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Whole 30, Take 2: Success Recap

My second round of the Whole 30 has officially come to an end. But I'm not really stopping. I may have a froyo or something this weekend, but I'm pretty much staying on the wagon. That's the plan. I have a run in less than 2 weeks, and I'm planning to stick to the plan until then, and possibly beyond.

This round has been a success.
Pounds lost: 5
Inches Lost...
Waist: 4
Hips: 4

Now for the big before & after. Left is before - not a massive difference, but a good start. 
(images adjust for crappy lighting only).
Right "after" shot looks funky b/c my mirror
needs cleaning #lazy

As you can see, this is pretty much how my weight loss went down...

Luckily, my stomach followed suit. During the first 2 weeks I came close to quitting because I thought my midsection was actually getting bigger. Then I saw this meme and felt better. Thanks interwebs!

I was hoping for the same result as last time, but it just didn't happen. My weight loss was less this time, but my inches were more.  A few reasons why I think this didn't happen...

1. I had cheese once a week - Cheese is a big NO on the Whole 30, and it should be for me. My indulgence was limited to some blue cheese or feta on a salad here and there, and one meal of fresh mozzarella debauchery. Not major crimes for sure, but not Whole 30 approved either. But I'm weak, and cheese is delicious.

2. I didn't work out as much - I'm training for a 5k, doing the C25k program. But not doing much else. My work life has picked up significantly, so both workout time and intensity has been much less as I get the hang of my new schedule.

3. I had drinks. Alcoholic ones - On a few occasions I indulged in some adult beverages. And they weren't low sugar either. One night of fancy cocktails, a few glasses of wine here and there. On one occasion, I had a lot of wine...and I learned my lesson. My body just doesn't love chugging wine anymore. I sleep terribly, it hurts my whole digestive system, and I get terrible anxiety the next day. Not sure how much I can attribute to not having carbs to soak up the booze VS I'm over 30 now, but either way, it's just not as much fun as it used to be. I get more stress relief from a good run or cooking a fab meal.

What all of this really adds up to, is that I was living my life. It actually felt great to do this program and slip a little without completely going off the rails. I'd just pick up the next day and eat whole foods like nothing ever happened. It makes me believe I can do this for the long haul, and finally kick this chub to the curb for good.

For good measure, here's a gratuitous food porn shot of a good, solid Whole 30 dinner. Are you ready to try it yet? Get the book or get all the info for free on the Whole 30 site. Do it!!!

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Whole 30, Take 2: Couch to 5k

My Whole 30 mission is cranking along. I'm feeling great, and had a fully on-track weekend! I surprised myself by not even craving alcohol. And we didn't eat at a restaurant all weekend! That right there is BIG victory for my family. We live in a great area for food...which is hazardous for the long-term dieter. Instead we grilled. Hooray for amazing weather!

We spent a ton of time outside this weekend. Gardening mostly. I got a lot of flowers in containers for the porches, and we started building boxes for our vegetable garden. There are a ton of critters and deer around here, but I'm really hopeful they will avoid mowing through our little experimental garden beds.

I have been slowly but surely cranking my way through the Couch to 5k program using Zen Lab's free app. I've been averaging 2-3 runs a week (usually 2). Surprisingly, this program has been fairly easy. It made me realize that running truly is a mind game. My body is capable of what the app has put me through (so far) but I never thought I could run. I typically hate it. But I started to run a little last year, and ran/walk my first 5k (I had a walker's bib, but ran as much as I could). My goal is to run at least 80% of my scheduled 5k in June in NYC. I'm starting to think it will actually happen.

On Monday, I truly surprised myself during my couch to 5k workout. I had planned the run, but ended up going later than anticipated. The idea was to get out of bed, get the kiddo situated at day care, then run before starting work. Of course, work got the priority so my run got delayed. I got stuck on something, so I laced up around noon. Moving my body always makes my brain work better.

For the first time ever, I actually got lost in thought on a run! This would usually happen in other cardio situations (walking, elliptical), but never during a run. Typically I just try to calm down my inner monologue of panic:
"OMG we're running! What's on fire? Nothing?! Can we stop now? NO?! WTF! I'm pretty sure our heart is going to explode. Do you hear that heavy breathing? Is that asthma?! That's pain in our left arm, I'm sure of it. I can't do this! Can we stop NOW?"

