Plateau-ing

Don’t let the title fool you…it’s not the new “planking” so to speak…I’m no trendsetter by any means.

After having some remarkable success in dropping some pounds November and December I’ve tapered off quite a bit.  To date I’m down a total of 40 lbs…but January and most of February have been sort of a let down…a plateau.  No movement on the needle of the dial…meaning I haven’t lost any weight but I haven’t gained any either.  And no…I haven’t fallen off the wagon completely…well…perhaps a little here and there.  I like to imagine myself as Indiana Jones holding desperately onto a rope being pulled along the dusty earth…I’m gripping the rope still but life has been insane since Christmas.

IndianaJones

You’d think with New Years coming and going I would have some boost of sheer will…but it didn’t happen.  I’ve been working some unreal hours trying to wrap up a project with a team at work…it’s been stressful and grueling…a lot of long nights at the office.  One of the casualties of this schedule has been the rotation diet…and food planning…and sleep…and family time.  I’m still adhering strictly to eating gluten-free.  However, I’m relying too much on Qdoba and  Chipotle as my go-to fast food meal replacement.qdoba-logo  chipotle-mexican-grill  Seems as though there’s not enough time in the day anymore…and it’s all I can do to try and maintain new eating habits.  I guess when you come up against a wall like this you just power through right?

I think now is when the real work begins…and I know what needs to be done.  The great news in all of this is…the project just went out to bid…so I can cut back on hours and get everything back where it belongs.

To start…I need to implement more exercise and stress relieving activities.  Up until now my exercise has been rolling around on the floor with the kids.  Stress relief has come in the form of playing with my son’s Go! Go! Smart wheels…we have the Train Set and Airport…seriously…they’re fun!  I’ve been curious about running…but if you know me…you know I’ve never liked to run…like never…like since they made us run a mile in middle school.  I hear stories that there’s a high associated with it and you get into a zone and  before you know it you’re hooked.  Others have suggested krav maga or some sort of full body contact sport.

Sleep is another area that needs much improvement.  I’ve been staying up way too late…a lot of the time at the office…but since my schedule was messed up I resorted to staying up at too…Netflix and all.  Netflix MemeThey keep putting up awesome binge watching material and I’m a documentary junkie…have you seen Blackfish? Ride the Divide?  Suffice to say, I need more sleep and get into a habit of putting devices away…there are many things that affect quality of sleep which I’d like to share here.

Lastly, I plan on writing more in the coming weeks…just to keep myself in check I think…but more importantly…I’ve found some great information to share anything I think will be beneficial to others.  It’s a reconstruction process…whatever course of action I need to take…the time is now!

What moves have you made when you’ve been stuck…in a rut…etc?

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It’s A Small World After All

Short post tonight…

Tomorrow my family and I are embarking on an incredible journey to Walt Disney World in Florida. We’re all pretty excited to say the least! It will be our first major vacation as a party of five…prayers are appreciated! The kids and I have never been to Disney World…my wife went when she was younger…so it should be quite an adventure for us!

We were able to get the Disney Dining Plan added onto our reservation during our stay. It makes your stay pretty all inclusive with one “quick service meal”, one “table service meal” and one snack per person per day. The Disney Dining Plan is designed to take the hassle out of the never ending “what to eat?” questions on a typical vacation. Our helpful Disney Planner made reservations at some fabulous restaurants and from what we’ve read, Disney makes great effort to accommodate food allergies, sensitivities, and dietary restrictions…which in our family is gluten, dairy, peanuts, and egg…good times huh?!?!

My goal is to stay the course…not over do it but perhaps enjoy a thing or two within reason. Hopefully there will not be any inadvertent allergic reactions while we’re there. I hope to follow up with good news after the trip!

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Post Thanksgiving Update

HolidayHamRyanIt’s been a short while since I’ve blogged…you may have been wondering whether or not the Thanksgiving Holiday did me in.  Several folks have ask how it went for me…the eating plan…the temptations faced…successes and failures…etc. Honestly, I think it went rather well…I may have eaten too much ham but if you could have seen, smelled, and tasted the ham you wouldn’t blame me one bit…at least it’s protein, right?  I can’t stress to you how important it was to have a plan…a manageable plan.  Having a plan took a lot of the guesswork out of eating…and knowing ahead of time what food would be available truly helped me stay the course (not over-eating) during the holiday. It was also beneficial that my wife and I have become meticulous food planners since the beginning of this new way of life…so in the run-up we had some good practice.

