The Story of the Past Month (part 2)

Leaving Chicago was hard. Chicago was everything I thought it would be and more. To top it all off, I was facing the prospect of returning home without a full time job and essentially being dependent on my fiance. In between those two realities, I had a week long seminar to face, which looked to be pretty  miserable. On top of that, they weren’t providing food.

So the next week was a bit stressful, to say the least. Luckily, I found an AWESOME salad restaurant around the corner from where our hotel was . Fresh spinach, no iceberg lettuce if I didn’t want it. Almonds, oranges, chicken — all awesome. I had a salad from this place at least six or seven times during the week. For lunches, however, I wasn’t quite as lucky. There wasn’t anything really around the place we were having the seminar. So I ended up spending quite a bit on beef jerky and almonds.  I also ended up eating a good bit of Hershey’s Special Dark. Tasty, but not terribly good for me.

if you live in DC or New York, go to Chop't and enjoy a salad for me.

I also broke down in that week and had some McDonald’s — and definitely paid for it the next day. The closing reception, of course, had pizza for dinner, so I had a slice of that. I also bought a whole bunch of chips my last night there. I had planned to take them on the train with me, but halfway through the bag of cheese puffs I had bought (which were tasty), I realized I didn’t really want them anymore, and gave the rest of my junk food away to a friend.

I came back to Atlanta a week ago yesterday feeling somewhat defeated. No job (except for a part time writing gig), dealing with eating issues, moving in with my fiance on whom I was now dependent. For whatever reason I couldn’t get rehydrated from the train. We went off to TKD, and, to my credit, I did better than I thought I would. I was incredibly sore all last week, though. My body was getting its ass kicked again, and, to be honest, it felt pretty good.

I still wasn’t very happy, though. Even though I was eating paleo, I still felt fat, and this was only corroborated by pictures I was seeing of myself from the closing seminar. I was pinching myself every so often and feeling the fat between my fingers. I was (and still am) hyper-aware of the fat on my thighs when I sit down. My stress level was still pretty high as I was bouncing back and forth to my school trying to get paperwork in for my part time job, and even when I got that paperwork in, waiting to hear back. To start something…

Seeing pics like this of me at the closing seminar didn't help...

On top of all of that, I was disappointed with certain aspects of the new apartment (the kitchen is fairly small), but most of that was exacerbated by the fact that we hadn’t been able to unpack. I was in the apartment pretty  much al day every day, and I hadn’t really seen any of my friends since I got back. Simply put, my environment, my internal emotions, and my self-image were all out of whack. On top of all of this, I was constantly sore from TKD, which just made me feel weak, useless, and inept. I don’t even think I realized, until just now, how stressful the past few weeks have been.

However, things are looking up.

Me and my new dragon wall -- note the difference from the previous picture -- cameras sure are funny things

I went and stalked recipes for paleo and have been trying them out, getting back into cooking now that I have more funds to work with. I do really like to cook, and the past few recipes have been fun adventures (posts to come on those!)

I am back at Taekwondo with my friends and doing something that I love (even though it’s hot as balls in the room, and “warmups” that we do are a bitch — they are making me stronger!!)

Between Wednesday and Sunday my muscles got much less sore (though I pulled a hamstring — that really pissed me off).

This past weekend Anthony and I got the apartment cleaned up and it all feels MUCH BETTER. I can’t wait to have friends and family over, play kinect games, and cook paleo deliciousness for them.

My awesome living room.

This week I am going to make a schedule of things I need/want to do: project to work on, what I want to do with my blogs, job hunting, and, hopefully, time set off for this writing gig.

Money is still an issue, but it will hopefully be less so once I get my reimbursement checks from IHS/SPN, not to mention the deposit refund from Evanston. Until all of that happens, I am going to have to lean on Anthony. And doing THAT is going to be an exercise in and of itself. Depending on people is not my idea of a good time.