To do this, I crank my music LOUD. Like passing cars nodding their head to my beats loud. I got into my music and was completely side tracked by work thoughts and dancy dance rhythms of Pharrell and Justin Timberlake.

Gif source

At some point I realized I was on the third song in my run. A run that was only supposed to last 5 minutes. I twisted my crappy iphone arm band/torture device around to see I was more than 1/2 way through another run period. My jams completely drowned out the nice lady who tells me when to walk!  That means I ran the initial 5 minutes, plus the two and a half minute walk, then a minute and a half of the next 3 minute run. Once I realized this, I started walking out of frustration...that only lasted about 10 seconds. Then I thought I'm almost there and picked up the pace.

This was my personal record of simultaneous minutes run. I feel pretty damn good about. Even more important, I feel like this 5k is within reach. I may actually be able to run the whole thing. I'm hoping as I continue with the Whole 30, I will get lighter, and runs will get easier on my poor joints.

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Link Up: Sorry I'm Not Sorry Link Up

Taking a break from the food and dieting fodder to participate in a Link Up with Skinny Meg and Crystal Michelle's Mess about kids & parenting. I don't talk much about my baby girl on this blog. It's one of those things I've typically kept off limits for sanity and safety's sake. But I broke the rule last week and posted a pic of us on my Diet Drama Instagram. And I'm breaking it again by talking about her as part of this link up.

 photo sorryimnotsorry_zps9a2b99f7.jpg
Writing this was way more fun than I thought - who doesn't love talking about their kids? - but I think it will still be rare that I share much about her here. I watch too much Dateline, what can I say?

Here are my 5 Sorry I'm Not Sorry items about parenting and my kiddo.

Sorry I'm Not Sorry....

My kid doesn't nap at daycare
If she goes to bed any earlier, she will never ever see her Daddy, and that's not OK with me.  She sleeps great at home, and I don't want to mess with it! The kid rarely naps at home either, its usually by accident or by force - never willingly. I feel your pain. But I also know she LOVES her daycare providers, and I think it's her way of scoring some one-on-one time with her faves.

I let my little dancing machine shake it anytime, anyplace
...Malls, grocery stores - anywhere music might be playing and my LO is on two feet - she'll be dancing. And I'm going to let her. If she's not dancing, she's running. Her dance party is the only way I'm getting milk/socks/food/vitamins/etc without losing my mind.

I Think My Kid is Charming as Hell
She really is a cutie, and gets away with potentially obnoxious-kid behavior by flashing a knowing smile at her victims. They typically go from annoyed to "aww" immediately. She also has a way of keeping her craziness at indoor levels (so far) which helps her stay firmly in the cute zone (I'm sure we'll be straying into less cute territory as she gains steam though). I'm sure I have mommy goggles on when it comes to this, and I don't care.

My Kid has a Hemangioma...and We're All OK with It
She's got a hemangioma right on her nose (translation: raised red birthmark or strawberry mark) and has been using the second glance it garners as a chance to win over strangers since she was 5 months old. People ask about it - especially kids. I just explain its a birthmark. Most people just move on. I'm hoping I can pass on my nonchalance about it to her. She's pretty damn adorable, even with the mark. I don't notice it, and I think it disappears for most people pretty quickly.

I Will NEVER Take this Girl for Granted
I had a terrifying pregnancy. Doctors found a rare heart defect at 18 weeks - I spent the remainder of my pregnancy getting anywhere from 1 to 4 ultrasounds/scans/fetal ECHOs per week. Basically every week I would find out if I would remain pregnant for another week. It was stressful, but I had faith. I come from a long line of tough broads, and just knew my LO would have that trait. We delivered 3 weeks early to 2 more months of issues....the kind of issues that require doctors to take you into another room to "break the news." But we made it through. She's my magic miracle kid. I'll always put her on a pedestal, and she'll always have a certain sparkle to me. If that makes me one of those parents that think her kid is a very special snowflake, then I'm totally fine with that. We fucking earned it.   

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The Whole 30 Take 2: Mother's Day Strong

I think I'm the last blogger in with my OMGMOTHERSDAY recap, yeah?

