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The detox did more than I realized…

posted on Monday, July 10th, 2013 under 21-Day Sugar Detox |

I will stubbornly admit that some of my day 21 conclusions seem erroneous, especially after a plunge back to eating some sugars. I don’t want to deter anyone who may be considering the detox from trying it, so I figured a few more highlights of the good stuff would be worthwhile – because I really do recommend this detox to anyone looking for a good, healthy change!

I have been back to more ‘normal’ clean eating for a few days with some added treats, and I have to say, this did some damage. At least, an abrupt reintroduction of sugar took its toll. While I won’t blame it all on the dried fruit, I have had some stomach issues that I didn’t have before, and I’m willing to bet my sweet unicorn woodcut art that the burst of carbs and sugar I added to my menu are behind some, if not all, of those problem.

First, a confession of the bad things I’ve eaten in the last couple of days (warning, it’s bad and the opposite of what is recommended when coming off of the detox):

  • You know, that bag of dried mango. And the few dark chocolate-covered espresso beans.
  • A few rings of dried (unsweetened) pineapple, Monday night and last night.
  • A few dark chocolate-covered dried blueberries (literally like 3-4) over the course of my work trip Monday night through last night.
  • 2 square of chocolate, left on my bed at the hotel Monday night…after watching everyone eat cheese and drink wine, my desire to resist one more delicious thing completely disappeared.
  • A few small handfuls of Trader Joe’s dark chocolate-covered PowerBerries last night, which are NOT in fact real berries and not at all something you should ever eat, but they are delicious and I ate them knowing I should not.
  • One bite of banana pudding (not the cookie crust) on our snack stop at the Homemade Ice Cream and Pie Kitchen in Louisville…as everyone ate ice cream and pie, I had a Paleo granola bar and caved for one bite of the most delicious banana pudding I’ve ever tasted.

Writing that down makes me feel like a pretty huge failure, especially in the week leading up to my big race. I’m going back to NO CHOCOLATE and NO DRIED FRUIT for the remainder of the week to ensure my stomach problems aren’t a factor race day. Chocolate is definitely a sometimes for me and I know it’s not a recommended part of daily eating, but I just so enjoy dark chocolate! This is about eating and living, so as long as I can keep my dark chocolate in moderation, which clearly it hasn’t been the last few days, it can stay. If I can’t control it, it might have to go.

I’ve also been drinking WAAAAAY too much black coffee. But I don’t want to risk withdrawal symptoms before the race, so I won’t rock the boat too much there, but it’s something to address after the race.

In the grand scheme of things, my diet is still really clean. But I went a little sugar crazy, and that is the opposite of what I should do following an intense three weeks of eating at my cleanest. That’s dumb. That’s also over. I think a calorie burst is fine to shake up my metabolism, so I’m not too worried about my list of dirty deeds, but the ensuing digestive issues I’ve had are clear indicators that this is not how my body wants me to eat moving forward. Being bloated and, ahem, a bit congested in the intestinal region is unpleasant and a yucky reminder of how I lived before eliminating junk from my system.

Which brings me to the point of posting this. The detox did another huge thing for me that I failed to give fair credit to, and maybe because I just hadn’t had the chance to realize it yet…it taught me how to recognize and react when my body clearly doesn’t like what I’m giving it. I learned what I need to do to react properly and fix the issues, which is precisely what I’m doing. It’s an amazing benefit and I don’t want to downplay it one bit. Knowing how to fine tune my fuel is empowering – I can listen to my body more effectively. Do I always know the right solution when something feels off? No. But I have a better understanding of what food does to me, and can therefore react better and tweak things that need to be tweaked.

As an athlete, I still struggle with the balance between natural sugar and carbs, and trying to fuel for optimal performance. I don’t feel like my body has taken to burning fats in place of carbs just yet, so I’m not sure what my nutrition will look like for Sunday, and that worries me a bit. If my body is reacting negatively to sugar, maybe my Lara bar with breakfast isn’t the way to go. But heavy protein isn’t right, either. Sweet potatoes might have also made my stomach ache the last time I ate them, so I worry about having that as my pre-race dinner. I’m a little freaked out, but it’ll all work out. I’ve done the training and put in the hours, so hopefully my nutrition will work out just fine and I’ll have the best race ever.

So if anyone is looking for a way to jump into some healthy changes, learn from my mistakes and take on the 21-Day Sugar Detox with positivity, knowing you will reap amazing benefits that will be unique to you, your lifestyle and your goals. I’m so glad I went on this journey, and look forward to doing it again over the winter months when my training is at a much less intense level. I’ll continue working to get my body primed to burn healthy fats, and supplement with all-natural carbs when needed. If you’re curious, REI has a great selection of natural options in the sports nutrition area, great for if you’re looking to eliminate gels and chews filled with sugar and chemicals.

I’m so looking forward to Sunday. I ran my two fastest miles ever Monday morning (9:04 and 9:22 splits), and I feel like my body is ready to get me to the finish line efficiently and speedily. So wish me luck! In a few short days, we’ll know if my hard work has paid off…and I’m willing to bet it will.

Farewell, detox. We will meet again.

posted on Monday, July 8th, 2013 under 21-Day Sugar Detox, General Ramblings |

I’m officially done with the detox. I realize I had one slip-up I didn’t even think about at the time, one I knowingly took and then there was yesterday…

The first slip-up was last week on my work trip. I had lima beans with dinner. It was the only non-potato or rice side dish, but I didn’t even think about the fact that it’s a legume, which is a no-no. Dang. They were good, though. I feel stupid looking back at that moment, but for some reason, it did not even occur to me that lima beans are beans, even though they are literally called beans. I don’t know why this is even a thing, but my brain was all ‘Oh, I’m not eating pinto or black beans, no potatoes, no rice, but they have lima beans! Let’s eat the shit outta those!’ So that happened. Oooops.

