Far Too Much Honesty – My Primal Weight Loss

Life gets the best of us sometimes

I will preface this post by saying, I really did try. I attempted with all my heart to follow my challenge to the letter of the law. I really did, I swear. Even ask my clone. She knew I was trying and struggling to keep my ground.  But… Like all the other challenges past, life threw me curve-balls and I failed to conquer them. I let the hard days, and the temptation, get the better of me.

My 21-day challenge lasted a total of 4. And that was it. Work stressed me out on day 5, and I just threw caution to the wind and ate the shit out of tortillas & salsa at a Don Pablos. Then the next day was the Boy’s birthday celebration at a local Irish pub; a traditional Irish Ruben batted it’s greasy-bread filled eyelashes at me, and I was a goner again. Sunday was a McDonald’s and diner-food feast. Yep. It was bad. All my progress (3lbs down) was lost in just 2 days.

I’ve tried to get my act together multiple times since that failure-filled weekend, but it didn’t happen. Final prep for my 12-day work trip got in the way, and it was just easier to cheat and not worry about cooking. However, I paid the ultimate price for my cheating while here in Arizona. My gallbladder decided it had had enough of my foolishness and crippled me with a horrendous attack that last 7 hours. Needless to say, I got my ass in gear and have been trying my damnedest to stay away from all the bad stuff.

I’ve never felt anything more painful than a gallbladder attack. They happen every so often when I’ve been cheating a lot after a long stint of being good. They plague my family’s genetics, so I’m predisposed to suffer from them. For those of you that don’t know what they are, it’s an intense pain right in the middle of your chest that radiates through to your back, specifically the right shoulder-blade. It’s a constant, intense pain that would literally drive a person insane if it went on for too long. It makes you feel nauseous, shiver with chills, but sweat if you bundle up.The attacks happen almost always at night, and usually last a few hours. (This most recent one was a record long one). Because they happen at night, it can be disorienting and hard to figure out what exactly is happening at first. It usually just feels like bag pain; like I slept on it wrong. But once you realize what it is, there’s very, very little you can do to seek comfort. You flip and flop, pace and lay down. Nothing helps. No position, location, or condition helps relieve the pain. If I never have another one it’ll be way too soon.

My work conference is winding down, and I’ll  have a few extra days to relax in Arizona before heading home. I’m planning on getting a good run in somewhere, and I’m excited to run in a new environment. When I get back, I’ve decided I’ve got to get my butt in gear and start with my Spartan and Primal workouts. I have some big races this year–I have to be ready.

Anyway, here’s my favorite picture of the trip so far. We’re headed to our offsite event tonight, to the home of the Saguaro cactus. I’m hoping for some awesome sunset photos. We shall see!arizona

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Even the most stubborn of donkeys will sprint with the right incentive

What keeps you going when the going gets tough? What makes you lace up your sneakers, grab your earphones, and head to the gym/road/track? What are you fighting to overcome? What are you hoping to gain by losing? What motivates you?streght

Is it a health concern? A family gene that could rear it’s ugly head in just a decade or two? Is it for a loved one you lost, or fear you will lose in the not so distant future? Is it for all the names you were called in high school? All the depressing thoughts you had in college? Is it the one thing you CAN control? What is it?

My motivation has been years in the making. All through high school and college I was overweight and unhappy. It wasn’t until the summer after I graduated from college that I finally decided enough was enough. I needed to take my life in my own hands, and try to become who I always wanted to be. My diet came first. After a year and half focusing solely on that, learning how to handle cravings/how to cheat & maintain, I’ve now been able to move on to the physical side of things.

For me, my motivation to change my physical self comes from a deep-rooted desire to succeed. I have an overwhelming need to do the best I possibly can at everything I set out to do. It’s something my mom instilled in me at a very young age–she always said she wouldn’t yell at me for failing if it was the best I could do. By setting goals of races throughout this year, I am forcing myself to get my ass moving because I am so determined to not make a fool of myself. Sure, I procrastinated the hell out of the Rock ‘n’ Roll half. But I still finished, which was my ultimate goal for that race. My next two races though, I absolutely cannot do that. Other people are counting on me for one race, and the other I wouldn’t make it through the first .1 of a mile if I don’t get in shape. These things are serving as my motivation, my reason to put my running shoes on and head to the gym.