It was a great weekend. We went to my Mom's to spend the night. She recently moved to a beautiful place by a lake, and is super happy which makes me happy. When I used to go "home" to the house I grew up in, my will power completely vanished. Something about safety and comfort I'm sure, but also combined with our familial love of food. My Mom always stocked the place with goodies, even if I was dieting. I'd usually indulge.

Something about her new place lets me say no. Maybe it's the new place, maybe it's the new me. She stocked up with all my favorites - and some Whole 30 treats too. She planned a dynamite Whole 30 friendly dinner too, so that negates the sweet stocking in my book. Despite the minefield, I was able to stay strong and not dive into a carrot cake headfirst.

AND, we even managed to fit in a run. On Mother's Day. Yup. A day I typically would've happily reserved as a I'm-not-moving-from-the-couch-even-when-the-RHONY-episodes-start-cycling-through-again day, is now a can-I-get-a-scenic-run-in?-sweet!-day. I was able to put in a solid Couch to 5K workout in - and even ran some extra just because I wanted to. I could barely believe it. But it felt great to get out, soak up the sun, and run around the lake.

The best part was my gift from Mark (my husband and baby daddy). He made me a video montage of pictures and iPhone videos that we of our little girl. The video was focused on her and I (since it was a gift for me, set to On Top of the World by Imagine Dragons - which is my favorite song lately. We play it dance around the kitchen with our daughter (some of it made it into the video too). It was such a thoughtful gift - a true celebration about how happy life can be.

It made me really realize I waste a lot of time comparing and competing. Less competing overtly, but subtly. I realize there is a time and place for competition - work, organized sports, picnic games. Love and family is not one of them. Seeing the last two years of my life flash by made me realize that I love my life, and I am loved - no matter what I weigh, no matter if I accomplish my fitness goals, no matter what happens outside the walls of my home.

The best Mother's Day gift ever, don't ya think?

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Diet Drama: Whole 30 Herbed Mashed Cauliflower

Yes. Yes. Yes. A quarter of a million results pop up if you Google Whole 30 Mashed Cauliflower. Thank you if you took a chance and clicked here. It’s yum.
2014-05-09 21.41.04
Herbed Mashed Cauliflower (Whole 30 & Paleo Compliant)
1 Head Cauliflower
2 oz Panchetta, Diced Small and Cooked
1 TBS Penzeys Parisien Bonnes Herbes, (but any herb blend of any country will do)
1 Tsp Penzeys Fox Point Seasoning (a mix of garlic powder & onion powder, dried shallots, or minced garlic would be great too)
½ TBS Ghee
¼ cup Coconut Milk
Salt & Pepper
Trader Joe’s Chili & Garlic Smoked Sea Salt (optional, obviously)
Cut the Cauliflower into chunks and boil in salted water for 5-10 minutes…good rule of thumb is to overcook it by 3 minutes after it’s “done” if you intend to mash it.
Drain and put the cauliflower back into the hot pan.
Add the herbs, ghee and Coconut Milk and mash with a potato masher (hard) or stick blender (MUCH easier – you can also use a blender or food processor). Mash until it’s creamy and looks something like mashed potatoes. NOTE: You CAN over mash these guys. If you go too far or add too much liquid…well, congratulations - you made soup.
Stir in cooked pancetta. Don’t be shy. Add some of the fat that rendered out of it.
Add salt and pepper to taste. If its tasting dry, add more coconut milk.
Add 3-5 grinds of Trader Joe’s smoked sea salt (optional, more salt and/or pepper will do, or a little smoked paprika – its all about bumping up flavor and perceived richness) and stir it in.

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The Whole 30 Take 2: Hurdles

Ok, so the daily blogging thing is a little less than do-able. I tried, but let's be honest here: I failed.

I'm moving on. I'll do my best to check in a few times a week to keep it going, but chances are life will get in the way. These posts aren't exactly riveting when they're every day - almost as boring to write as they are to read.