Then I had a teensy sip of my husband’s espresso stout on our impromptu holiday weekend getaway. Hey, I didn’t enjoy a glass of red wine in the hot tub like I wanted, so I figured a tiny taste of a new beer that I wanted to try wasn’t so bad. I knowingly slipped up and it was practically nothing, but it’s still a slip-up, and I’m confessing all my sins.

Then there was yesterday. Day 21. The final day. The scale was reading almost the same as Day 1, my energy was only so-so and I frankly had issues with how NOT different I felt overall. Then I had a late brunch and tried to hold out on not eating fruit for the rest of the day…but a fruit bowl was there, and it had peaches and grapes and honeydew…and I ate the shit outta that. It was so delicious. And my body seemed to enjoy it – I did NOT get super worn out like I had been after a workout.

Then I had 3 dark chocolate-covered espresso beans. Because I already fell off the wagon, and why the hell not?

Then I had dried mango (organic, nothing added, just dried fruit). And not just a piece or two. I did exactly what I swore I wouldn’t do and went on a total mango bender. I ate THE WHOLE PACKAGE. And I’m not ashamed. I loved every second of it. Unfortunately, dried mango is totally my candy, and the detox was done to help break me of craving it all the time, but to be honest, I still craved it the entire 21 days. And if dried mango is my biggest issue, I’d say I’m doing pretty well in life. PLUS, I had a normal poop AND an amazing run this morning, and I choose to credit the mango for that.

So like I said, I’m not ashamed. I went overboard, but feeling deprived of something like that for 3 weeks will do that to me, and I know this about myself. I simply shouldn’t have bought the mango, but I resisted a watermelon and strawberries, so I caved on that one thing. Okay, I bought dried pineapple, too. I LOVE DRIED FRUIT.

I don’t drink soda. I don’t eat candy. I don’t eat cupcakes, or sandwiches, or bread, or pasta, or anything processed or full of chemicals. The reason I think I didn’t see a ton of prolonged change in myself during this detox is because I really do eat so clean already. But I have noticed a few awesome things the detox helped me with:

  • My sleep is better (falling asleep and getting up, anyway…staying asleep can still be a challenge)
  • I’ve gotten much better at planning my food
  • I don’t eat out at lunch every day (which was already hard before the detox anyway)
  • I’ve discovered new foods I like
  • I can drink black coffee now
  • Non-sweet foods are sweeter and more satisfying now
  • Based on the scale this morning, I’m down maybe 2.5 lbs from day one, but up from my lowest point during the detox, which is a mystery to me

But there are things I REALLY wanted to happen that didn’t:

  • I don’t feel any leaner (read: I was hoping to see a bit more ab action, but that did not happen)
  • I don’t feel crazy energetic or more mentally focused
  • I haven’t killed my craving for fruit…I think maybe I fixated too much on it being a ‘can’t have’ and it drove my cravings
  • I really, really want a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup concrete from Fritz’s…I don’t want to crave those things

I kind of think maybe I did something wrong. There are so many benefits the detox promised that I just never really felt. But how could I have done it wrong? I confessed my mistakes, and they were small and toward the end. I read labels like a mofo. Mr. T and I cooked food like mofos. I EVEN TRIED TO GET ON THE BACON TRAIN. I would like to blame the bacon, but that’s probably not fair.

As I said before, maybe I eat so clean that the changes just weren’t drastic enough to jump start my system. But I was turned on to the detox by Paleo bloggers who eat even cleaner than me, and THEY saw changes. Which leads me to the one conclusion my asshole brain will let me come to – I BLEW IT. There’s something wrong with me that made this whole thing not work. Reality? I really did do something wrong, but not on purpose. It might have been portion sizes (I don’t measure anything, I just eat till I start to feel satisfied), or too many nuts, or I’m still not eating enough veggies. Probably all of the above.

But that’s okay. I refuse to hold myself to some undefined, invisible measure of perfection. I feel healthy. I feel strong. I feel like eating fruit, and you know what? That’s okay. I’m going to eat fruit. Quite frankly, I’m not sure how I could hope to be a decent endurance athlete without it. I’ll probably do the detox again after race season is over, so I’ll have a few things to strive to be better at then.

There are things I will take with me from this going into a ‘normal’ everyday diet. I’m going to keep rice and quinoa off the table for a while and see how just reintroducing fruit goes for my workouts and races. I’ll still eat sushi from time to time, but it will be a much more occasional treat. And I’ll bring my own coconut aminos to use in place of soy sauce. Now that I’ve made the plunge into a tighter Paleo diet, I’ll keep the legumes out, too.

Label reading is a must, detox or no. Seriously, people – if what you are eating has more ingredients you can’t pronounce than real ingredients, you should think about not eating that anymore. It’s not food. For me, aside from the chemicals I’ve been avoiding for a while now, I’m going to keep searching for more things without added sugars. And if I can’t find them, I’ll learn how to make them myself.

I’m going to continue enjoying the hell out of coconut butter. That is some seriously delicious stuff.

I’m not going to have any booze until my race is over Sunday. My body needs to focus on recovery and race prep, not digesting things it doesn’t need. But after I cross the finish line Sunday, I’m going to want watermelon, water, protein, a shower, a nap…and then ALL THE THINGS. Who wants to come hang out with me as I get drunk off of 2 sips of red wine?? Or while I’m on a sugar high from the peanut butter cup concrete I’m going to demolish? It’s going to be epic.

But after that, I’ll return to my clean eating ways…because this is my life. It’s never going to be perfect. But it IS going to be mine.

Here’s another thing, though…I hate throwing around the word ‘Paleo’ so much, because if this blog ever happens to be found by a ‘real’ Paleo person, they’d rip me a new one for my outlook on it. It’s just the closest descriptor I have to reference how I eat…so maybe I will just say clean eating, or whole food eating…bottom line, this isn’t some fad diet I’m following (though it’s been hinted at by nameless others). I’m simply adjusting my lifestyle to fit the goals I have in mind…which may at times include some grains, or legumes, or (GASP) dairy. Like I said, I’m not going to be perfect. I’m just doing what’s best for me!

