E.J. is always saying on Paleo Marine that the secret to sticking with Paleo is the tasty meals. I happen to agree with him, and while I certainly enjoy looking forward to a tried and true favorite dish, I do enjoy trying new things and blazing new culinary trails.
This weekend, I ventured into the world of cast iron cooking, and found two new favorites to add to the list:
Paleo Fruit Crisp – This month’s Paleo Magazine has a recipe for a skillet fruit crisp that I modified to use up some of those lovely strawberries and blueberries I mentioned in my last post. The resulting dish was not only delicious, but very pretty, and held up well to a dollop of coconut milk ice cream. I’ll post the steps I used in another post this week.
It’s all about the food. Seriously. It’s as simple as that. If you put good, whole foods into your body, your body will be healthier. If you put crap into your body, guess what? There’s no magic to turn it into good stuff.
Grains? Not good.
Soy? Not good.
Dairy? Not good.
What is good for you? Meat, vegetables, and fruits (within reason). Will this keep you from catching a cold, acquiring a disease, or succumbing to a pre-existing condition? Of course not. What it will do, however, is give your body the best chance it has to fight off illness and disease. When your body needs strength to fight, it will have it. Why do you think doctors of patients fighting life-threatening issues insist upon healthy diets? (Of course, the definition of a healthy diet may be of concern as many older physicians are unaware of the latest research and trends in nutrition).
My wife and I both found that we get sick less since going Paleo. Whenever I have an injury, it seems to heal faster. My body is reacting to the world around it in a much more youthful manner than it has for many years. That’s not counting the benefits from running and exercise.
I’m 49 years old, and I’m in the National Guard. I run with kids who were often born after I first enlisted in the Marine Corps. I am able to keep up with (and often even pass them on the runs!) these young people because I eat right and exercise. I’m asked often how I do it. I tell them it’s simple: eat good food and don’t neglect your body by being sedentary. Get up, exercise, and live life. Be active, get outside, and move. It doesn’t take much.
Today as I opened Facebook, the memories feature popped up to show me a photo and a post I’d made two years ago. It was a post I had made about flying RC planes with my son and how happy (and impressed) I was with him coming out to the field with me and his skills. At the time this photo was taken, I was pretty happy with how I looked. I thought I didn’t look so large. Compared to today, wow.
I feel so much better now. When I took that photo with my son, I remember that just getting my planes out of the car was a chore and would make me feel winded.Walking out to the field was about all I could do because I was so out of shape. My knees were sore, and bending over to pick up the plane was always an exercise in flexibility that I disliked. And the sweating? So much sweating even when it wasn’t that hot out.
It’s good to be reminded from time to time from where I came in this journey to being healthy. It’s a good motivator to keep doing what I’m doing and to stick with it.
We have our ups and downs. There are days I’m disgusted with my lack of progress in either weight loss, getting slimmer, running faster, doing more push ups, starting on my sit ups, etc. I’m not immune to feelings of failure and defeat. We all experience these things. It’s how we handle those feelings and what we do afterward that separates the successful from those who are not.
When I feel defeated, I do what I can to put it at the back of my mind and formulate a plan to get past whatever barrier I’m facing. When I was having problems with feeling motivated, I set my mind to faking motivation until it was genuine. Sounds crazy, but it works. When I wasn’t making progress in losing weight, I analyzed what I was doing and found I wasn’t eating enough. I fixed that and began losing weight again. When I decided that there was something wrong with my running, I decided to try running without looking at my watch for the pace and running naturally. Turned out that I am able to push myself more effectively when not watching my GPS data.
As it happens, I haven’t run in the past four days. The first regular run day I skipped as last Friday because we had friends coming over, and I needed to help get the house squared away. I lost track of time, and the next thing I know, people are coming through the door. Run missed. The next day, Sherry and I went and did our Saturday thing and spent the day together running errands, and again, the day got away from me. Sunday was… well, it was a lazy day and before I knew it, it was dinnertime and I didn’t want to keep Sherry waiting for another hour to eat, so I skipped my run again. Ugh.
