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

Categories: Far Too Much Honesty - My Primal Weight Loss | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Lift heavy things? And what the heck is this Tabata thing?

I know I’ve hinted here and there about working out the Primal way on the blog, but I’ve never actually explained what it is. So! Here we go: the Primal do’s & don’ts of the workout world.

The Do’s

  1. GET MOVING! Put your shoes on, get off the couch and out the door. Walk around the block. Play soccer with the kids. Shovel the driveway. Pull the weeds. Mow the lawn. DO SOMETHING. It’s the first and most important aspect of the physical side of Primal living (in my opinion anyway–Mark may have other thoughts).
  2. Lift heavy things. This is the cornerstone of Primal workouts. It stems from the belief that back in the cavemen days a caveman (or cavewoman) would do short, high-intensity “workouts” every so often throughout a week. Lifting a dead mammoth definitely sounds intense to me! In today’s more civil times, we’d replace the mammoth lifting with body weight workouts. Squats without adding weights. Push-ups (from your knees if it’s all you can support). Pull-ups (this can be fudged with a lat machine at a gym, but props to you if you go outside and use a tree limb or have a pull up bar in your house!). Planks, regular & both sides (you can also start this from your knees if you have a hard time doing the full position). Do as many of each kind as you can, one type at time, back to back. Once you’ve done a set of all 4, rest for no more than 5 minutes. Repeat. The point is to do these exercises as fast as you can, giving 150% each time. Complete a “lift heavy things” workout about 2 or 3 times a week. [Please see my disclaimer at the bottom].

    squats

    (ignore the bar she’s holding)

  3. Sprinting. Cavemen didn’t have cars to drive away in when they were in danger of being eaten by a saber-tooth tiger. They had to rely on the own two feet and the power in their legs. Because this didn’t happen too often (I would hope not anyway), sprinting was only part of the caveman’s life on occasion. So, sprinting should be incorporated into your workout regimens about once a week, at most. The “easiest” way to do this is using the Tabata method mentioned below in number 5. However, you can skip timing how long you sprint and just sprint as long as you can before dialing it back a notch to rest. After an adequate rest break (however long it takes you to get control of your breathing), start sprinting again until you need a break. Continue doing the intervals of sprinting with short breaks in between until you feel you’re running on empty. This could be 2 minutes or it could be 20–do whatever feels right to you. [Please see my disclaimer at the bottom].
  4. Walking. Oh how simple of an act it is, but how often it is overlooked. Walking was the only method for getting around back in caveman days. Yet, in today’s times we’ve abandoned our roots for convenience’s sake. Walking is the last piece to a complete Primal workout regimen  You should aim to walk 3-5 hours total within a seven day period. This can be done all at once on a weekend (trails! sightseeing!), or in little pieces throughout the week (30 minutes a night). When the weather’s nicer I love taking walks after dinner with the boy. It’s a nice way to disconnect from the world for a while and recharge yourself after a long day at work.
  5. Timing. If you have a hard time keeping count when lifting heavy things, or just don’t want to count at all, or are finally adding some sprinting to your workout routines, use a Tabata timer! What the flip is that? Well, Tabata is a workout you can complete in 4 minutes: doing the activity for 20 seconds and resting for 10 seconds, and repeating this cycle until the 4 minutes is up. During those 20 seconds you have to be giving your absolute all–balls to walls, crazy intense (but not risking injury). There are these really cool apps on smartphones that count down for you (hence a Tabata timer), telling you when to start and stop. If you don’t have a smartphone a simple stop watch would work too. Or just watch the second hand a wall clock, but I guess that would being considered “counting” too.
  6. Variety. Just like our food choices, our work outs should be routinely varied. What does that mean, you ask? It means do the same activities but not on consecutive days. Really, it’s whenever the heck you feel like it! Walk on Monday. Lift heavy things on Tuesday. Sprint on Wednesday. Walk on Thursday. Play basketball on Friday. Play frisbee on Saturday. Walk around the mall Sunday. Do something different every day than what you did the day before. Have fun with it!
  7. Be patient. Everyone starts somewhere. The fact that you are making a conscious effort to TRY is all anyone can ask.regretnothing