Day 17 of 21: Meh.

posted on Monday, July 3rd, 2013 under 21-Day Sugar Detox |

I don’t know if my work trip yesterday threw me off my game, or if I’m just having a blah week in general, but I am NOT in a good mood today. I’m not crabby or in a BAD mood, but I just feel like everything is just meh.

I woke up yesterday, flew to KY (I HATE flying), ate a homemade snack I brought on the way to our meeting, ate the turkey meat off of two sandwiches, along with some bacon (yes, I ate bacon and didn’t hate it!!!), snacked on pistachios, grabbed some grilled salmon and lima beans before heading back to the airport and ended the day with a yummy grilled grassfed burger with…dare I say it?…more bacon.

Then today, my stomach was screwy and the scale fluctuated up. I blame the bacon.

I also worry that I’m replacing my crutches with other crutches. Instead of eating a ton more veggies, I’m snacking on nuts more. I’m getting more veggies for sure, but I could be doing far better. But then I think about all the fruit I’m missing out on, and I get frustrated that I’m beating myself up for having raw almonds or pistachios. I want a strawberry, dammit, not some cauliflower! And pistachios are a good choice…but veggies would be even better.

But I guess that’s kind of the point.

I can drink black coffee now and enjoy it. I like that. I don’t want to lose the taste I’ve developed for new things. But as the end of the detox approaches, I look forward to enjoying fruit again…and I’m torn about that. No, I won’t live the rest of my life denying myself an entire group of healthy, natural foods. As I’ve said, nutrition is personal, and my personal preference is to have fruits. But I know I need to keep it limited so I don’t go right back to being a sugarholic and undoing the good I’ve done.

But today it’s hard to see any good. The scale is back where it was at the beginning (I know, it changes so much day to day), I don’t feel much leaner, I am not currently feeling crazy energetic, and I feel like I must be doing something wrong. This detox was supposed to be such an amazing change. How am I not feeling amazing all the time? I’ve had a couple rad days, but this week…not so much.

It could be the amount of things I have on my plate. The detox and eating clean is its own bit of work, but one I welcome. Then I have actual work, plus freelance projects I’ve picked up, plus the stress of prepping for and trying to fit in spin auditions and then, eventually, actual classes, all on top of the tri training and personal training I already do each week. Plus, you know, having a life. As I’ve said before, some days I feel like I have balance.. This is not one of those days. Or weeks.

I struggled through Monday’s workout with J-Derp. I had a hard time focusing a few times in my meeting yesterday. I’m bummed today and don’t feel like myself. What gives? What am I doing wrong? Maybe there was something I shouldn’t eat in the one restaurant meal I had on my trip yesterday…but that doesn’t explain Monday. I feel bloated today and the giggly poops took a vacay day, so maybe bacon really just isn’t for me? Or maybe I ate too much meat yesterday in comparison to my norm, or just not enough veggies?

That’s a whole separate topic…meat. Ugh. I’m not a crazy carnivore. I tolerate chicken (only love it when it’s shredded, go ahead and judge), I love turkey meat (ground, smoked, whatever), I’m eating more grassfed GROUND beef and I adore seafood. I hate steak. I don’t dig pork (though again, shredded is preferred). And I just don’t love eating it all the time. I even tossed out my homemade turkey sausage from my breakfast sammie this morning because eating meat was grossing me out too much. So what the heck am I supposed to eat?

Clearly, this is one of my ‘woe is me, my choices are so hard, pity me’ days and those suck. These are the right choices made for the right reasons, and I love them most of the time. But today, surrounded by office bday treats and talks of July 4th cocktails and trips, I’m just feeling deprived and failing to see the good in my great new habits.

So please don’t yell at me for bemoaning something I have total control over. I know this is my choice. I just need a little bit of support right now, because life is feeling a bit overwhelming. But hey, it’s halfway through WedFriday, and I have 4 days of detox and relaxation in front of me…so hopefully those two will get along peacefully. Thank glob for Pinterest, that’s all I have to say.

And just because it makes me laugh, and I need that:

Oh, how different life is now…

posted on Monday, July 1st, 2013 under 21-Day Sugar Detox, General Ramblings |

No, not just from the detox…since last October, my life has changed very much. October 3rd, to be exact.

I went to see Brandon for another training session, but it was weigh and measure day. Turns out, I had gained 1.8 pounds since the last weigh-in, and for me, that was my rock bottom. In my mind, I was working so much harder, avoiding some foods I used to eat all the time, and was so angry that I was gaining weight.

But I knew why. I just didn’t want to admit it. As I cried through the workout, Brandon gently suggested we discuss nutrition again. I agreed, but admittedly freaked out when he suggested I look at the Paleo guidelines as a starting place to choose things to change. It seemed overwhelming. No grains?? No more pre-made convenient ‘health’ foods? NO MORE SAMMICHES OR PIZZA?!?! WHAT KIND OF CRUEL WORLD IS THIS?!?! What did I do to deserve this heinous punishment?

But that day was the last day I ate a sandwich.

Dinner that night was the first meal of many that featured lean protein and veggies as the starring players, cooked without sauces – simply seasoned. I quit processed foods cold turkey. I never was a smoker, but I would guess the first three weeks of clean eating were akin to withdrawals that smokers, or even drug addicts, experience…except that you can’t just avoid situations that tempt you. You HAVE to eat. The first three weeks were painful. Literally. I had headaches and body aches and stomach cramps as my body re-learned how to properly handle food and rid itself of chemicals. I craved ALL THE THINGS and wanted to stab ALL THE HUMANS.

But the next month, when it was time to weigh and measure, I knew I had done the right thing. My body needed this. It was ready to shed pounds – it just needed the right fuel to do it. In that month, I lost 21.2 pounds, 7 inches and 2.5% body fat. Just by eating REAL food.

Since then, J-Derp has helped me tighten up my diet even more (soy and hummus took a hike, I started eating a cucumber a day, started watching portion size just a little bit more closely). That plus this detox has really gotten me in a good place with food.

