Sunday, February 10, 2013

You make me feel like a natural woman.

Not you, Herbal Essences shampoo! Food. Delicious, amazing, quirky, seemingly-complicated-but-really-not food. Jason and I are wrapping up day 5 of the Whole 30 food program and I feel like my insides are filled with awesome.

It has been hard at times, but most great payoffs have a challenging path. Jason and I overcame a major hurdle this weekend by going to our niece's 1st birthday party in Illinois and staying on plan. If you've ever tasted my in-laws' food you would know what a tremendous accomplishment this is. Their food is decadent and delicious. They had this incredible-looking layered cake that I wanted to nose dive in. I ate oranges instead. Yes, oranges, in the moment and comparatively, were dull. But I actually found them to be delicious, and when it was all over and the cake was gone, I felt better for hours. Basically, I traded a few indulgent minutes of cake eating for a few great hours of pride.

I'm not hungry. In fact, I feel satisfied after my high protein, veggie filled meals for far longer than I would when I carb-loaded.

My energy is up. My body lacks a sense of bloating. I have been sleeping well through the night. I am really enjoying hunting for recipes and experiencing new foods that I would have never even entertained before. Tonight I made an amazing spaghetti squash with meatballs. I did not miss pasta and I felt completely full and content after a modest plate.

My clothes feel looser but I'm still not going to weigh myself until March 8th. Jason looks skinnier and feels pretty dang good too. I hope that any difficulty I'm facing with food is easy to overcome in the next few weeks.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Punch me in the back of the head, please. It's for a good cause.

When your head hurts, do you ever feel like you want someone to punch it repeatedly? Just me? For some reason when I get headaches isolated to a certain part of my head I always want to press or tap really hard on the part that is throbbing. The helmet people should invent a compression helmet that you wear when you have headaches that squeezes and releases over and over again. I would totally buy that.

Apparently I am in the phase of my Whole 30 program where my body is retaliating against me for depriving it of crap. It's been mostly angry about the lack of wine and PB&Js. This is the time in the detox phase when I am likely to have headaches and want to ninja kick people.

This is going to sound a bit contradictory, but other than the headache I actually feel pretty dang good. I can tell my energy levels are changing (don't worry, I'm still tired - I actually fell asleep during physical therapy yesterday...don't ask). I slept pretty well last night. My skin is looking pretty good and my fingers appear less pudgy. Even my jeans seem a tad looser. We're only on day 3 but I can see where this is headed and I like it. I'm praying for strength to keep it up.

At first Jason referred to this program as my "hippie" diet. But, he said he would do it too to support me, nice guy that he is. I've been throwing some of the concepts that I read in the It Starts with Food book at him and his tune changed a little because it really does make sense. His tune really changed when he stepped on the scale this morning and he's already down 4 lbs. (I am not going to weigh myself until the end of the program, per the recommendation of the authors.)

I wouldn't do a hippie fad diet. I've tried Weight Watchers and it worked really well for me, but this time around I didn't want to have to count points or calories. This just makes sense to me.

I'm going to list some of the concepts that I learned from the It Starts with Food book not just to give any Mutherford readers some insight into my new approach to food but so that I may bookmark this post and reference these concepts later on my iPhone. All concepts listed below are either lifted verbatim or as a summary from the book.
  • Food either makes you more or less healthy. Those are the options.
  • We are genetically adapted to the diet of our Paleolithic ancestors, and that genetic disposition hasn't changed much in the last 10,000 years - which means we are not genetically suited to our modern, industrially-produced, agriculture-based diet.
  • The food we eat should promote a healthy psychological and hormonal response, support a healthy gut and immune function, and minimize inflammation.
  • Dieting doesn't work long-term because simply reducing your calories isn't likely to change or alleviate your food cravings, even if you do lose weight. It is key to eliminate the cravings.
  • Unhealthy foods have an unfair advantage because they are designed in a way that messes with your brain, makes you crave them and experience trouble giving them up.
  • Pleasure, reward, and emotion are all interconnected in our brains. Reward circuitry is integrated with parts of the brain that enrich a pleasurable experience with emotion, making it more powerful, and easier to remember. The combination of pleasure, reward, and emotion pushes you toward rewarding stimuli - including food that has been overprocessed and filled with ingredients to make it supernormally stimulating.
  • The repeated release of opioids when you eat supernormal food turns a want into a need - you don't even have to be hungry because it's not about satisfying your hunger, it's about satisfying your craving.
  • Hormonal troubles arise from "overcarbsumption" - the chronic overconsumption of supernormally stimulating, nutrient-poor, carbohydrate-rich foods.
  • If there is an overabundance of sugar, the sugar takes precedence over the fat as a source of energy in many metabolic processes, and stored fat doesn't get burned for energy.
  • You cannot "out-exercise" poor food choices and the resulting hormonal disruption.
  • Simply eating less of the same foods isn't going to improve your hormonal responses. In fact, cut calories too much and you'll make your hormone situation even worse.
  • If your body has an adverse response to food you're eating, your immune system will kick in to prevent or repair damage. Systemic inflammation is the mobilization of your immune system. Your food choices should support immune function and minimize inflammation.
  • Bad things happen when you confuse or overwork your immune system. It can't do it's main job, like fighting a bug that's going around, healing your injuries, or preventing plaque buildup in your arteries.
  • If you're overweight, you're also systemically inflamed.
  • Genetics play a role, but only when those genes get turned on. A gene that isn't turned on doesn't do anything. It's the intersection of your environmental inputs and your genetics that is truly relevant to your health. "It runs in my family" is not an excuse.
For the above reasons, I am removing sugar, legumes, alcohol, dairy, and grain from my diet for 30 days. Then, I will reintroduce each individually for short periods of time to see how my body reacts. Once I know how my body reacts, I can determine if I want to permanently reintroduce these food/drink groups and in what amounts. Am I never going to have wine again? Heck no. I'm actually going to have a glass on my birthday, March 8th, which happens to be the much-anticipated Day 31. I'm also going to have a cheeseburger again. And some ice cream. But, my goal is to detox from these items, see how good I feel, reintroduce these items, so how good/bad I feel, and go from there.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Day ONE.

