Whole30 Day 18 Wrap-Up

Another night with little sleep due to friends coming over and keeping me up late. The good news, however, is that I didn’t drink any coffee or tea (or water) past 9 pm, so when I woke up this morning, my weight was back down to its lowest. That made me pleased going into the weekend on a good number.

Breakfast: The PaleoMarine Special: Two eggs sunny-side up and two slices of sugar-free/salt-free bacon. No fruits or veggies because I’m going to get more at lunch.

Lunch: On Fridays, my friend Steve and I go out for steak lunches, and today was no different. I had the usual garden salad with oil and vinegar (I also have them hold the cheese and croutons) and a 6 oz filet mignon, 6 grilled shrimp, and a baked sweet potato. This is an amazing lunch, and I really enjoy these on Fridays! It’s amazing that this entire meal is Whole30 compliant!

Dinner: For dinner, Sherry and I went out to a local favorite, Nadia’s Mediterranean food. I had the combo platter which had a few pieces of beef, chicken shawarma, and kafta served with toum (a garlic sauce), a few grilled tomatoes and onions, and some salad. The proprietor also gave us a side of babaganoush with cucumber instead of bread, which was really delicious. I didn’t eat all the salad, but I did eat the rest. I was very satisfied afterward. Of course, I forgot to take photos; sorry!

Temptation and Saying No

People often apologize to me when they eat non-Paleo, or right now non-Whole30 compliant food in my presence. I tell them that it’s completely okay to eat whatever they want without fear of tempting me; I’m past that. They often look surprised to hear it. How on Earth could I be past temptation? Well, I guess it comes down to priorities and discipline.

My first priority is my health. Without it, I literally am nothing else. I need to ensure I give my body the best quality fuel it can have in the right amount to ensure its best chance for staying operational without serious issues for as long as possible. It’s like taking care of your car. You give it oil changes, regular check-ups, perform scheduled maintenance, and put good quality fuel into the car. Not only does this make the car cost you less in the long run, it makes the car last longer.

Discipline is important. Some people confess to lacking much discipline, but I don’t believe that. I think what it really comes down to is a lack of setting priorities that really mean something. Anyone can be disciplined with the right motivation. I know people who swore they couldn’t stop smoking until their doctor told them they had cancer. All of the sudden, these people stopped smoking that very day and never picked up another cigarette again. It’s all about proper motivation.

While my health issues weren’t as dire, they were getting there, and that was untenable to me. I wasn’t about to let my health deteriorate to the point where a doctor had to tell me, “Do this or die.” Now, my cousin came close to saying that to me, but it was’t a specific diagnosis. It was a generalized comment that carried a lot of weight coming from her, a physician assistant. She knows her stuff.

When I see people eating donuts or bagels in the morning, I am no longer tempted. I don’t even feel bad for missing out on them. I used to love them, and sure, if there were a Paleo version that was 100% as tasty, I would certainly partake! But there isn’t, so I avoid them. I love the smell of donuts, but that’s good enough for me now. Knowing how much sugar is in a donut or how many carbs are in bagels turns me off of them completely.

The same can be said for other dishes I really used to love eating: pizza, breads, rolls, pasta, hot dogs, and so many other carb-filled treats and delights. Would I still enjoy eating them? Certainly! But I would not enjoy the harmful effects on my body, nor would I enjoy the weight gain and bloating I always experience when I have carb-rich or sugar-rich foods. It just isn’t worth the short-term gratification for me over my long-term goals.

Therein lies the final fact of the matter: short-term gratification versus long-term gratification. I have goals that are very important to me that have no end date. I want to remain healthy and fit for the rest of my life. I don’t want to sabotage that by eating foods that will derail me or my health. It just doesn’t fit into what I consider to be my normal.

So, temptation? There is no temptation. There is only goals and I will not allow anything to get in the way of me reaching my goals.

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Whole30 Day 17 Wrap-Up

Day 17?!?!?! How did we get here already? This Whole30 just seems to be flying by!

I only got about 6 hours of sleep last night, so my weight moved up slightly. I could see it on my torso; water weight. I bloat a bit when I don’t get enough sleep. I also drank a few cups of tea before sleep last night. That wouldn’t cause bloating, but was a good source of water for my body to hold onto. Typically, if I sleep more than 7 hours, I exhale/sweat out a lot of water which leads to my lowest weight of the day. I need to make sure I get enough sleep tonight, if at all possible.

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Breakfast: The PaleoMarine Special: Two eggs sunny-side up, two slices of sugar-free bacon. No fruit or veggies because MARINE CORPS!

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Lunch: Sherry’s amazing food prepped Indian Butter Chicken with riced cauliflower. This stuff is seriously delicious. How can people think that Whole30 is restrictive and bland when you get to eat food like this?