We all have different reasons for becoming physically fit. We all have different reasons for not getting physically fit too. For 11 years, (I’m 23 now, but I’d say my weight issues/identity issues/self consciousness hit at 12) I’ve battled nothing other than myself. Some undo belief that there was something wrong with me. Some thing that needed to change for me to be acceptable, lovable, want-able. So I bent and molded myself into everything everyone ever wanted, hoping one day it would be the right combination to stick. I was the best listener. The empathetic therapist. The mediator. The wing-man. The fixer. The reliable one. The event coordinator. The chauffeur. I did everything I could to be thought of as a perfect friend, someone that people could love. I wanted so desperately to fit in, because all the happy-together people fit in, that I lost sight of what was really important: being happy.

Food was my comfort when I perceived that I had nothing else. Trying to be everything for everyone else left me feeling empty inside, and feeding my soul with tasty food was what got me through the hard times. It became my friend; my confidant; my supportive shoulder to cry on. I thought having a “good” meal when I was upset would help me feel better–and it would for about 5 minutes. After that guilt and shame set in, restarting the cycle once again.

My best friend in college told me once, “The only thing wrong with you is that you think something’s wrong with you.” She’s never been more right. Breaking that cycle of trying to please everyone, and removing food as a comfort (thinking of it as just what it is, a fuel source), helped me to figure out what makes me tick. Inspiring others, motivating them to change their lives, and encouraging them when the going gets tough has become something that’s really important to me. It all happened by accident, and it’s honestly something I never thought I could do. Physical fitness and helping others achieve their goals has become my “thing”, what I am starting to believe is my purpose in life.

get it right

So stop to think about it for a second. I mean, really think about it. What makes you tick? What makes you get out from underneath the covers in the morning? What puts purpose in your step, and hope in your heart? Are you using food as an escape? Are you using your blanket of fat to hide behind what you could become? You don’t have to tell me any of these things that you discover; but just think about it. Be honest with yourself, and decide what it is that you want and never stop chasing it.

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Boredom is the death of a “diet”

skinny taste

image via skinnytaste.com

No one likes the word “diet”. To a lot of us, it means “to restrict oneself to small amounts or special kinds of food in order to lose weight”. Who the heck wants to restrict themselves to SMALL amounts of special foods? Just reading that gets you depressed (well, me anyway). We all want to eat what we want, when we want, and not get fat in the process. (Sounds like the perfect world, right?) But this definition of “diet” is the verb. The act of dieting. Limiting what we put in our mouths in hopes of losing all the indulgences gracing our problem areas. But has anyone stopped to think about the noun part of diet?

In it’s noun form, diet is, “the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats”. This doesn’t sound so bad, right? It’s just what we eat regularly. If we only ate anchovies and Kraft mac ‘n’ cheese, that would be considered a diet. Why can’t our “diets” just consist of more veggies and protein, and less carbs and sugars? But when we hear the word “veggies” with “diet” we automatically start to think dieting, not diet. It becomes the part of the word everyone hates to hear. The part that makes every person who’s broken down and bought the $99.99 miracle food from the informercial they saw at 3am, that just it swore THIS would be the thing that worked, want to curl up into the fetal position and cry. Veggies and diet combined in a sentence get a really bad rap.

Primal to me is not dieting. It’s a diet; a lifestyle. It’s a choice I’m consciously making, and a way in which I want to lead my life. It is not just what I eat, or how I exercise. It’s a mental shift. It’s a effort I put forth to wholly, and completely, change my life to be healthy in all aspects: mentally, emotionally, physically, and physiologically.

Not everyone is looking for that, though. Some are just looking to diet. While I do believe dieting can work in the short term (when done properly, and not some crazy-fad thing all the celebs are doing), for long term success I feel there has to be an overall & complete change for any sort of weight-loss work to stick.

My opinions on diet versus lifestyle aside, the key to keeping any healthy change in food consumption, I’ve come to realize, is: VARIETY. Becoming bored with the healthy foods you eat (short-term or long-term) will lead you to say, “I don’t want to eat this sh** anymore! I just want a damn (fill in the blank)”. For me, when I get bored with the Primal things I’ve been making I start craving chips and Cheetos. Pizza will usually be consumed once, and there’s always a pasta dish somewhere along the way. All my cravings come screaming for attention when I’ve reached a plateau in food selection.

To combat this recurring issue I’ve taken to collecting Primal, and non-Primal, recipes on Pinterest. You’d be surprised at all of the creative ideas that are out there, especially the recipes copy-cating restaurant food. My personal favorite thing is adapting my favorite “bad” foods into everyday Primal meals (for ideas on how to do this, see my “Dinner Diaries” posts). I’ve created a “This is How I Primal” board on my Pinterest page to help me keep on track, and to organize all the things I eventually want to try. I’ve also made a motivational fitness board to help get me through the ups and downs of working my ass off during all my race training this year.