Finally, even though I am not allowed to weigh myself, I did measure myself this morning (with Anthony’s blessing). After about a month, I’ve lost a half-inch on my waist, a whole inch on my hips, and another half-inch on my bust.

Not too shabby.

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The Story of the Past Month (part 1)

WordPress tells me that my last post was on July 27th. So that tells me it’s been  about a month since I posted here. I didn’t really intend on taking this long of a hiatus, but I was expecting to be gone for a while.  Lots of very exciting things happened, but I will focus a bit on the challenges I faced towards the end of the summer, and why I took a step back from meticulous recordings of my progress.

Towards the end of my internship, something bad began to happen. I began weighing myself every morning, sometimes more than once. Every morning the scale read 150, and every morning I started out upset. Not visibly so, but in the back of my mind that number sat. Because of this, one of two things would happen. I would either cheat on paleo (less often), or I would start to feel guilty about eating (more often). No matter what I ate, or how I ate it, I was feeling bad. I ate too much not enough, the wrong kind of meat, not enough veggies, etc. No matter what I did, I felt bad for eating.

Needless to say, this wasn’t exactly healthy. I talked with Anthony (fiance) about it the first couple of days of August, and we decided a good way to cut off this cycle was to stop weighing myself. Completely. We set an arbitrary date at which I would be allowed to weigh myself again — after my belt test on September 10th.

My friend David, traipsing around to take pictures in Chicago.

I pretty much immediately started to feel better. Much in the same way that weighing myself a day before my weigh-in during the first part of my journey would get me down that day, I didn’t really realize how much weighing myself in the mornings was putting a dampener on my moods and self-esteem for that day.  I stuck with paleo more easily, and it just became a lifestyle instead of something that was a chore.

I also stopped working out, though that had happened a couple of weeks before Anthony and I decided it would be a good idea to stop weighing myself. Much in the same way that weighing myself every day was bringing down my self-esteem, so was attempting to do TKD by myself. I find it is very similar to when I would work out, or run. If I was doing it out of obligation and there was no fun in it, then it was just a chore.  Not only was it a chore but it was one that magnified my faults. Everything I was doing wrong seemed magnified and frustrated me more than it might have normally. It ate at my confidence, and brought me down further.

I really needed to take care of myself mentally, especially since the stress of going from Chicago to DC for a seminar and then back to Atlanta was mounting. Not to mention that I had two great friends, both of which are paleo, were coming to see me. I wanted to relax and do what felt natural (which paleo does, much of the time), and enjoy my time with them.

Real women leave the crust

Finally, I gave Intermittent Fasting a try. I can’t remember precisely when I started, but for a few weeks I didn’t eat on Sundays or Thursdays (well, skipping breakfast and lunch). It was an interesting experience, but I have discontinued it for now. I would probably do IF during the periods in which I can’t exercise, if I was still trying to lose weight the next time I had such a period.  It’s up for grabs, but it is something that I tried.

With those adjustments made during my last weeks of my internship, I packed up my stuff and said a very sad goodbye to Chicago.

Goodbye, Chicago!

I’m still here.

This is me, doing pushups this morning:

BAM!

So, yeah. I’m still here. I’m still paleo. Here’s the sitch:

My period hit me pretty hard this weekend, so I didn’t get a chance to write up a bunch of posts like I usually do. In addition to that, I am busy preparing for visits from friends and packing up and getting ready to leave. The consequence of which is that this blog will take a hiatus for a few weeks. I will probably still post, but it will be more casually than anything.

I’m going to use that time to do some re-evaluating. What do I want? What am I working towards? And how best do I get there? I am unsure of all of these things at the moment, and need to take some time to figure them out.

I will probably post meta-explorations as I attempt to figure this out, but if you would like to keep up with me in more detail, I joined the community at nerdfitness. Here’s my intro post to give you an idea of what I am trying to accomplish.

Just doing some thinking. No big. 🙂

Deuces,

Gina

Food Tally, Day 12

I had an eh day, overall.

Breakfast

Apples and almond butter have returned!!