I had dinner with a Friend on Thursday (day 4) and I indulged in a cocktail. Ok. Two cocktails. Whole 30 blasphemy, I know. I rarely get the chance to have a nice drink in a nice glass in a nice restaurant these days, so I jump on the opportunity if it arises - regardless of Whole 30 status. I know, I know...there are many many reasons why and how I could've avoided it. I know it wouldn't have lessened our fun. I know it would've felt better the next day  - both physically and emotionally. Whatever. My food was still great - I got a roasted beet salad with some skirt steak. And I didn't have to pick anyone's sippy cut up off the floor. It was a nice night

But my system was certainly not happy with the sugar and booze. The next day I had a terrible carb coma: tired, achy, sluggish.

Sometimes when I indulge it becomes a slippery slope. Luckily it was dinner. If it were lunch, I'd have adopted the "well, I blew it for today" attitude and just shoveled off-plan food into my face for sport. But I was able to call it a night, and start fresh the next day.

I'm treating it like a stumble in public. You trip, you look a little stupid, but you keep walking like it never even happened. No biggie.

Friday (Day 5) was much better. Except I hit the no-plan-for-lunch wall again, and found myself having low-sodium desperation ham again (standing in the kitchen, right out of the bag...pathetic). But I made up for it by making the most amazing Whole 30-approved dinner.

Another wild Friday night!

Raw and unedited - Whole 30 Happy
The Menu: 
Grilled Tri Tip Steak
Herbed Mashed Cauliflower 
Cabbage & Kale Blend Sauteed with Panchetta

I won't leave you hanging...recipes coming soon. I'll update this post with links for fresh posts so you don't have to try to remember what I was talking about in order to find the recipes again.


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The Whole 30 Take 2, Day 3: Not Too Busy to BBQ

It's Day 3 of my second round of Whole 30, and today was a great day. I didn't plan as well as I should have, which resulted in a typical late lunch. But my solid breakfast and a lot of caffeine kept me going.

I had one of those super productive days...that saying

Credit: Rando Commenters on the Interwebs
That was me today. I had a lot to get through work-wise, plus some errands to take care of while I was out of the house! Hooray for escaping the house today, btw. Working from home has its benefits, but I miss being among functioning adults. The sun was out so it was a windows-down day. I love love the spring.

Since I was cranking away, I figured I should make a decent dinner too. I had boneless pork "ribs" in the freezer. I typically make these in my dutch oven - I use the rub (below), then sear it in the pot, then add about 1/2 cup of water and one sliced apple (or unfiltered apple juice) then put it in a 300 degree oven for about an hour or more.

But it's grilling season, so I wanted to try this outside. The process needs work, but I stand by my rub. My grill was a little too hot to start, so it never really cooled down enough to cook the pork slower. I'll work on it. It was still a satisfying Whole30 meal.

Um, Yum? Easy, paleo and Whole30 friendly rub for pork
Whole30 BBQ Rub
1 1/2 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Each of the following:
Smoked Paprika
Chili Powder
Chipotle Chili Powder
Onion Powder
Garlic Powder
Ground Mustard
Pepper (I used Penzys California Seasoned Pepper)
(If you're not following any particular sugar-restricted diet plan, you can add 1 1/2 tsp of brown sugar too)

You'll get enough rub to cover 2 lbs of pork. I went a little mild on this, but in the past I've added 1/4 Tsp of cayenne or ancho pepper to boost the heat in the past. You can also sub out standard paprika for smoked.

Rub on raw pork and let it sit for 30 minutes to an hour.

Raw pork covered in rub. Food porn foreplay

Grill. My process was to sear it super high for 3 minutes each side, then turn the grill to low and let it cook for 40 min to an hour. It worked for a pork loin over the weekend, but this cut of meat was just too thin. We let it sit on the grill while we put the princess to bed...it was too long. The grill just didn't cool down enough. Live and learn. I'd start off much lower and cook for longer in the future. 

Whole 30 Dinner Idea: Grilled Pork

 It still came out pretty tasty, just a little crunchier on the outside. I did two "racks", and the above picture is the good one. The other one was charred to near hockey puck status.
Until we meet (meat?) again, porky.

My food recaps are even more boring to write than they are to read. But I was a good girl and only had like 2 veggie chips (they're almost gone). Otherwise I was good. I didn't get my apple because work had to pick up again after dinner, but I'll make time for it tomorrow.