. And I'm way too stubborn to remove whole food groups from my diet even for a week. It just makes me rebellious and mad. Hope you have a great day!"
Don't you love honest feedback? I do. And I have to agree with her, removing whole food groups is never good. The only food group I've mostly eliminated so far is dairy (I'm still eating eggs and butter). Oh, and nuts and legumes - but I only sort of eliminated those too. I have been lower carb than I used to be but not because the plan is low-carb, it's because I've been lazy about finding gluten-free options. Bread and pasta are just so easy. But I'm loving the sweet potatoes and I'm thinking I should check out parsnips and rutabaga soon too. Mashed rutabaga anyone? Uh...

The thing I like the best about this challenge is that I'm eating whole foods. For me, it's really about that, about not eating processed crap. That's why I defied the program modified the program to meet my needs on the beans, the nuts, the oatmeal - it's about eating whole, minimally processed or totally unprocessed foods. Like Michael Pollan said, food your great-grandmother would recognize.

Back to my point, thank you to Mira, the running nurse, toledo lefty, the running libarian, sara, steph, iron snoopy and anyone else I missed- thank you ladies! The feedback has been really helpful. And with that, I'm signing off for tonight.

ps - I wonder if the frozen yogurt helped my run today? :)

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Day 7: Can I blame it on the hormones?

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Taken from the parking lot at the museum. Lucky to call this home.
What a hectic weekend! I took the kids to meet my friend Michelle and her son at the Bay Area Discovery Museum. The weather today was unbelievable. It's been a drought sort of winter so far and my county has already asked for water use restrictions. But it makes for some spring-like weather in the middle of January, which we might as well enjoy.

Breakfast: 2 fried eggs and a 1/2 avocado, hot tea.

We got to the museum (which is more like an activity center on steroids) and walked around for a bit, watching the kids play and catching up.

Lunch: A couple slices of nitrate-free deli ham, the other 1/2 of the avocado, 1 oz of raw almonds, and some beets from Trader Joe's, several of the kids' pretzels, a couple bites of the kids' yogurt.  (oh, and a few small bites of PB&J)

I know that was a lousy/skimpy lunch, which might explain what happened later. It's not like I was trying to eat just a little food but without bread or other things like that it's hard to make a quick meal to-go without more forethought.

We stayed at the museum from 10am - 2pm and wore our whole party ou by climbing, coloring, building, painting, smooshing, and all-around fun for four solid hours.

Playing with goop

Exploring the boat

Hugging a concrete seal in the shadow of the Golden Gate
The kids were so well behaved, I'm so proud of who they are becoming, fine little people that are a joy to be around. Well, except for the witching hour, but it's not called the witching hour for nothin'.

After the museum we ran some errands, which included a stop for frozen yogurt. Well, folks, that's where the wheels came off my 28-day challenge.

Snack: Frozen yogurt with all the toppings

There you have it. I broke three, probably four, of the challenge guidelines - no sugar, no dairy, no processed foods. I'm sure there was some gluten in there somewhere too. I'm ok with my decision. I wanted it, I had it, and now to not let it become a free-for-all. I mean today I was tired, hungry, I'm on period, and, well, I'm only human, right?

Back at home and there were several times when I noticed I wanted to just grab something, like a dinner roll, or some tortilla chips, for no good reason other than that old diet thinking, "well, I ate xyz I might as well...". No, that's now how it works. I reminded myself - coming so close as to open the Hawaiian dinner roll bag - "no, we're not going there." My biggest motivation for not spiraling into a series of non-goal oriented choices is that I don't want to lose the momentum. I'm on a roll with improved eating and I don't want one trip to frozen yogurt to derail me.

Turkey meatloaf and mashed sweet potatoes (I went back for seconds)
Dinner: 3 slices of meatloaf plus bites from what the kids didn't finish, mashed sweet potatoes.

I'd gone to the store after the yogurt stop and forgot to buy any vegetables. I made a tweak to the meatloaf with oats instead of bread or bread crumbs but acquiesced on the milk. I gave the oats a few pulses in the food processor but next time I'll pulse them more so there are no identifiable oats left. It was good. The only things it was lacking on were salt and spices. When you use bread or breadcrumbs, those items are pre-salted (and spiced). Oats have nothing. So next time I'll increase the salt and spices some to compensate for that. But otherwise, I think I've found my new way to make meatloaf!

See? That's exactly the kind of knowledge I hoped would be an unexpected benefit from this challenge.

Ok, so on to the question of carbs. This challenge is not "no carbs", it's just that I'm used to getting my carbs from rice, pasta, a bit of bread, and snacks like pretzels and what-not, I'm short on alternatives for lack of knowledge, effort and preparation. We're not supposed to be eating grains this first week (other than quinoa) and I've obviously decided to ditch that part of the plan since I've been eating rice and oatmeal. But that didn't stop me from getting an earful from a few readers. For example, my buddy Mira schooled me a bit with the following...
"There is a reason there are 89 kinds of gu and chews for athletes on the market: you need carbs (and sometimes caffeine) to keep pep in your step. Go read articles about exercise and carb consumption prior and during from your runners world magazines or reputable online sources. Decide if they are all wrong after reading the science. . According to this, Sports Nutrition - Carbohydrates - How Carbohydrates Provide Energy for Exercise, rice and pasta are actually complex carbs. Perhaps you need to redefine which carbs are most important so as to not abandon your goals."
I agree, wholeheartedly, and I'd never try and go low-or-no carb, it's just not my thing. Mostly my issue has been lack of knowledge on the carbs that are available that are not processed and don't contain gluten (and aren't white potatoes). But after today other carbs are more officially open to me, ones that don't contain gluten and aren't processed. Also open are beans and nuts, foods I'm missing (mostly the beans, you know how often I eat black beans). Which reminds me, I was going to cook some in the slow cooker today and forgot. I'll have to do that tomorrow. Beans, avocado, pico de gallo and hot sauce and I'm happy. Guess I'll have to add rice to the mix too.

But I can't imagine my tired feeling is all diet, though I don't doubt what you eat to have the ability to cause such profound results, it's just that I can't imagine just cutting out processed foods and refined sugars would cause all this. We'll see, if I have a pep in my step tomorrow from the frozen yogurt maybe I'll toss the whole challenge out the window. Unlikely, since I don't like to give up. But I don't mind modifying, which is what I've been doing. After all, it's my plan.

Ok, it's 9pm and the kids are fast asleep. I had a horrible night sleep last night so I'm off to dreamland early. This weekend just flew by, can't believe it's back to the work-week tomorrow already.