Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Morning corn delivery

Tomorrow is the day I start the 30-day Paleo challenge, and I feel ready. In fact, I feel so ready that I might have just started today, except that my mom brought over several ears of corn for us this morning, and (being of Iowan birth) I can't think of any reason not to eat them all up. The best part of morning corn delivery is that the reason Mom is shedding corn is because she's planning on doing the challenge with me! This is great moral support, and it's practical, too, because I know we will be having at least a couple of meals at their house in the next month.

My sister was thinking about joining us, too, but I haven't heard her final decision. She was afraid she might starve to death because she can't eat any of the foods she normally eats, and I completely understand that concern. In fact, what she might not know is that even if she does come up with enough calories to sustain life, she might still feel hungry all the time. (But don't let that stop you! I hear it goes away eventually!)

Actually, the main reason I'm feeling so confident about this right now is that I whipped up a batch of Paleo ranch dressing yesterday, and now I know that if all else fails, I can always have a salad. I also made stuffed mushrooms, which are delicious. They're more a snack than a meal, in my mind, but it's comforting to have something easy and tasty waiting in the fridge.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Strangest side effect ever

It's still a few more days until I plunge into the 30-day Paleo challenge—and I've noticed that I'm letting us run out of milk, so I guess I really am going through with it—but I've been "practicing" for about a week now by being sugar free and cutting way back on grains. Only… maybe… I think being gluten-free is making my teeth hurt.

So get this: On Thursday, I had a gluten-free breakfast and lunch—not quite Paleo, but gluten-free. Around 2 o'clock, I started feeling this "electric" sensation in my gums, both upper and lower. It almost felt like I had bitten into something really, really cold. Flossing had no effect, stretching and relaxing my jaw had no effect—it was driving me crazy. Then I had a "normal" meal with my family around 4, and the pain went away shortly afterward.

Friday, same thing, same timing.

I was less diligent about avoiding gluten over the weekend, and although my mouth felt tingly at times, it never erupted into the full-blown nerve pain again.

Today, I had a six-month dentist appointment, so naturally I brought this up. There wasn't anything physically wrong with me (or I should say dentally wrong with me) so my only theory on what's going on is gluten withdrawal. Which I guess is a real thing, causing "intense food cravings, irritability, depression, mood swings, fatigue, disorientation, insomnia, and brain 'fogginess.' "

Oh, gluten. Are you really that evil, or is this just a crazy fad I'm getting sucked into? Guess I'll be finding out soon.

But in the meantime, I just had six crackers with lunch as a preventative measure.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


I had a weird day. No work to do, no training to do, no traveling to do, no obligations of any kind. Most people would probably say, "Great. I've been dying for a day off to do X." But bad news. I've been so busy for so long that I couldn't think of a single X.

What's my X?? I really need one. Cleaning the bathrooms doesn't count (probably).

By the way, I was complaining about this lack of… something to my husband tonight, and he immediately popped up with the perfect one-time idea, something I wanted to do and needed to do and would have felt happy and productive doing (read the first 50 pages of his book). But by the time he mentioned it, I had already moped away my whole day. Dang it!

So I told him his new job is to be my rudder. Whenever he sees me wandering around the house in a listless and melancholy mood, he needs to give me an assignment. (He's really good at being selectively in charge of my life. For the better part of the past year, for example, I let him control my sugar intake.)

I don't know if it's actually an emotionally healthy strategy to hand off the parts of your life you can't manage to someone else, but it certainly works for me.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Before and After

I'm still "preparing" for this primal eating challenge mostly by reading up on it (rather than doing something useful, like, say, shopping). But it is really fun to read the before-and-after stories.

As in:
"Before, I was a 600-pound "Jersey Shore" addict with rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, cancer, and bad skin, and now, After, I'm a vibrant, healthy, 120-pound cello player with a greenhouse in my backyard and a song in my heart."
I really want to be an After. If I didn't, what would be the point? But I'm afraid my story is not going to be that great. I already have an interesting and fulfilling life. I work from home. I'm in love with and constantly amused by my family. I sleep pretty well. My skin is clear. My wrinkles are within reason. My knees are sexy. I don't have any real health problems. And I just completed an Ironman.

But a before-and-after story needs a Before, so let's focus on the negative. I need to lose 20 to 30 pounds. I am easily distracted when I should be working. I can't do any yoga pose requiring hip flexibility. I never know where I've left my keys. My STUPID FEET STILL HURT constantly. A lot of my hair is falling out. I have no desire to have an organic garden or play an instrument. My fastest marathon is over six hours. My bathrooms are dirty, despite my having the desire for them to be clean and the ability to make them clean. My mother-in-law can beat me at arm wrestling. (Well, I would never actually arm-wrestle her. But I can deduce this from the fact that she can beat my 13-year-old son, and he can beat me.)

There. The cold, hard facts. Now I have a story to tell.

But I still want this to be my Before picture:

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Phase 1

It's not September yet, but school is back in session, which means it's time for some sort of discipline again.

First off is going back to regular exercise. So I got up, had some breakfast, gave the kids a first-day-of-school pep talk ("seize the grade!"), and then went to spin class. I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand, it was a gorgeous morning, so why wasn't I outside on my real bike breathing fresh air, instead of having orders barked at me in a too-dark, too-loud room full of sweaty people? On the other hand, though, I got a decent workout in a much shorter time this way (45 minutes—freaky). And in theory, if I stick with this class, those sweaty people could become my friends.

The other part of Phase 1 is getting off of sugar. I figure that will make any future Paleo eating (note vague wording) less of a shock to my system. Someone else is going to have to finish off that cake. Pringles are technically still legal.