GlutenFreeCoconutPieWhole

Gluten Free Coconut Pie

HolidayHamGoodness

HAM!

Thanksgiving day started out great…I woke up and found my wife preparing the coconut crusted pecan pie I mentioned. While not exactly healthy due to the sugar content…it was wonderful to have a gluten free option later that day. When she finished the pie, I began cooking the ham.  Let me back up just a bit…the night before I went to the grocery store to buy the ham…ended up spending a good bit of time reading and comparing labels on every one of them in the store. I ended up choosing the one with the least amount of additives…cured with water, salt, and some nitrates (gasp)…many of the others had a lot of additives so I think I chose the best of the ones available.  I cooked the ham for several hours and then added a glaze consisting of brown sugar and Dijon mustard…perhaps not the best choice…but have you had candied meat? It’s hard to resist.

When we arrived at the in-laws, my mother-in-law had baked some sweet potatoes, made the green bean bundles, spinach salad, and even went through the trouble of modifying her rice dressing recipe.  Everyone has been really supportive to all the food issues with our family (which is another part of the story I should write about). Aside from those foods, the standards were all in attendance…turkey, giblet gravy, cornbread dressing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, coconut pie, pecan pie…but with all the great choices available these were easy to pass up.

ThanksgivingPlate2013

The Thanksgiving Plate of 2013

I was also able to eat on a smaller plate than the giant oval ones…it threw my mother-in-law for a loop…but it worked!  One plate (filled a little more than normal) and I was done…let that settle for a while before I tackled the special pie.  More about the gluten free coconut pie…it was nothing short of a slice of heaven to a dude who’s sworn off sweets and such for a little over five weeks now.  The shredded coconut had a nice crisp on the outside of the crust…the dark chocolate and pecan mixture inside was sinful…having one slice was enough…plus I was able to save several slices in the freezer to enjoy at Christmas!

All in all…compared to past holiday glutton fests…I think we did fairly well…onward to Christmas…and resisting all the office treats!  The lesson here is HAVE A PLAN…a manageable one…and everything will work out.

One last photo of the pie!

One last photo of the pie!

Breaking Eating Habits

cold-turkeyIn the spirit of Thanksgiving…this post is vaguely relevant regarding turkey…hence the classic image to the left.  I recently read a blurb from someone I follow on Twitter (one of the godfathers of the paleo/primal eating lifestyle) regarding how one changes habits…specifically when moving to a healthier lifestyle. The takeaway was something along the lines of “when making a change…do you take baby steps or go cold turkey?”

This time around (and hopefully for good) I’ve selected the “cold turkey” route…and when I say “cold turkey”…I literally haven’t touched a morsel of poultry since starting the reconstruction.  This isn’t because I believe poultry is bad for you…it’s just one of those foods I must avoid for a few months based on the food sensitivity test.  Don’t worry though…I still cook it for the other four members of my family…so that everyone doesn’t have to suffer from Dad’s food sensitivities.

It’s been said that it takes about three weeks to either break a bad habit or develop a good habit.  Finally…I’m a firm believer in this old adage.  I have on numerous occasions now successfully walked past the break room at the office…come face to face with a table full of donuts…pies…cakes…pizza…anything from Rick’s Bakery…and been able to resist the temptation.  Sometimes I get really close to these former food options and smell them…remember them…and move on…before I would have completely indulged…and felt like crap the remainder of the day. Being able to do avoid these temptations has hardened my resolve somewhat…it’s difficult…but getting easier every day.  With it being the holiday season and all…our office will be innundated with holiday treats sent over from contractors, consultants, and vendors…needless to say…I’m up for the challenge!

In my past efforts to “get healthy” I had taken the baby steps approach…sometimes having success…and perhaps if I would have stuck to it I could have made remarkable changes in my health.  The thing is…I was always a sucker for unhealthy foods and would easily gave into temptation.  I’d go a few days eating “moderately healthy”…I use that term loosely because it is laughable thinking about what I used to consider healthy…but I would feel like I deserved some sort of reward for eating well. So I would undo any progress with a little 4-piece Popeye’s here…a little up-sized Arby’s there…and hey…did you know hey have Greek froyo at TCBY now? While mildly nutritious…when you mix Greek froyo with Reese’s cups it sorta defeats the purpose. The point is…I would always find myself back where I began…unmotivated and feeling like a failure.