It’s not due to motivation. It was due to poor time management. The irony is that I was actually pretty upset about not being able to run. Each time I realized how time got away from me, I felt upset. Today, I will run. I have stuff to do, but I will run regardless of how late I have to go out and do it. The fire is burning inside me, and I will not let it go out!
This is something I never, ever thought I would have to write about, let alone admit. I’m considering activities that are fitness-based as fun. I’ve already professed my like of 5k runs, and I’m signed up for a few already. However, I was asked recently to join some friends on some Spartan runs, and I can’t believe I’m writing this, but it actually sounds like something I would have fun with. So, I think I will.
I’ve also been asked to do Go Ruck, and I will be doing some of that, too.
I figure that if it’s something that helps keep me fit and healthy, gives me some more exercise, and is related somehow to my military training and service, then it’s something I might have fun with.
Never think that your likes, dislikes, interests, and goals are set in stone. They evolve, just as we do. Our tastes change (I used to like asparagus: now I LOVE asparagus!), and we grow. What I disliked, I now like. Heck, what I thought I could never enjoy is now something I look forward to (running)!
Never say never. Always look for opportunities to grow. You never know what you will enjoy unless you give it a chance.
I know I haven’t been writing as much as I usually do – and for that I’m really sorry. My only excuse is that it’s been a crappy couple of weeks at work, so that means my stress levels are through the ceiling, and consequently, so is the scale.
I have no idea if there’s been a reasonable study on it or not, but I can directly correlate my periods of successful weight loss to times in my life when things were relatively stable – feeling somewhat in control at work and at home, and therefore over my body and my cravings. Right now is not one of those times. While things are actually humming along just fine at home, my stresses at work are at an all-time high, which translates to exhaustion, both physically and mentally. While I may be holding on to some excess pounds I’d really…
Don’t you hate it when you pass the conference room or the workplace break area and someone has brought in a bunch of donuts, cinnamon rolls, or other foods you shouldn’t be eating? It smells delicious, and often even looks delicious, but you know that it’s something you shouldn’t eat. I used to hate it, and it used to be a temptation for me, but now, it’s more a curiosity.
I don’t get cravings from seeing sweets anymore. I used to, and sure, I can imagine how wonderful a cinnamon roll would taste, but I no longer have the overwhelming desire to have some of it. I think it’s because I’ve weaned myself off sugar and the cravings that go along with being addicted to sugar, but it’s also because of the changes I’ve made in my mindset and my relationship with food.
In the past, I’d see sweets on a tray and I would start planning how I could get away with taking more than 1. Maybe 3 or 4? I could never get enough. Of course, I didn’t want to be rude and take more than my share from anyone else, but at the same time I was a big guy, and if I was going to have sweets, I had to have THE SWEETS. I would eat one right there. Immediately. That would fulfill the immediate need. Then, I would take 1-2 with me to my desk and eat them at my leisure. After finishing those, I would walk by the tray again to see what was left after a few hours. I figured that if there was food still there, everyone had ample time to get something. At this point, everything was fair game. I would then take at least 1, and sometimes 2 more back to my desk again for consumption later during the day.
Looking back at it now, I can see how horrible that was for my health. At the time, I hadn’t a care in the world about my weight or my health, and it seemed completely normal to me. My new normal is to look at the tray, imagine how delicious the foods are, and then scan for any fruits. Sometimes there may be fruit present for those who are healthy minded, but it’s usually bananas (which I like, but they contain too much sugar for me now). I then switch my attention onto something else and put it out of my mind completely. Yes, I Jedi Mind Trick myself away from temptation. It wasn’t always easy, and sometimes it’s still not (Cinnabon, you bastards). But now, after nearly two years, I can finally walk past a tray of sweet or bad foods and it doesn’t tempt me.
It feels liberating, and I feel great about that. It’s another victory in my journey toward being healthy and fit.