Now, let’s get to the reality of it: I adore my cheats. Dinner out with friends, the occasional ice cream stop, a pizza night once in a great while…I won’t live without those things. And though I was roughly following the Paleo guidelines at the beginning, I still ate legumes and rice/quinoa every now and then. That’s a Paleo purist no-no, but I don’t give a rat’s ass. It was working for me at the time, so I made the changes I could as I went. I will absolutely still eat rice sometimes after the detox is over, because sushi is a food group and I want to make sweet sweet mouth love to a salmon avocado roll in the near future.

The reality is simple. Nutrition is personal. Paleo/Primal lifestyles offer great guidelines to eating. If it’s processed, covered in chemicals, bioengineered or full of hormones, it’s not something our bodies were created to digest. Food companies have carefully formulated ‘healthy’ foods bursting with addictive chemicals and fake sugars that actually just make us crave more of those things, or make us even hungrier for other empty foods. And they can make these things cheaply, making it even harder to justify eating things that taste less yummy by comparison and cost more.

But here’s the thing. When you break the addiction to these additives and chemicals, your taste buds change. Real foods start to taste how they were meant to – delicious. Don’t get me wrong, there are still PLENTY of things I won’t eat (raw tomatoes, I’m looking at you, you gross little jerks), but my palate has expanded incredibly in the last few months. Roasted Brussels sprouts, get in my face right now. Kombucha, I am not even really sure what you are, but I tried you and I think we can be friends. Onions, I’m gonna cook you first, but then I’m gonna eat you. Bacon, we’re just not there yet. I’m sorry. You just don’t do it for me, and that makes me an outcast. That’s okay. It’s less crowded out here and I feel less stabby.

And here’s one more thing, because who doesn’t love more things?? I look way better, but I feel even better than THAT. My body works. It does what I want it to do. We are no longer enemies. We are in luuuurrrrrrve and total BFFs for life. I mean, check this out:

Talk about a huge change! Especially when you compare this to where I was when I did my first Olympic tri 2 years ago. So much change. I’m seriously amped for the New Town Tri in 2 weeks. It’s going to be a great day, and a fantabulous race. It will be my best to date. I know it, because my body is ready for it. I was NOT ready for the Oly. This year, however, I think I might get my vengeance. We shall see…

The detox has only helped me get ready even more. I often turned to gels and energy beans/chews during long workouts/runs/bricks, but obviously, if you’re not eating sugar, you can’t have those things. Or Gatorade…which is fine, because that stuff has always made my belly ache. So what do I use for fuel?? First of all, I do eat sweet potatoes the night before so I have a least a small glycogen store. I didn’t feel great after having them this past weekend, so maybe that won’t be the case, but we’ll see.

Saturday morning before my 20mi/3mi bike/run brick, I had my favorite detox smoothie – cold coffee, almond milk, almonds, a frozen banana and a hint of vanilla. I had pure coconut water, a natural source of electrolytes, in my riding and running water bottles, plus a regular bottle of water. I packed a baggie of coconut butter to eat between bike and run. That’s all. It worked great and I felt amazing – but I will probably need something with a few more calories for race day, so I’m going to experiment with homemade no-sugar chia gels.

Endurance nutrition may not always follow the new guidelines I’ve taken to on this detox, but I’m really going to continue abiding by this method in the hopes that my body learns to burn fat the way it would normally burn carbs. I think I’m getting there, based on my energy levels, but if not, I’ll make adjustments.

Also, I refuse to think that organic fruits should be avoided completely. Maybe I was too dependent on them before, but I will still eat fruit in moderation. And honey. And booze. Oh, booze. How I miss you. I can smell red wine now, just thinking about it. But that won’t happen until after the race, so I will continue to dream.

But overall, given all the changes I’ve made, I’m really happy with my lifestyle now. It’s not always easy, and I know sometimes I won’t stick to it due to work travel, vacation, etc., but that’s called living. It’s not a diet. It’s life. You do the best you can, you enjoy what you want, and you get back to what makes you feel really great. And for me, eating clean and working out makes me feel really great.

Like, a-hedgie-eating-a-dinosaur great.

Or Patrick-riding-a-seal great.

Or Mr. T-riding-a-unicorn great.

Or just this great.

This country needs a hate detox

posted on Monday, June 26th, 2013 under General Ramblings, Things that piss me off |

A detox post of a different variety this time.

I just have to say that I am incredibly baffled by mankind on a daily basis. So many people I encounter among the general public are rude, stupid, stuck up or just plain douchey. The rest are my friends or someday friends, and you are excluded from the things I am about to write.

While in the words of the politicians who ruin this country on a daily basis are notions of freedom, love and unity, the reality of what they bring about is so much the opposite. I am thrilled with the Supreme Court’s overruling of DOMA and refusal to rule on Prop H8…but still so confused why the vote was so split.

There’s no such thing as GAY marriage. There’s marriage. These aren’t GAY rights we’re debating. They are human rights. Rights that were also once denied to a group of people in our country, though on a more grandiose scale (I don’t wish to trivialize the trials of one group by comparing them to another; just noting that this is a recurring trend). Just as reading about segregation and witnessing the continued prevalence of prejudice that surrounds me to this day, I am completely confused as to how we can look at any one subset of our vibrant population and tell them they are not our equals. We are all people and deserve to be treated with respect, dignity and love…not disgust, humiliation and hatred.

It’s sad that, in our country today, thieves, murderers, rapists and molesters have more rights than many of my friends, and it makes me sick.

Even further, don’t play the religion card with me. First of all, what happened to separation of church and state? We are debating FEDERAL rights – taxes, death benefits, family rights, etc. We are not debating the religious definition of marriage. At least, we sure as hell shouldn’t be. Churches can define marriage however they so choose – THAT is a freedom upon which this country was founded. Now keep your church out of everyone’s government.

I hope with all my heart that today’s rulings are the beginning of real change in this country. I hope people can rid themselves of the fear, anger and hate that has driven such things as the creation of the Westboro insanity, but since I don’t see that happening, I at least hope that those representing our voice in a government created to protect our freedoms can see the need for true equality in the eyes of the law.