Y’all may think it’s corny, but this is what works for me. Find what works for you–magazines, cookbooks, tv shows, farmers markets. Whatever it takes to keep your food options interesting. Don’t fall down the routine trap. Put some spice into your life!

 

P.S. – If you do decide to take a hop, skip and jump over to my Pinterest page, and like what you see, check back to the boards I mentioned regularly because I add recipes and motivation almost daily (I’m kind of a Pinterest addict).

P.P.S. – Have any great recipe ideas? Let me know! I’m always on the look out for new things to try.

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I’m about to get my ass handed to me, aren’t I?

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I’m pretty sure it’s all a mistake. I swear, it’s gotta be a dream. Because there is absolutely NO logical explanation for this. None! None, whatsoever. It all has to be a big misunderstanding because if it’s not… then I really am signed up to run a half marathon tomorrow. A. Half. MARATHON… TOMORROW!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That’s 13.1 miles. (MILES!)

That’s 69,168 feet. (Sixty-nine THOUSAND!)

That’s 830,016 inches. (That’s a lot of flipping inches!)

And I’m supposed to run them all (Ha. Yeah, right). 

How did I get roped into this, you might ask? Well, it all started last May (2012). I just started in a new job, and the woman whom I replaced was still really close friends with my boss. He invited her over so I could meet her, and while she was there for lunch she asked me to run a 5k with her. I had never met her before in my life, only talked to her twice over the phone briefly, and she was inviting me to run 3.1 miles with her October. I thought it was a little odd, but I went with. I chalked it up to her being outgoing, and to be perfectly honest, I was really wanted to meet new people (I moved to the area only 6 months before and knew literally 0 people). So I signed up.

We talked here and there over the next few months on Facebook, not really A LOT, but enough that we got to know each other better. I started really training for in August, about 2 months before the run. Before y’all get on me about the proper training lengths, I know I should have started sooner. Procrastination is a bad habit of mine (you’ll see just how bad in a few minutes). The Boy helped me with training because I’ve never played a physical sport in my life (I was a bookworm throughout school), so I had no clue what I was doing. He helped me build up, and we were going out about 3 times a week. I was making steady improvements every time, working my way up to 3 miles ever so slowly.

By the time October rolled around though, plans changed. We never went to the 5k we signed up for. I wanted to go home for a NH tradition (you can read more about here on my old blog) that was going on the same day as the race, and she hurt her knee in a 10k she ran the day before. So that race didn’t happen. I wound up running my first 5k the following weekend with a different friend at a completely different race. It was hard and in the dark, which slowed me down, but I finished! My first real, sanctioned race. I told myself I could cross it off my bucket list.

To keep up the good habits, I decided to sign up for another 5k in December, on New Year’s Eve, with the hopes of running the whole thing without stopping. Training slowed down a lot leading up to that one due to decreasing daylight after work and freezing cold temperatures.

Just 2 weeks before my next 5k, the friend that asked me to run the first 5k invited me to run a half marathon with her in March. I told her she was crazy. I wasn’t ready. I knew I wouldn’t be ready in just 3 months. There was no way I could tackle 13.1 miles of running. No possible way. But we talked about it and what I’d have to do for training. She really encouraged me to give a shot. I tried pulling the “I’m a broke, just-out-of-college girl” thing on her. But she knew me too well by then (we started talking a lot more as the months have gone on) and she asked my boss give me an early Christmas present by him paying for my entry fee. She sensed my weakness for saying no, and lassoed me in before I knew what was happening. All in 3 hours had she told me about the race and got me signed up for it. She’s good.

I ran my second 5k by myself, not fairing too much better the second time than I did the first time. I chalked it up to the 24 degree weather, and was happy I even finished. But the gravity of what I signed up for didn’t hit til the New Year came and went. Slowly over the course of the three months  my apprehension has grown. I trained off and on throughout January, and more consistently in February, but never really surpassing 5 miles. I knew I was procrastinating and I knew I shouldn’t be. I knew I needed to get my butt in gear, but even as March 1st rolled around, I couldn’t/didn’t really push it that much harder. I have no idea why fear didn’t spur me forward this time; it always has in the past. But this time it didn’t.