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Dinner: Another of Sherry’s pre-prepared meals that we save up for lunch and dinners: the Mexican Taco Layer Casserole. This is the one that’s on a layer of plantains with the guacamole on top.

Stress eating

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Me in larger days.

I know people who are stress eaters and have difficulty staying on a restrictive diet like Whole30. I understand completely why stress eating happens, and how difficult it is to get past these cravings. While it’s not something I have to deal with, I live with someone who does, and I have learned a lot by watching them and seeing them deal with it.

Employing the same strategies I’ve talked about before regarding regular cravings does work for stress eating. However, while you may not be able to eliminate the source of your stress, you need to find ways to channel that stress into something more productive and less food-related.

Hobbies are a great source of stress relief for me. I can get lost for hours in my hobbies, and at times I find myself feeling like I need to munch on something when I know well and good I’m not really hungry, I will find something hobby-related to take my mind off my stomach.

Chores are another great thing. I know; nobody likes chores. I’m at the top of the list of people who hate doing chores. But, the honest truth is that sometimes buckling down and tackling something like taking out the trash, sweeping or mopping, or cleaning up a closet are projects that don’t take a lot of work, but can be just enough to get one past a craving.

Exercise is a great one. I find myself getting hungry sometimes before dinner, but my wife often comes home between an hour to two hours after me. That’s part of the reason I schedule my runs (exercise) for after work. As soon as I get down to do my push ups, I’ve already forgotten about the craving.

Reading is something I do almost daily, especially on my rest days (when I don’t run/exercise). I will sit on the back or front porch with a cup of coffee or tea and read something, whether it’s a book, studying for a Ham license (which is what I did for a few weeks back in November and passed my exam, btw!), or just reading Facebook on my iPad.

Water or food. Note that this is the very last suggestion, and for good reason. I will try to do anything I can to keep me from caving in to a craving. If I find that I am still thinking about food, it can only mean one of two things: Either I’m honestly hungry from not eating enough at my previous meal, or I spent more calories than normal and need to augment my energy with some fuel. In those cases, I’ll try water first. If after 10-15 minutes after drinking some water I’m still hungry, I’ll get a handful of nuts. By handful, I am talking about 8-15 nuts (almonds, cashews, pecans, or walnuts are my favorites). I’ve been known to also eat an apple or pear, some freeze-dried blueberries (the same amount as the aforementioned nuts), or even a slice of bacon.

Stress eating is an emotional issue, and while I’m not able to offer good advice on how to relieve stress outside of what you can find on a Google search, when it comes to cravings, I have had a lot of success with the list above. There is one final thing that keeps me from eating when I shouldn’t, and it’s my Jedi mind trick: I DO NOT ACCEPT SABOTAGE.

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I believe that there’s no such thing as cheating on a diet. Never. I won’t do it, and I do not accept any reason or excuse for it. Anytime you are on a restriction diet or trying to lose weight or get healthy and you are not yet in maintenance, any non-compliant eating is sabotage, plain and simple. Why jeopardize the hard work and effort you’ve put into changing your lifestyle by eating something that could lead you to falling off the wagon? It’s just not worth it to me, and you need to adopt the same mindset. We all want to succeed. We want to win. Cheating won’t get you there. If anything, it leads to disgrace and failure. Do it right and do not accept anything that gets in your way.

Whole30 Day 16 Wrap-Up

OK. So I was bad again, and slept in really late. In doing so, I forfeited breakfast. I know it’s not the best thing to do, but I don’t want to get completely off-schedule with my eating for the day since I won’t be staying up late and I don’t want to eat a dinner too late in the day. So, I ate a bigger portion of lunch than usual, and had dinner a little earlier than normal. In the end, I think the calories will even out.

Breakfast: Skipped while sleeping. It was so nice and comfy and warm in my bed when I initially got up that I didn’t want to get out of bed. I fell back asleep and got a lot of rest. I feel great, but I am paying for it by skipping a meal.

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Layered Taco Casserole. Delicious!

Lunch: Some kind of great Mexican-inspired dish made by Sherry called Layered Taco Casserole which has plantains as the base layer and guacamole as the top layer. It tastes great, and it was very filling!

Dinner: We went to a local favorite called Nik’s Steak and Seafood. My dinner started with a dinner salad with oil and vinegar after which I had the 8 oz grilled snapper and six grilled shrimp served with brocolli and sweet potato. This is one of my favorite “Out for dinner” places as the prices are very reasonable and the food is EXCELLENT. The bad news: I forgot to take photos! I was so excited to get my dinner that I immediately dug in. Sorry!

How do I stay motivated in the new year?

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The short answer is that I prefer being the guy on the left.