Today’s historic rulings should be celebrated. But those celebrations should not be for a victory in the name of gay rights. It should be for the first of hopefully many victories in the name of human rights.

Now hurry up, you remaining 38 states, and make marriage equality happen!

One last parting thought…since gay means happy, shouldn’t churches actually SUPPORT what they insist on calling gay marriage?? So on that note, I will leave you with a smile:

Chipmunks have TERRIBLE projection

posted on Monday, June 25th, 2013 under 21-Day Sugar Detox, General Ramblings |

This is what I learned last night, when I was lucky enough to guest teach my friend and former instructor’s Monday night spin class.

This is how the class went:

First of all, I was nervous-poop-inducingly worked up. When I’m not hiding behind the interwebs, I’m actually rather shy about being the center of attention, and that’s something I need to get over to be a good instructor. I was extra sweaty (which is really saying something) and I’m sure I was making some pretty excellent faces. Seriously, sometimes I can’t control my face. It just does what it wants. It’s probably pretty awkward for people having to look at my dumb mug.

Here’s why being nervous sucks extra: in addition to bonus sweat, it raises your heart rate, which then makes it harder to control your breathing. Add that to my strength ride and having to try to project my teensy chipmunk-on-helium voice over loud music, and you end up with a bunch of heavy breathing on the mic…which is SO GROSS. I was so embarrassed the entire class.

I also get flustered and forget things I know to say. I have learned lots of great tips on form and breathing, but was so anxious about no one hearing me and everyone looking at me that I skipped a lot of good info that could have helped the new riders who were there. Super bummer.

But my instructor told me the ride was great – if I can just fix my voice issue, incorporate more hand gestures to help people follow me if they can’t hear, and manage my breath better, I think I’ll be a good instructor. I’m glad to have my first ride under my belt, but I need a LOT of practice. I get CPR certified Friday, and I’m working on setting up auditions at a few places around town, so hopefully I’ll be instructing more soon!!

DETOX DAY 9 UPDATE:

I feel like my energy levels are improving. I’m sleeping well and it’s getting easier to get out of bed in the morning. I am aiming for a good morning run one day this week, so that will be a good test of my ability to perform on this eating plan. I’ve lost about 3.5 pounds, but weight loss wasn’t the goal, so I’m hoping it is a maintainable loss once the detox is over and I incorporate a few carbs and fruits back in my diet.

Oh, and the poops? Still SO WEIRD. Less funny, too, because it’s kind of exhausting. I mean, poop is always funny, but buttsplosions EVERY.SINGLE.MORNING? I just got out of bed. Let me wake up a little first! Come on, intestines, don’t be a jerk. The ol’ poopchute needs a break.

Another thing…I was already being more conscientious of checking labels before buying food, but I continue to be absolutely blown away by how many things contain added sugar in some sneaky form. Even finding dried spice blends can be challenging, so we’ve taken to making most of them ourselves. Tastes better anyway. I am less and less surprised each day by how hard it was for me to lose weight before I educated myself on food…the US food supply is in a very sad state and needs to be fixed if we want to be a healthy country. It’s sickening…and I have lots to say on the topic.

Here’s the thing about food – eating really delicious food has made this detox so much easier than it could have been otherwise. I used to think healthy eating was incredibly bland and boring, but my eyes have been opened to how absolutely yummy real, whole food can be when prepared properly. Remember my food list? I can definitely knock a few things off of it as I now enjoy (or at least tolerate) them: cooked onions, avocados, raw blueberries (just not for 12 more days), eggplant, sweet potatoes, squash, Brussels sprouts, sashimi, and I’m thisclose to being a black coffee drinker (though most days I just go without added caffeine). Say WHAAAAA?!?! Raw tomatoes still make me wanna ralph, but I have to say, I’ve broadened my food horizons a lot in the last year.

Want to see what I eat? Okie dokie. My trainer has me journal via pictures, so here are some highlights:

BREAKFAST:

Not on detox, my norm was a green smoothie with spinach, frozen cherries or berries, banana, chia seeds and almond milk, plus a hardboiled egg. Now, without fruit, I eat scrambled eggs with spinach. Today I had egg muffins, but I’ll post more on that later when I can give you a recipe!

SNACKS:

I have 2 snacks a day. One is almost always a whole, peeled cucumber. I hated it at first, but it really does help flush your body out and makes you feel all happy inside.

Other snacks include veggies and raw nuts, or small leftover portions of other meals. I eat every few hours and it helps my metabolism immensely. Plus, I’m never starved so I hardly overeat, which was a HUGE problem I had before (though my portions may still be too large).

I used to need caffeine more often in the day, and still do some days, so I’ll sometimes pair an iced coffee with almond milk with some nuts (this had honey, too, which is divine, but not on the detox!).

LUNCHES & DINNERS:

I am having a serious love affair with seafood. Even without sushi, I’m doing my part to keep the white fish and salmon population under control. You are welcome.

Plain grilled salmon and steamed broccoli. Add a little fresh-cracked pepper and it’s all amazing.

Pan-fried tilapia with avocado and steamed seasoned veggies. I know you aren’t supposed to cook on high heat with olive oil, but I still do sometimes. Though I use coconut oil pretty religiously these days. THANK JEEBUS FOR HAIRY COCONUTS.

SKRIMPS! Skrimps on anything makes it better, right? Goes double for salad. Just use olive oil and vinegar as a dressing, add avocado and shrimp, and you have the best salad bar salad of all time. Clearly eaten at my messy desk.

Using no-added-sugar, preservative-free organic salsa, I eat salsa chicken like it’s going out of style. I have lots of options for using leftovers, too. I can eat it alone, topped with jalepeños and served with sautéed spinach…

Take it to work and enjoy it as lettuce wraps with avocado:

Take it to work and enjoy it over greens (I just finished eating this right now…the dirty plate is staring at me as I frantically try to finish this post):

Salads are great with turkey taco meat, too (make your own taco seasoning so you know what’s in it):

Simple chicken and veggie soup is always a good bet (but most store-bought broth has some form of added sugar, so watch the ingredient list closely, or just make your own):

Eating out is still tricky, but make requests and ask questions – as long as you are polite about it. Don’t be rude. But restaurants have to accommodate food allergies, so just ask how things are prepared and see if they can make modifications for you. Plain grilled chicken and steamed veggies with no butter are almost always an option.