The Don’ts

  1. Don’t: Chronic cardio. I know, I know. I just trained for a half marathon and I’m going to be training for even crazier races later this year. I know I sound like a hypocrite  But there’s a differentiation I’d like to make before you get all high and mighty on me (yeesh, calm down people). Chronic cardio simply means: don’t run EVERY DAY without RESTING. And don’t do crazy amounts of distances all at one time either. 3 miles, 3 times a week? Sure–love it! 4 miles, 4 times a week? You go, girl (or guy). 4 miles, 6 times a week? No; too much. 5 miles, 3 times a week? Yep, sounds like a plan. You get the idea, right? Limit how much consistent cardio you’re doing to 3 or 4 times a week (if you really have to, or want to do that much cardio in a week). Allow your body adequate rest time in between each session too. Primal discourages training for long distance running (i.e. half marathons or marathons), but does give a good guide on how to do if you are going to do it anyway. You can read it here. It helped me get a base for my half, and I’ll be using this as part of my training for Spartan and Ragnar this year too.
  2. Don’t: be discouraged. The first workout may kick your ass sideways. You may be frustrated beyond belief because you could only do one push-up and 10 squats. Guess what? That’s awesome! You did it! You tried. That’s all it takes–trying. Next time, you’ll be able to do 2 push-ups and 12 squats. You will see improvements if you stick with it. I promise.
  3. Don’t: stress. If you miss a workout day or if you miss a week, don’t stress it. Worrying about what you’re “not” doing, or what you “should” be doing, is having a more damaging affect on your body than not doing the thing you’re worrying about! And if you’re stressing the fact that you’re stressing in addition to not doing the things you healthy“should” be doing (like I do a lot of the time), TAKE A BREAK! Have a glass of wine (beer, juice–pick your poison), grab up a book, and go sit on the couch (or in a hot bath). Take a mental vacation. Do yoga. Get a good night’s sleep. Hell, have sex. Do something to relieve all the tension in your body. Finding an outlet for decompressing is a key part of a Primal, and a healthy in general, lifestyle. Workouts are great de-stressors, but if you’re like me sometimes you need to de-stress away from workouts. Find a healthy coping mechanism and use it!

We aren’t born being able to do amazing feats of physical fitness. We have to teach our bodies, and build them up. Take each workout as it comes, do the best you can each day, and move on with it. It’s always going to be a work-in-progress. You will never be “done” with your body. It’s constantly going to be changing and needing work/maintenance. Accepting the incompleteness will set you free. 

***[My disclaimer]:The above workouts are my personal, completely unprofessionalunofficially trained opinion. It is a reflection of what I have learned elsewhere. I am not speaking on Mark Sisson’s behalf. I encourage everyone to do whatever feels right. Do as much or as little as you can of each activity, for as long as you can (or want). I encourage wholeheartedly that you push yourself and give it your all, but not to the point where you could do real damage. Don’t hurt yourself, and don’t risk injury. We are only given one body; don’t abuse the privilege. The point is to become HEALTHY. I will note there’s a difference between being hurt, and hurting. Some pain is normal; strain, stiffness, and soreness are the normal results of a hard workout. But if this pain doesn’t subside after a day or two (or gets worse as the days go on), you need to seek medical attention and take a prolonged set of rest days. Always consult a professional or your physician before starting any serious workout/training plan.

Categories: Going Grok, Primal Tips & Tricks | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

What are you made of? The 21-day challenge

It’s happened again. I missed the 21-day challenge on Mark’s Daily Apple. And by a lot. Months! A whole half of a year! Primal fail. Sigh.

I don’t know why I decided to look up Primal Challenges again. For some odd reason, though, I found myself on Mark’s page looking for a new challenge. A challenge I could commit myself to for a “short” period of time to re-energize myself. I haven’t been following all of the guidelines lately, and I’m feeling more drained when I get up in the morning than I do when I go to bed. It’s been like pulling teeth to get out from underneath the covers when the alarm goes off. I would work from my bed if I could. It’s really bad news bears.

primal_21day_challengeI found the 21-day challenge from September of last year. It’s a deviation from the normal 30-day annual challenge, and he explains why it’s different here. I’ve decided to give to accept the challenge, even if I’m months too late. It’s a challenge I’ve attempted a few times (the old 30-day versions), but I have never made it through (Primal 101 failure, argh).

Despite my past incomplete attempts, I’m jumping back in the ring! I need to re-focus of all my attention back to the right workouts, “playing”, de-stressing after work, eating the way I’m supposed to, and sleeping properly. It isn’t going to be easy, but it’ll definitely be worth it. 

Want to give it a shot with me?! I know some of you do! C’mon! It’ll be the best thing you could give yourself! Message me with questions, comments, or for support.

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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.

Categories: Far Too Much Honesty - My Primal Weight Loss, Primal Tips & Tricks | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger (once you heal, that is)

This may come as no surprise to many of you, but it sure shocked the hell out of me: I didn’t die during my first half marathon. Not even close. I may have wanted to die at some points, but I was never actually close to ceasing to exist.

The day went a lot better than expected. It started off pretty cold (at least when the wind was blowing) when I got to the gear check. I was apprehensive because it was still dark and cloudy; I was sure it would downpour on us at any second. I was prepared with my rain jacket and baseball hat, but I still wasn’t thrilled about the idea of running so long in the rain. After I got to my corral, I waited around forever after the 7:30 start until we were allowed to start approaching the start line. Just as I hit the corral number 15 spot, I found my friend (we had a hard time coordinating where the heck we were in relation to the each other). We established our game plan, and she continued to encourage me/convince me I wouldn’t die. [I want to take a second and note here how much of an awesome, enthusiastic, understanding, caring, and loving friend she is–I definitely wouldn’t have made it to the start line without her. I can’t imagine never becoming friends with her, either. We’ve decided she’s an older version of me, and we call each other our clones because of how much alike we are. I’m glad to know I’ll be amazing like her one day. Okay, I know, sappy moment over].finisher!