P.S. If you're thinking of doing this with me, read the link in yesterday's post and start Googling Paleo recipes you think you can handle. There's lots of stuff we can still eat, but it's going to take planning. And shopping. And cooking. And creativity. And time. And willpower. And family cooperation. And probably other stuff I haven't thought of.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The taste of cold turkey

I know from experience that moderation is not really my thing. Sometimes I think my life would be better if I could make it my thing, but on the other hand, moderation isn't what got me to the finish line of an Ironman.

Anyway, "easing" into primal eating is really not happening. I wake up with great intentions, and by noon I have a handful of Pringles in my mouth. (Pride forces me to note that we normally don't keep crap like Pringles around the house, but they are here now, them and a lot of cake.)

So I was thinking maybe I need to go cold turkey on this 30-day challenge. I realized that, conveniently, September hath 30 days, and doesn't have any birthdays or holidays in it. Plus, with school starting tomorrow, we'll probably be in a bit of a routine by then and stop spontaneously going out for ice cream every other day. So maybe I will dedicate September to a little experiment.

Or maybe I will chicken out. Not sure yet. This would not be easy. Anybody want to try it with me?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Shifting interests

My extracurricular reading is slowly shifting from triathlon blogs (most of which no longer interest me much) to mommy blogs and Paleo eating blogs. I guess that's a rough measure of where I might be going with my life now. Notice that I still read very few writing-related blogs, yoga blogs, gardening blogs, or housekeeping blogs. And still zero beer-making, right-wing political, left-wing political, tap-dancing, Russian history, or Elvis impersonator blogs. (I was going to include "clown-school blogs," but I realized that the reason it came to mind was because I have recently read a very fine blog about clown school.)

With Paleo eating, I'm still in the mostly-thinking-about-it stage. I thought about it a lot yesterday, but that didn't stop me from eating waffles with chocolate chips while playing Apples to Apples with the family from 10 to 11 p.m. last night. There's a silent starter's pistol for seriously beginning this kind of thing. It goes off at 8:15 a.m. next Wednesday morning.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Dipping my toe in

This is how I know I'm on to something:

A couple of times in the past few days I've eaten a totally Paleo meal, like a salad, or scrambled eggs with vegetables. Within an hour, I get hungry again, and my body starts suggesting, "Popcorn? Ice cream? Tasty, tasty, tortilla??"

Okay. So now that I've confirmed a severe physiological addiction to carbs, how do I actually get through the day without going all toast-happy? Keep in mind that I want to ease into these waters, not dive in.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Thinking about some dietary changes

Seriously weighed the pros and cons of yoga vs. nap before ultimately dragging myself to yoga. It was the right choice, of course. Afterward I felt more relaxed and more rested. I get the idea that some people think yoga is relaxing because it's slow and easy. But that's not it. It's relaxing because it's slow and hard.

I've been doing a lot of reading about "primal" eating and am convinced that, if nothing else, I at least need to cut back heavily on carbohydrates and dairy. (While I ponder this bold move, I've been happily polishing off all the leftover ice cream from the last birthday party we had at our house.)

I've been thinking to myself I could never go 100% (or 90%) primal, though. I am too picky, and absolutely addicted to Cheerios, milk, and a banana for breakfast. But on the other hand, the whole point is that those foods are addictive, and you need to break the cycle. Plus, I'm a big girl now. I don't have to be so picky if I don't want to.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

What it takes to get me to the gym

A month and a half now since the race, and I've done next to nothing. Worse, I'm feeling fat but in no mood to step on a scale and find how how fat. Worse than worse, my butt's been in a chair for almost two weeks straight, including weekends, as I desperately try to keep up with the deluge of work that's deluging in.

Does any of that ever get me to the gym once in a while, just so I can get out of the house and feel a bit better about my life? Of course not.

What got me to the gym was realizing, after finishing a project, that "Project Runway" was going to be on in 10 minutes, and that even without a car I could probably run there in time to watch it on the treadmill. (We don't have cable. We do have a car, but it's elsewhere.)

I was dressed in running clothes, out the door, and to the gym (three-quarters of a mile away) in 12 minutes flat. The show was in commercials, but when it finally came back on, it was two-thirds over, having actually started at 7, not 8.

I just went home. I have work to do. But at least I can say I left the house today. Plus I probably got almost two miles in, parts of it fast and foolishly optimistic.

Monday, August 1, 2011

July totals

Oh, by the way…

Run: 2 miles (but a lot of walks)
Bike: 0 miles
Swim: 0 yards

(I actually stopped keeping track of mileage, but this one was pretty easy to do from memory.)

140.6 to Zero

When people asked me right after the race if I ever wanted to do another Ironman, I would say, "Maybe when I'm 50." You know, because I really did enjoy the process and the outcome, but realistically, it was too much sacrifice to ask of my family at this stage of our lives.

One month after the race, my view has changed.

Now I think I will never, ever, ever, in a million years do one of these again. I look at my Kona magazine ("THIS IS YOUR LAST ISSUE!") and just see a bunch of crazy people wasting their finite time on this planet getting ever-more obsessed with mileage and wattage and VO2 max and aerodynamic bike shorts and the pros and cons of different types of shoe cushioning.

Yes, the New Julie has a lot more free time and a bit more perspective on her priorities in life.

Of course, the New Julie also can't seem to keep up her measly 32-minute-per-week workout regimen. I was expecting a post-Ironman mental backlash against exercise, but it's worse than I imagined.

So the new New Life Plan is this: I'm taking the rest of the summer off, both from any kind of structured exercise plan and from worrying about it. I'm not going to do anything I don't want to do. Lest you fear I'll need to rename my blog "140.6 to Zero," I should mention that I do want to do yoga, and I might even want to swim, run, or bike. I just don't have to. I'll try to pick up with the old New Life Plan after the kids are back in school and a routine seems within my grasp.