A few area restaurants, like Trainwreck Saloon and The Royale, offer grassfed beef burgers on their seasonal menues. SO GOOD. Just order it without the bun (wrap it in lettuce with mustard) and with steamed or sautéed veggies, and you’ll be eating very well.

So that’s a quick look at the awesome food I get to eat. Mr. T is amazing in the kitchen, so I’m very lucky to have the help when it comes to making tasty noms. Most of these were recent meals or snacks while on the detox, but non-detox meals often include sweet potatoes, quinoa or brown rice, too. Yum!

I’ll post some recipes soon, too. Just for good measure…

Progress: One week down, 2 to go

posted on Monday, June 24th, 2013 under 21-Day Sugar Detox, General Ramblings |

Yesterday marked my seventh day on the 21-Day Sugar Detox. One week down. Two more to go. Ugh. Here’s hoping the return of energy happens very, very soon.

Things I’m craving: Strawberries, watermelon, pizza and red wine. Three weeks without a cheat? What the hell was I thinking??

Truth be told, it’s really not that bad. Except that weekends are usually filled with eating at restaurants and enjoying time with Mr. T, and finding acceptable restaurants to eat at has already been difficult…but the added strictness has added not only difficulty, but frustration. Mr. T is frustrated by constantly accommodating my food needs, and I’m finding myself more and more defensive and on edge regarding anything food (a rant to come on that topic), which has resulted in a few…lively conversations. So I’m going to say it here and now: Mr. T has been over the top supportive this go around, and absolutely works hard at finding and making recipes we can both enjoy. He’s the best and I’m crabby.

Day three was my worst energy crash, but my race Saturday eventually brought on a total breakdown and some serious sleep, which I obviously needed.

Saturday was awesome and a little awful at the same time. I woke up to find that my awesome training partner had gotten sick and couldn’t go to the race, which meant I’d be going solo. Not something I’m good at in general, but something that terrifies me for races. I already have issues with race day anxiety and I have terrible self-talk (you know, a lot of ‘you’re an idiot for thinking you can do this’ or ‘welp, you’re gonna die – have fun with that!’), but Teresa always talks me down and Mr. T makes me feel better…and neither would be there.

Granted, it was a short race – a .62 mile swim and a 2.5 mile run – but transitions freak me out to no end and I almost talked myself into going back to bed and just calling it a day.

But I didn’t.

I grabbed my stuff, headed out and ended up having a really fun race! I did pretty well, too, especially considering that I felt pretty tired the whole run. I was super dizzy when I crossed the finish line, but it was the first HOT race of the year, so there were multiple factors at play for sure. I had sweet potatoes the night before and a banana coffee smoothie for breakfast, so I had some carbs in my system…maybe just not enough.

But regardless, I did well and was SUPER proud of myself for doing an entire race all by myself. And with a smile on my face because it was REALLY FUN! I enjoy this stuff.

After the race, I went home, ate eggs (FOUR of them!), worked on some songs for spin playlists (I’m guest teaching my first class ever tonight!), blogged and waited for Mr. T to get home from work. From there, we did some running around, ate lunch at Trainwreck – who has GRASSFED BURGERS, hooray! – and went to buy me a new swimsuit. Gross.

I wish I could say all my hard work has resulted in me being totally 2-piece ready, but I am SOOOOOO not there yet. So I ended up with a nice pink one piece from Target. Here’s some more bravery on my part…a photo. (Cue vomiting.) My legs are still hideous and I hate them. I’ve come a long way, but I still have a long way to go.

I wanted the swimsuit that came with an overlay that completely covered my hips and bum, but the helpful stranger lady sitting outside my dressing room told me I should throw that one right in the trash and buy the pink one…who am I to argue with a stranger who has no vested interest in making me feel like a turd??

So anyway. I bought the suit, we went to our friend’s awesome pool for a bit, and after a few hours, I really started to drag. I ate a cucumber, some pistachios, some Paleo jerky…and I was still fading fast. So we headed out, stopping at the grocery store to get something to make for dinner.

I was actually laying against the cart as we approached the checkout, and felt like I would fall down if anyone took the cart away, so T sent me to the car while he finished up. We got home around 7 and I immediately collapsed into bed. I woke up at 9:30. Mr. T had also fallen asleep (he’s been working crazy hours and is also exhausted), so he made dinner, we ate and then we immediately fell back asleep. The nap was like a wonderful warmup for what was to come.

Man, let me tell you, this was THE BEST sleep I think I’ve ever had. My scraped leg didn’t bother me, my shoulders didn’t bother me, I was just dead-to-the-world, pillow-drooling, ugly-face asleep. It was ah-may-zing.

I took that as a sign to NOT work out yesterday. I was still fatigued most of the day, but not horribly so, and I added my serving of sweet potato to dinner to make sure I’m getting SOME carbs. I slept pretty well again, but nothing like Saturday night. That is the kind of sleep I daydream about.

So here we are. Day 8, the start of week 2, and I’m really hoping my energy picks up. I have some serious training to do these next few weeks, and I need the energy to kill my workouts. So here’s hoping!

These are extra true today…

Later, gators!

Detox: Confessions of a sugar addict

posted on Monday, June 21st, 2013 under 21-Day Sugar Detox |

Hi. My name is Sarah and I’m addicted to love sugar.

And not even unhealthy sugar necessarily. Sure, I cheat on my Paleo-ish ways on occasion – I refuse to live the rest of my life without dark chocolate, vodka or red wine, and even though it makes me feel like death incarnate, sometimes I just HAVE to have some ice cream. And as an athlete, I find being super strict about Paleo grain rules difficult, so I would never, ever claim to really be 100% Paleo. My metabolic type simply doesn’t agree with the absence of quinoa and rice, so I eat them. You have to eat what YOUR body needs, and these are the things I’ve found work for me.

