Monday, May 25, 2015

Update... on everything

I have not done any blogging lately, because as most teachers will tell you, May is terrible.

Most of May is a lot like that purple one.  As a teacher, especially as a teacher in an alternative school, you become frazzled and exhausted.  I have literally come home and napped for hours at a time out of sheer exhaustion.  Students are panicking because they haven't completed any of their work for the past 6 weeks and suddenly they need enough points to get course credit for the semester.  They are needy and desperate.  I do my best to be helpful and supportive, but it is wearing.  

I mostly finished what is essentially my last academic semester in law school in late April, so I've been able to focus on my students and their needs, but now law school is picking up again, so I will once again have divided interests.  Part of me will need to focus on my students, while the rest of me will focus on my studies.

Despite all of this crazy, Mike and I have consistently stuck to our healthy eating plan.  We are on day 24 of no processed foods, no added sugar, virtually no carbs (though we still eat some fruit).  And so far, we are really pleased with the results.  

These are not the final numbers, as May isn't over yet, but these are our almost-final numbers, as we only have about a week to go.  

Mike has lost "about 8 pounds".  He can't remember what he was wearing when he weighed himself on day 1.  He hasn't seen much change in his waistline, but we had a long discussion about this the other night and he finally admitted that being diabetic, it's probably going to take longer for him to see any huge changes.  He agrees that even 8 pounds in 3 weeks is pretty significant weight loss.

I have lost 14 pounds - since I do know what I was wearing on day 1.  My original goal for the month was 20 lbs, but in retrospect, that was probably a crazy goal.  I think if I finish the month 15 pounds lighter than I started, I've still met with incredible success.  I'll be honest, I'd kill for some ice cream... but I'm holding out until June.  :)  Even then it will be a single serving of ice cream.

In addition to the weight loss, we've also made some positive lifestyle changes.  We're much more active.  We completed a 5K on Saturday, something a friend pointed out that we wouldn't have dreamed doing a year ago.  

And while we didn't kill it (we were actually fairly slow by our own standards), we finished it, and we were far from last.  

We walk a lot more - we almost never drive to the store anymore... unless we have to go to Costco.  Partially because Costco is about 6 miles away, and partially because I can't carry those things home. But, we walk everywhere else - grocery store, pharmacy, even coffee shop.  We also cook at home almost all the time.  Our dedication to unprocessed sugar-free foods doesn't really work well with the restaurant world, so we just eat at home.  It's a little more work, but we have ben doing pretty well.  We've discovered some tasty recipes and are planning on continuing for the foreseeable future.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

10 Day Blood Sugar Detox, Day 1

After watching Fed Up, which I outlined in my last post, Mike and I decided to do a 30 day clean eating challenge.  Part of which is Dr. Mark Hymann's 10 Day Blood Sugar Detox.

Essentially, this is a slightly more severe version of the first week - there seems to be less fruit involved - which makes me sad because I like fruit.  I'll outline the basics for you in case you're interested at all.

Breakfast:  Protein shake.  He offers a few recipes, but a lot of them include bananas, which I'm allergic to.  Also, I use Shakeology, which I'm pretty sure is the healthiest substance on the planet.  The idea is to have a filling, nutrient dense, low-glycemic index breakfast that will get you through until lunch.

Lunch:  Salad (He gives a big list of mix and match stuff and says eat whatever you want, as long as its on these lists), or if you get tired of salad, there are some soup and grilled meat recipes to use to mix it up.

Dinner:  Meat, fish, or tofu or some sort with some vegetable side dishes.  There are a lot of varieties - grilled, curried, baked, with plenty of fresh herbs and spices.  There's also a pretty wide variety in the sides - some raw veggies, some cooked.  Nothing seems to repeat, so the idea is not to get bored with the food.

There are a few other components - relaxation, multi-vitamins, good hygiene, etc.  One that I found interesting was journaling.  Since I do this and no one reads it anyway (Hi mom!), I figured I would use this as a forum.

Day 1 question:  Why am I doing this?  What are my goals?