Lunch

Finished off the spaghetti sauce*

Dinner

All of a dinner sized portion of mongolian beef, sans rice (it was tasty)
Bottle of orange juice
a few squares of 86% dark chocolate (didn’t like it that much…)

*A note on my spaghetti sauce.

A few readers have addressed concerns that I am not eating enough. When, ironically, I have the opposite concern. I have been eating quite a bit lately until I’m beyond satisfied and moving into the full range. But that is neither here nor there. What I wanted to note with the spaghetti sauce is that this sauce I made a few days ago. I used two pounds of grassfed beef, onions, garlic, and tomato sauce. There is SO MUCH  MEAT in each serving of this, that I get PLENTY. So, no worries in that department.

Alright, kids, I’m exhausted. Going to bed now.

Deuces,

Gina

1 thing Paleo can’t do for you

Living a paleo and primal lifestyle is amazing. Though I don’t believe that it cures everything from acne to cancer, I do believe that it is a comprehensive and rewarding lifestyle change. I believe that for me, and for most people, it’s a solution to weight management, diabetes, and other “diseases of civilization.” Despite the power of paleo and primal living, however, there is one thing that such a lifestyle change cannot, and will not do for you.

Paleo cannot fix this

Paleo won’t make you feel good about your body. It can’t restore lost self-esteem. It can’t make you love yourself. You can build a body that makes people jealous every time they look at you. You can lift more weight than Grok would have. But if you come from a place of hating your body, you will never feel satisfied with these accomplishments. Losing weight, getting in shape, eating better won’t solve the problem you’re facing. Because even if you’re overweight or obese, the problem isn’t your body. It’s you’re head.

I know what you’re thinking. Easy for me to say, right? I’m the woman who dropped 42 pounds in 4 months and is on her way to losing another 15. What do I know about looking in the mirror and seeing rolls of fat, bulging hips, pasty skin? What do I know about not being able to walk up a hill — or even down a block — without getting winded? I know a lot about that, actually. And I know what it’s like to feel like you’re losing a war with your body.

Hell, I still feel that way sometimes. When I struggle with stressed/emotional/bored eating, I feel so frustrated. I feel like I’m trying to fight a battle I can’t win. I feel like I’m entering a fray that will last me for the rest of my life. I am always going to struggle with stress eating; it’s in my genes. No amount of primal eating, walking, lifting, or sprinting will fix that. What will fix it is changing the way I think about my body.

Instead of seeing myself as warring with your body, envision yourself as in a relationship. You and your body are partners. It’s a partnership more intimate than marriage, more trying than parenting, and more rewarding than friendship. It’s also the hardest relationship to make healthy, because when it comes down to it, you are battling yourself.

But the key to a healthy relationship with your body begins by recognizing the amazing things it does for you. Just like the beginning of a healthy marriage is recognizing your partner’s contributions to your relationship.

I’m not going to tell you how your body is amazing — you have to find it for yourself. Think of ten things, right now, that your body does for you. Write them down on a piece of paper and stick them somewhere. Tell your body thank you, because it’s awesome. The best way to show appreciation for your partner is to treat it right. Eat healthy, get exercise, learn to move and live together in harmony because you’re both appreciating each other.

It’s hard. It’s the hardest thing I’ve done in my life, especially because I’ve got genetics and conditioning working against me. But any relationship worth keeping up with is going to be challenging.

Most of us recognize that relationships are doomed to fail if the partners are trying to “fix” each other. The same holds true for you and your body. If you are motivated by a need to “fix” your body, you will fail. It doesn’t matter how much weight you lose or how much muscle you gain. You haven’t fixed your body, because you haven’t fixed yourself first.

I don’t care if you’re severely underweight or morbidly obese. Don’t try and “fix” your body. It’s doing exactly what it’s supposed to do. You’ve GOT to get your head on straight first, and then you’ll realizing that you were the one who needed to change all along.

Tough love,

Gina