But beyond a few things like this, my sugar and carb intake comes from fresh and dried fruit, sweet potatoes, rice and raw honey.

So that doesn’t sound so bad, right? And in reality, it means my diet is still pretty dang clean and much better than most people I know (and I’m not judging, believe me). Here’s the thing…are you sitting down? You might want to brace yourself. Grab a chair. Or a wall. Or a large mammal. I’m about to drop something on you I bet you would NEVER think I’d say. Ready for this shiz?

Dramatic drum roll, please…

For the first time in my life…

I ENJOY being healthy.

Say WHAAAAAA?!?! Shut the front door. Get the truck outta here. Flying flamingos, WHO IS THIS PERSON? I DON’T EVEN KNOW YOU ANYMORE. WHERE ARE THOSE CUPCAKES???

Relax. It’s a good thing. Cupcakes are on hold during the detox, but I will still be baking yummy things. When I can, I will make them as healthy as possible, but I recognize the whole world isn’t out to be a health nut.

The reality of it is that I still eat really, really delicious food. And when I seriously crave food from my former life, I make a date with friends and make the cheat count. I feel like I have finally found some semblance of balance in life. Some days I will disagree with that statement, especially when I’m in training and I never see Mr. T, but for the most part, things work.

But I’ve noticed lately that I feel the need to eat dried mango or dark chocolate several nights each week (NO, I’m not preggo…don’t you put that on me, Ricky Bobby), and I’m eating rice (hello, sushi) like a crazy person. Seriously, I may have single-handedly consumed half the ocean in the last two weeks. I’m practically a shark. Raw fish nomnomnom.

Not good. I’m not gaining weight, but I’m not seeing the muscle definition I want, and I really want to be at my peak physical form as much as possible for the New Town Tri in 4 weeks. So I decided to dive into the 21-Day Sugar Detox that I’ve read about from several of my favorite Paleo bloggers (including PaleOMG – seriously, even if you don’t eat Paleo, you will love her – and The Civilized Caveman).

DISCLAIMER/REALITY CHECK. This may not be a good plan. This might just be my worst idea yet. I may be setting myself up for failure, because I intend to train like a boss while on this detox, and this is not meant to support that kind of activity. I recognize this, but I’m 5 days in and have managed to rock 4 awesome workouts, so I’m hopeful I can see this through.

I’m doing Level 3 of the detox, which is the Paleo/Primal level with no dairy. Today is day 5. Day 1 was Monday, the day after the St. Peters Rec Plex Tri (I think I’ll blog about that experience, too, because holy hot mess was it a crazy day). I had done some serious carb loading (quinoa, sweet potatoes and dried mango to the max) in the days leading up to the race, so my carb stores were pretty high even after the race. So the first two days were a breeze. I was all, ‘Look at me, I’m not eating sugar and I feel SOOOOOOO great! I’m the best no-sugar-eater of all time! Ladeeeda!’

Then day 3 hit. I’m about to go TMI on your buns, so don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Day 3 started with a little toot when I woke up. That little toot was like an adorable little warning for something TERRIBLE AND HILARIOUS that has plagued me every morning since…Poopapalooza, peeps. To the point that I actually laugh at my own poops in the morning now. My stomach feels fine, but my intestines are hell bent on evacuating food hostages in a wicked barrage of poosplosions the second they realize I’m conscious.

Anyway, once I stopped laughing, I continued with my morning and headed to work. All was well until about 10:30. I had just finished my daily cucumber and was walking from the office to the parking lot for a work outing to tour booze shops and scope out competitors when all of a sudden I hit the wall.

It was so sudden and so noticeable. It felt like I leaked all my energy out of my shoes in the last 2 steps and was now made of wood.

I trudged to my coworker’s vehicle, climbed in and immediately bemoaned how exhausted I already was. Then I shoved nuts in my face like a rampaging squirrel in the desperate attempt to fuel this expedition.

I got through the day somehow, with lots of protein, and even knocked out a killer workout with Josh (who I think I will now call J-Derp thanks to his invention of the Durpee – but that’s a story for another day). So J-Derp kicked my ass, had ZERO sympathy for my personal energy crisis and sent me whining on my way home to die. (Actually, he just has a lot more faith in me than I do and knows how to push me when I want to quit, because he’s just that fantabulous.)

I went home and ate crockpot salsa chicken (made with organic, sugar- and preservative-free salsa) with a whole avocado, managed to whip up a batch of detox-approved ‘cookies’ (quotations are because REAL cookies have something sweet in them…these impostors just have shredded unsweetened coconut, but I’m finding more and more that they really are sweet enough), and collapsed.

Since then, aside from my morning butt giggles, I’ve been pretty good. On the detox, I’m allowed one green-tipped banana (not quite ripe) OR a Granny Smith apple, and today was the first day I used that (I made a smoothie with a frozen banana in it) because I was feeling way draggy after I did a 55-minute Spin ride and then visited my great aunt. I will eventually use the athlete modification and add in either a half cup of sweet potato or a cup of butternut squash to help support my activity level…and by eventually, I mean I have a small race and a training ride tomorrow AM, so I’ll use it today…eventually.

So that’s the background and current status of my detox. I’m hopeful I can power through my training, but I’m not willing to step back my intensity when my A race is so close, so worst case scenario, if I hit a major wall, I’ll add back in what I need to fuel training and complete a full detox after the race.

Oh, did I mention I am now a certified Spin instructor, too? Welp, that happened. I haven’t found the balls to audition anywhere yet, but I’m guest teaching my first class Monday evening, so I’m way stoked about that.

And I got a little bit of new ink. Just a little. (My arm looks way fat in this, but it’s the best shot I have of it  - the artist took this before he wrapped it.)

So, you know, those are some things. Two blogs in two days – I’m not doing so bad, am I? Yeah, just wait till day three hits…man, I f^¢*ing hate day three…

Just over a year? Yep, right on schedule.

posted on Monday, June 20th, 2013 under General Ramblings |

Clearly I suck at this whole blogging regularly thing. I’m great at it for my job, but for myself?