Maybe this time I just thought there was no preparing myself for this amount of running in that short of amount of time. Maybe I didn’t want to freak myself out by TRYING to run that many miles before hand. Maybe I really didn’t have the time to dedicate to it like I keep saying I didn’t, even though I feel like I could have found the time. Or maybe I just sold myself short, and was my own worst enemy. I don’t know. All I do know is the race is tomorrow, and the longest run I’ve ever completed is 6 miles. And that’s not even running the whole thing–I can only run about 3 without stopping.

I feel, as I sit here writing this, that I am so completely screwed, it’s not even remotely funny. Not even in the farthest reaches of the Sahara desert, is it funny. I am about to have my ass handed to me in the biggest, largest way possible. 13.1 miles of hills and never-ending streets, with 30,000 other runners from around the country, in the rain and freezing cold. It’s going to be the longest 3 or more hours of my life.

If I survive, which everyone I talk to keeps saying I will (I think there all insane–how could I possibly make it out alive after 13.1 miles with those conditions and my little preparation??), I’ll update you with how it went later in the weekend. After I recover from, oh ya know, the 13.1 MILES I’ll have run at once.

Sigh.

Deep breath.

Here we go….

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Here’s How I Do It

I’ve talked about “how” I live my Primal lifestyle before, what I eat and what I avoid, but I want to take a quick second for a refresher post. I’ve had a couple of friends ask me what I eat and how I started Primal, so here’s my “Primal History” and “how-to” guide.

Bexy’s Primal History

The first thing I did when starting out on Primal was cutting out caffeine completely. It was hard. Oh, so hard. I had a terrible caffeine addiction. So terrible that if I didn’t have at least 2 cups a day I was walloped with a doosey of a headache by bedtime. I was working third shift as a substance abuse clinician at the time, so caffeine was my lifeline during those long stretches of quiet. But despite all the odds against me, I did it. I stopped drinking the 64 ounces (or more) of coffee daily, and instead just slept all the time when I wasn’t working. [I should point out here that quitting caffeine isn’t necessarily required. For me, I was badly dependent on the caffeine and the sugar I put into it. It was necessary for me to break this realllllly bad habit first. For others who only have a cup or two now, go for it. It’s all about what works for you.] After the headaches stopped, I felt so much better, even with that one simple change. More energy (weird, right?) and I felt refreshed after sleep as opposed to the caffeine-withdrawal-stupor I was in most mornings.

Next, I moved on to carbs. Removing processed carbs, grains, and pastas from your diet is the cornerstone of the Primal lifestyle. I was dreading this part the most. Like a lot of Americans, I was highly addicted to processed carbs, anything that came with cheese on it, and all things fried. It took me a loooooong time to really get my head wrapped around the idea of not eating carbs, let alone actually stopping them.

I started slow, backing off the number of carbs I ate in a day, gradually decreasing them to the “weight-loss” level. It was a HUGE adjustment, one that I couldn’t have done without support and guidance. Mark’s Daily Apple was a gigantic help, as was the Boy, who was the person that pushed me to give this a try.

I kept up the strict Primal diet for a solid month, dropping 20lbs in 30 days, before I started “cheating” more. I maintained for about 3 months before I started being strict again. I’ve been volleying back and forth between being strict and maintaining for the last year and half. Doing it this way has a)helped me keep the weigh off b)let me not feel deprived, and c)gave me room to breath. Following any diet or lifestyle plan 100% is really, really hard. It takes a LOT of practice and dedication. I know someday I’ll be 100% completely Primal, but I’m not there yet. It took me 23 years to learn the bad habits I have; it’s going to take me a long time to unlearn them.

Primal “How-To”

The first thing I have to stress is: you’re going to have to get outside your comfort zone to do Primal. You won’t be able to stick to the 3 types of veggies you know, or you literally won’t last a week. If you’re super picky or just hate anything new, this isn’t the lifestyle of you.

Second, you are going to have to COOK. Primal food doesn’t come out of a box with heating instructions on the label. This is real cooking with REAL food. If you don’t know how to cook, don’t worry, you can learn (I did!). If you hate cooking, or can’t fathom stepping foot inside your own kitchen, this isn’t the lifestyle for you.

With that said, when I first started Primal I ate a lot of salads. I put different veggies on them, and tried different meats and dressings. It was interesting for a while, but after a few weeks I was really craving a “warm” meal. So what the heck do you make that’s Primal, actually cooked, but doesn’t include carbs? I’m glad you asked!