I've had a lot of "day ones" lately. Not in order of importance...

Number one "day one" - I started a new job this past Monday. I'm Ungerboeck Software International's new online content copywriter, and dang proud of it. No, I didn't dislike my previous employer. I loved that place and I loved my coworkers. But, I was given the opportunity to work part-time under the leadership of my former employer's former VP of marketing, doing something I am nuts about, at a building that is less than three minutes from my house. It's a left turn out of my subdivision and a left turn down a single road to the parking lot. I leave my home at 7:56 a.m. and get there early for an 8:00 start time. I am able to pick up Hannah from daycare before I would have even gotten out of the building at InteliSpend. Needless to say, the fact that it's a hop (not even a skip or a jump) from my house is a bit of a perk.

Number two "day one" - Over the past several weeks I have been educating myself on the Paleo diet and the great things that can happen with clean eating habits. I talk a lot about what a lemon I am, yes? It would be nice not to talk like that anymore. While it's become somewhat of a hobby of mine, I really do hate being sick. I feel sluggish, I have headaches, and I struggle with peaks and valleys of mental well-being on a daily basis. A few women at my old company started a "30 day cleanse" that involved removing anything processed from the diet for 30 days, including grain, sugar, dairy, and alcohol. Honestly, I thought it was probably a fad or an unrealistic approach at weight loss, but I went online to and read about the Whole 30 program. The more I read, the more it made sense. Then I bought the book authored by the site owners, It Starts with Food, and I read it in a little over a week. That's not something I do, but I found it all really practical and interesting. All the same, I was very fearful about starting this because I didn't want to "detox" from food and feel all sorts of crabby while starting a new job. And then I was fearful about missing out on drinking occasions because mama likes wine. And then I was fearful of not indulging on Valentine's Day. And then I was fearful about never starting. So, last night I decided I would start today. I did. I can't say I wasn't hyper-aware of what I couldn't eat today, but I got through it and now that the day is done I feel good about it. I ate very well. Natural. It was kind of neat to get out of my comfort zone. Plus, I realized that the new job would likely be a good distraction from my desire to eat, so I am talking myself into it. After the 30 days, the next step in the program is to reintroduce the eliminated foods one at a time for a few days each to see how my body reacts. I'm led to believe via book and website that I will feel so good and have so much energy after my body adjusts to this natural way of eating that I won't crave or miss the unnatural stuff. Except wine. I mean, that's nothing more than grapes that sat out and got pressed, right? Oh, and hopefully I'll lose some weight. I would like to fit back into the old jeans that I refuse to trash. Wish me luck.

Number three "day one" - I started a bible study last night at my church. I've been wanting to enlist since joining Calvary several years ago but for whatever reason - I was in school, I was pregnant and lazy, I had a baby - I just haven't done it. The study is weekly, women only, and this particular session is focused on the book What Happens When Women Say Yes to God. I selected this study because I sometimes get the sense that God is calling me to something I don't necessarily want to do. I think I've spent a fair amount of time in my life saying "no" when I should have said "yes" and vice versa. With all of the trials my family and I have faced over the past year, I have also found myself asking God "WHY?" I want to feel more comfortable identifying the call and answering it affirmatively.

Here's to day one and beyond..............