Part of why I'm doing this is because Mike asked me to.  I wouldn't have come up with it on my own.  I have become increasingly less healthy in the past few years - mostly in the sense that I've put on a few extra pounds every year and haven't put a lot of energy into taking them back off.  A few years ago I focused on my health and put the requisite energy into diet and exercise, but then things kind of ran off the rails.  Since that point, I've gained an undeniable amount of weight.  Last fall, I started taking steps to make healthier choices, but didn't do all the things I should.  I was able to take off, and keep off, 10-12 pounds on my own, but didn't go much further.  In the past week, on our mini-detox, I've dropped another 8 1/2 pounds.

My goals are to continue the paleo-esque diet (probably with some modifications to add in some healthy carbs) throughout the summer, lose some more weight (my ultimate goal would be 40 pounds down from my weight this morning), and be overall healthier.

Mike and I are signed up to run a 1/2 marathon in November and I want to a) finish it and b) not embarrass myself.  A total weight loss of 50 lbs (40 plus the 8.5 I've already lost) would go a long want to making that happen.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Our "Parisian Diet": One Week In

Last week, Mike had some dental work, which resulted in an extraction, which resulted in some nerve damage and some terrible pain.  He's anxiously awaiting a root canal, which I believe is happening sometime next week.  He had a rough time scheduling with his endontist.  In the meantime, while he was trying out different combinations of pain killers and antibiotics, he had a number of sleepless nights.

On one of those sleepless nights, he stayed up watching various Netflix documentaries, including "Fed Up".  This is a documentary outlining the physical and mental issues that stem from eating processed foods, and specifically foods with processed sugars.  The movie is fairly long (about 1 hour 40 minutes) and deals with a number of different issues, so I won't go into everything.  However, in the end, it does challenge individuals to try a 30 day "cleanse" or "detox".  I'm always very hesitant to use both of these words because it makes it sound like some sort of a fad.  It's not the same as a 10 day grapefruit juice cleanse.

While overweight, I'm generally healthy.  Mike has high blood pressure and has type 2 diabetes, so he decided we should give this a shot.  Let me give you a break down of what this looks like.

I call it our Parisian diet, because it reminds me a lot of what eating in France looked like.  There are a lot of fresh foods.

1.  Lots of fruits and vegetables

Obviously this a cornerstone of any healthy eating choice.

2.  No grains or starches.  :(

THIS is really hard.  Look at this picture.  Most of my favorite things are in this picture.  Even things we think of as "healthy" substitutes are straight out.  Corn?  no.  Rice?  no.  How about BROWN rice?  also no.  Beans and stuff are also verboten.  Breads, pastas, and of course, all of my favorite things --- cookies, cakes, etc.

3.  No sugar in any form.

This one is also pretty rough.  We aren't doing any white sugar, brown sugar, honey, or anything else - at least not in this first "phase".  There's a second phase after we do the "detox" part.  I don't know all the details of that part yet.  This also includes things like fruit sugars in juice where the sugar has no nutritional value (i.e. fiber) to justify it.

4.  Protein

I think as written, this would be difficult for a vegetarian, because there isn't a lot of room for protein substitutes.  We have been eating a lot of beef and chicken.  I'm eating some shrimp tonight.  I ate all veggies last night.  We do have protein shakes for breakfast - which are delicious.


This is the key.  This is where things differ from any other diet you may have tried.  No processed foods of any type.  No weird chemical ingredients.  If it has more than a couple ingredients, or any ingredients you can't grow or butcher yourself, don't eat it.

6.  Exercise.

We walk a lot.  This is the other part that reminds me of Paris.  We made a pact not to buy anything we weren't willing to walk to get.  We live about 1.3 miles round trip from the grocery store and 1.5 miles round trip from the pharmacy.  We have made that walk every single day.


Mike says he "misses chips, cookies, and beer, in that order, but I feel good".  He has realized that arugula is not his favorite leafy green vegetable.  His blood sugar is way down, he's lost a couple pounds "depending on which scale I use, and which time of day I weigh myself, somewhere between four and seven pounds".

I mostly miss chocolate things - but I'm willing to power through the 30 days.  Like Mike, I don't love arugula.  I feel really good as well.  I was pretty exhausted the first couple of days, but I'm feeling much better now.  I only use one scale, so I can give a much more accurate picture of my weight.  I should have taken some measurements (I'll do some tonight for week 2), but I'm down a total of six pounds in the first week.

We both agree that the exercise has helped us sleep better and as a general rule, our food has been delicious.  We've discussed a couple of times that because we are only eating food and not a bunch of weird added stuff, we are actually just tasting the food.  It's very nice.