A typical Primal meal in my house consists of 2/3 veggies and 1/3 protein. The protein can be whatever you like: chicken, steak, fish, tofu, etc. Buy organic & grass fed if you can, since it’s the best for you, but no worries if you can’t (I don’t). The veggies can also be whatever you personally like, but you’re gonna need a lot of it to have a full meal. Having 2 veggies can ease up on the volume of one type you’d need to feel full. Tonight, for example, we had collard greens and carrots. Another staple for us is pan-fried cabbage.

It is here, when you are craving a warm meal, that being adventurous with your food is going to come in handy. Broccoli, carrots and cauliflower will only get you so far. Asparagus, spaghetti squash (ahhmazing substitute for pasta), eggplant, cabbage, bak choy, rutabaga, and turnips are all things your should try if you’re considering going Primal. Green beans, corn, lima beans, potatoes, and the like are all “allowed” on the diet, but should be limited. Some people can’t lose weight and eat these things; I happen to be one of those people (you can find the science behind it on Mark’s here).

Cooking with real butter and olive-oil helps to make you feel fuller longer as opposed to cooking with canola oil or Pam, both of which are highly processed and full of chemicals.

A fantastic shopping list of things to eat and not eat, is here. I used this like my own personal bible when I first started out. Mark also publishes posts regularly responding to people’s questions, so feel free to ask him anything!

Cookbooks are fantastic; Primal Blueprint has several.

The other thing I do, which also  really helps with deprivation, is creating Primal versions of the meals I love. Spaghetti, for example, can easily be made Primal buying using spaghetti squash instead of pasta. I’ve made Primal lasagna, Primal tacos, and Primal steak and cheeses. Next on my “to-try” list is potatoes au gratin but made with spaghetti squash! (I’ll let you know how it goes!)

A few other cornerstones of Primal are playing (it’s not just for 6-year-olds anymore), SLEEPING (our college all-nighter days are over), being active, and working out the Primal way. Mark has plenty of tips and tricks for all of these things on his website. For me personally, the biggest and most important thing to change first was my diet. Working out and being active came second. Everything else has just fallen into place.

Final Thoughts 

If weight has been an issue for you your entire life, you’ve never found anything that worked, and/or want a REAL change, Primal is for you. Nothing worked for me long-term til I tried Primal. I think it’s save my life.

To end this long post, here’s a little inspiration: the picture below is me during college, on my graduation, and today. I started Primal 3 months after my graduation. Look at me today. This could be YOU!

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Categories: Far Too Much Honesty - My Primal Weight Loss, Going Grok, Primal Tips & Tricks | Tags: , , , , , | 7 Comments

Three of My Dreams from all this Weight Loss Work

If you’ve seen my old weight loss posts, you’ll know that this is an old post. But I’m re-posting it because it DEFINITELY applies to my life now. In later posts I’ll go into more detail, but basically I’ve stepped it up a serious notch in my quest for my dream body. I’ve started running (technically not Primal, but it’s active so that’s all that’s important). I completed my first two 5k’s ever in October and December respectively. My friend convinced me to sign up for a Half Marathon this March, and I made a personal goal of completing a Super Spartan Race this August. I might be signing up for a Ragnar Relay Race in October, but I have to wait and see if there’s room for me on my friends’ team. It’s going to be an insane year. But it’s going to force me to get in shape. It may sound crazy, but I’m kind of excited. 2013 is going to be MY year.

So, without further ado, here are my three dreams from all this weight loss work.

“Laugh if you must, complain if you wish, dismiss my comments if you want to–I don’t care.

I have three, mostly shallow, yet significant dreams that I want to come from all this weight loss work:

  1. My thighs to no longer touch/rub together.
  2. Own and wear a bikini for the first time–and rock it.
  3. Impress all of my friends and family.”

Boom. I said it. What now, huh?

Xoxo

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My Primal Weight Loss Journey – The Condensed Version

I started blogging about my Primal adventures more than a year ago. I started documenting my weight loss progress on my old blog almost a year ago. In a series of short, almost daily posts, I displayed a lot of honesty and not a lot of progress towards my weight loss goals. While I feel my posts are important and could be helpful to some, I don’t feel they need to be transferred, one-by-one, over to my new Primal-only blog. Call me lazy (because it’s the truth) but I just don’t see the need to have all of them here.

Looking back on the series, “From Fatty-to-Skinny-Minny” probably wasn’t the best title, nor was it the most self-esteem encouraging. If I’m being completely honest, I’ll admit weighing in daily and posting it online was really damaging to me. I was ashamed when I didn’t make progress, and publicly displaying it was really, really hard. I don’t want to have a repeat of that here, so please forgive my lack of transferring every last detail–I’ve brought over the important stuff.

Xoxo

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