After what seemed like a damn eternity, we were off. The first 2 miles were pretty tough. I had a terrible time settling into a pace, and my breathing was just not happening. I lost my clone about a mile in because I couldn’t keep a steady pace. I was frustrated because I wanted to run and finish it with her, but I also knew we both had our own races to run.

Finally, after the first water station (mile 3), I found my groove. I made it to mile 6 without too much of an issue. Then the hills happened. The first (of many) was the meanest monster of a hill I’ve ever had to haul my ass up. Not a single person in front of me or behind me was able to run up it. It was that steep and that long. There were a lot of people cheering and yelling on the sidelines, which definitely helped, but I’ll be damned if I ever have to see that hill again.

At mile 8 I tried to find the Boy. I was desperate for a familiar face, as I was really starting to feel the strain by then, but no such luck. There were no directions for him, so he couldn’t find the course from the metro stop. I sucked it up and kept my butt truckin’.

Hitting mile 10 I knew the race was mine. I had no doubts I would finish, and as the aches and pains screamed for attention, I just pushed harder. Mile 12 felt like the longest because the end was so close, but it was such an awe-inspiring feeling to see the end in sight, and to know I did it. I found the Boy about a quarter mile from the end. The look of pride on his face had me sprinting to the finish. As fate would have it, the theme song from Rocky started playing on my workout-playlist just as I was approaching the finish line. I think getting handed my medal to that song was just the icing on the cake after such a long journey.

It didn’t rain, not even a drop during the whole 13.1 mile course. I will forever be eternally grateful for that because adding rain into the mix yesterday would have made that run so, so much harder. Thank you, weathermen, for being wrong once again.

Oddest sighting during the race: a 60-something-year-old woman running bare-bottom through the whole race. You read that correctly: pants-less AND undie-less. I thought I was seeing things, but a fellow running club racer confirmed it was in fact a bottomless runner. Props to her for being so confident (despite it being slightly gross to see).

photo (6)One of the best parts of finishing 13.1 miles: putting the sticker on my car. 🙂 (I’m a sap, I know).

Now, to recover from all those miles, and gear up for training for the next race: 8+ miles of mud and obstacles. Mid-Atlantic Super Spartan, here I come!

Happy St. Patty’s Day, all.

P.S. – For all of you that know my sister, wish her a Happy Birthday!

Categories: My Crazy Adventurous Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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

photo

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….

Categories: Far Too Much Honesty - My Primal Weight Loss | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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!

Image (1)

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

The Dinner Diaries, episode 7.5

cauliflowersaladToday I have for you… Well… ehmm.. I don’t have a specific recipe that I’ve personally tried [insert shamed face here]. But! I do have some kick-ass [looking] recipes that I’m going to try in the near future that I thought you might enjoy too!

If you can excuse my lack of doing the legwork, and do actually take a look at Eating Well‘s post, they have a bunch of unique and intriguing recipes to keep the whole “salads & soups” thing from getting stale. Personally the cauliflower salad sounds pretty darn awesome. But that’s just me.

Most of the recipes are already completely Primal, and those that aren’t can easily be made completely Primal by eliminating the pesky problem, and/or substituting it for something else. For example, coconut milk is an awesome thickening agent for soups as opposed to the flour & butter combo in a rue.

Just my Primal thought-of-the-day.

Do something active tomorrow! I’m running 4 miles; what are you doing?

Categories: The Dinner Diaries | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pin it to me!

Some of you may be wondering how the idea to have an all Primal blog came about. Ever since I started blogging about my adventures in starting my new lifestyle on my old blog, I thought about branching off and just having a Primal blog. I didn’t think it would be that interesting to anyone so I just let the idea fall by the wayside.

A week or so ago I was surfing around on Pinterest and I noticed some pin sources that had Primal in the title. After looking at them all, I was surprised to find that there were a lot of people on Pinterest talking about the Primal Blueprint. One thing led to another and I thought, “why the heck not start a Primal board?!”.

As I was sitting there trying to figure out what to call the board, I thought of the song “This is How I Do it”. It’s a catchy song and earlier in the day I had heard it so the song was fresh in my mind. Thinking also about how I gave a friend of mine some pointers on how to eat Primally, “This is How I Primal” popped into my head. I instantly loved the title. As I was setting up my board I decided I finally needed to take the plunge and start my Primal blog, readers or no readers.

So here we are! Not a very interesting story, but that’s how “This is How I Primal” was born.

You can check out my Pinterest board here. If I find any interesting recipes that I try and like, I’ll be sure to share them here on my blog.

I’m off to cook dinner for my APD rookie. Today was his second day on the job. I think he’s loving it so far, despite the difficulty learning a lot of things in a short period of time.

Talk soon, peeps!

 

Categories: Going Grok | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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