What’s been the game changer this time?

KnowingIsHalfTheBattleI would have to say knowledge. Making this abrupt change is partly due to the revelation that for a vast majority of my life I’ve participated in stuffing my maw with a pro-inflammatory diet.  Like I’ve said before…I was a little oblivious…not knowing or caring that certain foods were either chronically keeping me sick or contributing to the many issues I was trying to live with day-to-day.  This time…I’m learning a ton more about the foods I should be eating (reading labels and ingredients) and actually enjoying them (in correct portions)…which in turn has made everything…well…extremely doable.  Knowing is half the battle!

How have you been able to change any bad habits or develop new good habits in your life?  Baby steps?  Cold turkey?  I’d like to know!

Update: Deer Camp Food

I had pretty good success staying on the wagon during deer camp…felt like I cheated when I ate some dark chocolate though.  It was fun being outdoors for a few days away from the busy life…and being with some great people was rad as well.  The typical camp food was in full effect…chili…fried chicken…biscuits…desserts…s’mores…and wonderful delicacies like hog jowl, sow belly, and sorghum molasses…it all LOOKED and SMELLED amazing.  Taking the time to prepare helped me a lot…when I was hungry I’d go to my stash of food…it was tough because my wandering gaze had me close to rationalizing indulging in foods I use to enjoy (a little too much)…the pecan pie…Dear Lord…PECAN PIE!  Nonetheless…I did enjoy some wonderful food…including supplements and the ever-so-trusty PaleoMeal chocolate shake with almond milk.  For snacks I ate fruit (pears, oranges, apples, and grapes) and nuts (dry roasted almonds and pecans).  Below are some of the highlights…I forgot to snap a picture of the best meal though…roasted in foil over hot coals…pork loin chops and a roasted sweet potato topped with pecans!

I made this prior to heading out to the woods...contains beef stew meat, tomatoes, carrots, corn, green beans, olive oil, water, salt, and basil.

I made this prior to heading out to the woods…contains beef stew meat, tomatoes, carrots, corn, green beans, olive oil, water, salt, and basil.

 

Grilled salmon and tomatoes...lightly seasoned.

Grilled salmon and tomatoes…lightly seasoned.

I wasn't a huge fan of the grilled tomatoes...I normally do not eat them raw...cooked with other foods are okay though.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the grilled tomatoes…I normally do not eat them raw…cooked with other foods are okay though.

 

Pinto Beans with Mustard Greens and Ham...outstanding!

Pinto Beans with Mustard Greens and Ham…outstanding!

 

I'm not eating poultry for the next 6 months...but roasted these drumsticks for my wife and son.

I’m not eating poultry for the next 6 months…but roasted these drumsticks for my wife and son.

 

 

 

Food Planning…Going Camping

PAN 23-HDRThis weekend I’ll be roughing it in the wilderness camping with some family members for the annual opening day of deer season…Deer Camp.  I’m not a hunter (although I think I could enjoy it)…but I thoroughly enjoy camping and being outdoors…hiking…relaxing by a campfire…and visiting with folks.  We all know one thing…CAMP FOOD IS THE BEST…there’s something magical that happens to food when you cook and eat it outdoors…perhaps there’s a scientific term for this…perhaps there’s something in all of us that makes food taste better in the wild!

While I would normally tend to want to take a hiatus from healthy eating and indulge in all the delicacies of camp food…I’m taking a different approach this year.  Gone are the days of fatty cuts of steak, fried chicken, hot dogs, sausage, chili, biscuits, pies & cakes, cookies, granola bars, soda, beer, coffee…and everyone’s favorite…s’mores!  hotdogIt’ll be a true test of will as I seek to avoid these former staples of mine…I’ll be polite about it all…and I won’t be judging and in-your-face about it…I just hope Uncle Scooter understands.

This time around I’ve put together a plan to eat healthy…hopefully it all happens without a hiccup.  I was actually up late last night making a pot of beef stew to bring (with carrots, corn, green beans, mushrooms, and tomatoes)…it turned out really well.  I also plan on bringing other healthy staples including: PORK, salmon, sweet potatoes, carrots, apples, oranges, eggs, almonds & pecans, tea, water, almond milk, and a few other things…like supplements and a delicious PaleoMeal chocolate protien shake!

It’s going to be a blast…I hope to take some photos of all the eats…good or bad!