Ain't nobody got time for that.

Well, I want to make more time for it. Because for the last year or so, I’ve been on a journey that I should have shared more of, documented more. Because I should be SO PROUD of everything I’ve accomplished and overcome, but all I tend to see is how far I have left to go. Blogging along the way sure would have helped.

So my new mission is to make this happen more often. Why now? Because I’m on day four of the 21-Day Sugar Detox (level 3) and I just want to talk about it.

Some background that got me here…the highlights and lowlights of the past year:

  • I got tired of being fat. Seriously, I was fat. Again. Remember that one time I lost all that weight? Welp, I ate it all back. And I was depressed. I felt awful, about myself and about everything around me. Being negative sucks, and everything was negative. I needed to change that.
  • I joined Club Fitness and started seeing a personal trainer. His name was Brandon and he was great. He tried to talk to me about nutrition, but at first, I didn’t really listen. Okay, I didn’t. At all. But I trained once a week and started spinning regularly.
  • I changed jobs. I moved to a smaller agency where I could be more useful in digital projects, but still get to write. It was a change I just needed to make, to get away from some negativity I just couldn’t shake. Sometimes you just need a change, and I’m lucky I got to make one when I needed it most.
  • After about 5 months of seeing Brandon and only losing 10 pounds, I had a mini breakdown. Brandon, who never once judged me or made me feel inferior in any way, gently reminded me that my nutrition might need more work. He was right. That was the last day I ate a sandwich and the next day dove headfirst into the world of Paleo. I’m not perfect at it, but I’ve been at it ever since, with cheat meals keeping me sane when I need them. I document what I eat. It helps. My first month eating clean, I dropped almost 22 pounds. TWENTY TWO POUNDS. And I wasn’t starving. I was eating real food and my body thanked me for it.
  • October and November were rough. My uncle was in the hospital with cancer, and my grandpa grew frail as he went to visit him every day and lived in a hotel for weeks to be close. He eventually developed pneumonia and was admitted to the hospital. He was eventually released to a nursing facility to recover, right around Thanksgiving. Then, the day after Thanksgiving, he was rushed back to the hospital. As I sat in the waiting room, waiting to hear test results, I saw some odd posts on Facebook and learned that my trainer had been struck by a drunk driver that morning and died on site. I was devastated. You grow really close to your personal trainer, and Brandon meant a lot to me. He had more faith in me than I had ever had in myself, he pushed me to be better. I texted him daily, with workouts or nutrition questions, or funny stories. He was a friend, and my life without him was upsetting. But the heartache had just begun. The next morning, while I was getting ready to go to the hospital to see my grandpa, he died. I wasn’t there, and he died. I decided to sleep in, and it was a terrible decision. I could have used this as a reason to crumble, to allow myself to give in to the depression tugging at me, but Brandon had made me better than that. Failing now would be the worst way to honor him, and Grandpa would have wanted me to be healthy. The next few weeks were miserable.
  • I attended a memorial workout event for Brandon a few weeks after the accident and Grandpa’s funeral. There, the personal training director introduced me to Josh, who would be my new trainer whenever I was ready to return to the gym. I knew I had to do it. B would have wanted me to. So after another week went by, I set up an appointment and headed back to the gym.
  • My first time back at the gym was gut wrenching and awful. I cried in the parking lot for 10 minutes before I could force myself to go in. Mr. T talked me through it and helped me walk in the front doors. I cried through my consult with Josh, who was a total champ and didn’t make me feel awkward at all. The next few sessions were just as hard, but each session I knew I was doing the right thing.
  • I still think of Brandon often. He was irreplaceable and wonderful, and the world is missing a super great human. But thankfully, I have Josh. He helped me start on a new path to success, and I’ve continued to see the success I started with Brandon. I’ve lost over 65 pounds so far, and I’m back to triathlon training and racing.
  • Which brings me to today…my A race is the New Town Triathlon in July. It’s less than a month away, and I decided to do this detox to help get me to optimal racing form. I will have to make some modifications to support the endurance training I do, but I know it will help me reach my next goal.

So this is the longest post ever. Sorry about that. That’ll happen when you have over a year of life to recap, I guess. So my next post will be a bit more info on the detox and updates on my progress. And I’m getting Teddy groomed next week, so I’ll be sure to include pics of my fuzzy baby.

In the meantime, enjoy these Grumpy Cat memes I’ve made for inter-office email laughs.

Toodles!

CelebReality? Eye roll + rant.

posted on Monday, May 8th, 2012 under General Ramblings |

This happened today on Facebook.

So then I made this happen:

I see her point in general, but for HER to make this statement is mind blowing. Yes, the media needs to tone back its focus on the female form and focus more on the true accomplishments of women. According to government studies, women are still paid less than men holding the same position. I’ve seen a few sources cite that a cause of  this is that women have fewer years of experience since they take time off for motherhood – so what does that mean for women who choose not to have children? We are held to a standard that doesn’t apply. We also pay more for health insurance during key childbearing years, so again, those women who make the choice to not procreate cannot affect the standard to which we are held and for which we pay.

But that’s not really the point of my rant today. I’m just blown away by the audacity of this woman who has made MILLIONS promoting her own unrealistic body image to then want to turn around and claim injury from the media focusing on her weight. I say good for the media for attempting to show that being so thin seems unhealthy and unrealistic. In a world obsessed with appearance, especially an appearance so unattainable for those with fulltime jobs that don’t include hours at the gym each day, I am glad to hear the media critique someone rationally.

It’s not like the media reported on a speech by the First Lady at a charitable event and chose to focus the report on her weight.

Newsflash, Bethenny – you promote SkinnyGirl. You developed SkinnyGirl. You are SkinnyGirl. It is laughable that you expect people not to judge your skinniness. Get over it.

Shove a vegan cheeseburger in your face (see? I’m promoting healthy eating!) and then we’ll talk about real issues concerning women in media.