Are you finding it difficult to stay on your New Year’s Resolution this year? Was it to get fit, lose weight, or to eat better? If it was to get fit, the only thing you can do is to keep your exercise schedule. Make it the most important priority in your schedule, and never allow anything to intrude on it. Make it sacred. If someone asks if you’re available, never agree to do something instead of exercising. Once you do it, it gets easier and easier to find less important things to take over the time you have allotted to exercising, and the next thing you know, you’re “Off the wagon.”

When it comes to losing weight, it’s more complicated. Many people resolve to lose weight through some diet or exercise plan, but they don’t commit to a lifestyle change long-term. They think that they can drop the weight through some sort of extreme diet or exercise regimen and then return to their previous lifestyle of eating anything they want and not exercising. Some people repeat this process over and over again. Most people never get past two weeks in January and quickly fall back to their old ways. Why?

A lot of it has to do with cravings. The real culprit is sugar. It causes cravings. The worst part is that the more you eat, the stronger and quicker the cravings will return. It’s a cycle that dooms many people to become morbidly obese. It’s what makes eating a good diet with natural, whole ingredients difficult, because breaking the sugar addiction is difficult and takes a scorched earth approach to be successful with.

Another reason many people fall back into their old ways when on a restrictive diet is due to the lack of choices and palate fatigue. Ever hear about people who eat baked chicken breast and rice or cabbage soup to lose weight? I know people who would eat grilled chicken and salad at lunch and dinner every night for a few weeks until they broke down and went out to get a large pizza (mushrooms, onions, green pepper, and Italian sausage) and ate the whole thing. Yeah, that was me. When you eat the same thing over and over again more than once a day, it’s easy to get palate fatigue and you begin craving food. Anything. Most of the time, the strongest cravings will come in the form of foods your brain had become attached to due to the carbs/sugar. In my case, it was pizza. Always pizza.

Bad information leads to falling off the diet. How long have we thought that a low-fat/high-grain diet was what we needed to eat to lose weight and stay healthy? Remember when we were told egg yellows were bad for us? Milk does a body good? All marketing and not backed up by solid science. It turns out everything we were taught through marketing and in the school systems was backwards. A high-fat/low-carb diet is actually much better for us, and supplemented with good vegetables and reasonable portions of fruits, will allow us to be healthier and lose weight naturally.

Another reason people fail is they over-exercise. This is due to the misconception that you can just do a whole bunch of exercise and sweat the fat out of you. First, this is simply just bad science and not true (you don’t “sweat out” fat), and second, it misses the basic truth that you can’t out-exercise a bad diet. These people who begin to over-exercise quickly get fatigued or worse, they get injured. They then take time off to rest or heal and never get back to it.

Whatever your challenge is, you need to make sure you get some good, solid science behind you, make some long-term changes, and commit to them. These changes may require you to alter the way you eat for the rest of your life. The good news is that it doesn’t mean you can’t ever eat pizza, hot dogs, or bread again. You most certainly can! You just have to do it in moderation, and when I say moderation, I mean like special events and holidays. Make them truly special with some of the foods you miss. You will find that after time, the foods just aren’t worth how much better you feel day-to-day, and how much more energy you have.

How do I stay motivated? I do not accept failure, nor do I accept self-sabotage. I want to succeed, I want to be healthy, I want to be fit, and I want to live as long as I can in a healthy body. I don’t want to be a burden on my family, and I don’t want to be the person looking back at their youth and recalling those golden years when everything was better because I was healthier. I want to live today, and now, and enjoy everything that I can to the fullest extent possible. For me, it’s not worth giving all that up for a pizza. Not anymore.

 

Whole30 Wrap-up Day 15

Half way there!!!

It’s amazing to think that we’re already half-way to finishing this Whole30! It’s been the easiest one of the four, and yet I’m still feeling the benefits and dropping weight! It’s pretty amazing. My weight this morning was still at my low, which is good. The weather here in Houston is pretty cold and dry, but my body is adjusting well. I got a lot of rest last night, and I felt great this morning.

Breakfast: The usual: two eggs sunny-side up with three slices of sugar-free bacon. I also had a few nuts this time because I was famished for some reason. Maybe eating only twice yesterday had something to do with that.

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Sherry-prepared lunch: Butter Chicken and Riced Cauliflower

Lunch: One of the meals Sherry prepped for us this past Sunday was an Indian dish called Butter Chicken with Riced Cauliflower. It was absolutely delicious, and I asked her to put this on the “Make it again” list. She said it was much easier than the other Indian chicken dish she normally makes for us, so this may become the new normal.

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Dinner: Orange Beef Stiry Fry with Snap Peas and Riced Cauliflower.

Dinner: Sherry tried a new recipe from a Christmas present she received in the form of a cookbook. This was an Orange Beef Stir Fry with Sugar Snap Peas and riced cauliflower. She found the recipe in Well Fed Weekdays, a Paleo cookbook. The recipes are easy to prepare, and we really liked the meal and will likely do it again in the future!