FOMO (food edition)

I’ve started this practice of “morning pages.” I’ve done it three days, so I can’t say that it has been life-changing for me yet, but I’m interesting in seeing what happens with it.

I can already see one benefit of it because I’m sitting down and just facing some of my thoughts. I hate to admit this, but I’m constantly worrying and thinking about my weight and health. It’s completely irrational to be this obsessed and still make bad decisions. I’m at a sort of “war” with myself. I know it is not logical.

Actually, that’s the thing about the morning pages. In the moment we think our negative thoughts or whatever, we don’t really recognize the irrationality of some of our thoughts. But with morning pages, I’m starting to be able to detach from these problems. It’s a process, and I’m still at the beginning, but I have hope.

A few days ago, as I wrote, I realized that one of my most emotional responses to food is based on FOMO – Fear of Missing Out. I want to eat cookies if there are cookies at work because I don’t want to miss out on them. Bread, I just moved to a new state, and there is a really great brand of bread here, I want to eat it because I had to go without it for my entire life. The kids want to make brownies, so I’ll just make some with them because these moments won’t be here forever. And, of course I’ll lick the batter because there isn’t much, and I just want a little bit, I’d hate to see it go to waste, and…you get the idea.

I realize that I don’t want to miss out on the fun, the food, whatever. And by writing the morning pages, I was able to really see how irrational this thought is.

But it’s hard, in the moment to say, “You’re being irrational. Stop it.” It’s hard because of habits. And other things, I’m sure. The day I figured out my FOMO issue, I went to work, and someone brought in some homemade raspberry-jalapeno jam with cream cheese and ritz. At first I thought, “I’ll pass.” But everyone raved about it, and soon I thought, “Gosh, this is homemade. How can I pass this up? It’s just Christmas, and I’d be ungrateful if I don’t even try it.”

And I found myself eating many crackers. Yes, the raspberry jam was good, but the joy of that moment is now long gone, and I still feel the sadness that comes from emotional eating.

So – even though I had recognized the FOMO issue, I haven’t really resolved it. Yesterday, after work, I realized that perhaps I can use FOMO in a way that will help me. Perhaps instead of fearing that I’ll miss out on a treat, I should fear on missing out on healthy years ahead of me, good sleep, being able to reach peak poses in yoga.

So – that’s got to be my thought process, I guess. I want a short, easy process. A sentence. A phrase. A word. Yeah – the word is no. I will say no to these food-opportunities and know that it is liberating me for other life opportunities. But I need to stop thinking. I need to stop overthinking. And my go-to should just be “no.”

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30 Day No Sugar Challenge

I’m an avid listener of the Fat Burning Man Podcast, and I just listened to an episode where Abel James interviewed this dude Barry Friedman

It was a good episode for so many reasons. However, this particular podcast struck a real chord with me.

I’m a spiritual person. This physical journey toward better health isn’t only physical. It’s also spiritual. I believe that the two cannot be separated.

As I listened to the podcast, the Spirit whispered to my soul. I needed to do this, too. I need to give up sugar for 30 days. Then, I can see how I feel after that.

Actually, in my heart, I know that I need to give it up way longer than that. But, because of my personality, I’m going to say, I’ll do it for 30 days, then I have open options. (See more about this here).

So this is good. I’ve been thinking of a way for my health and life goals to fall into place, and I firmly believe that this particular interview was the universe’s answer (God’s answer) to my question.

***SOOOOO***

Day 1 of no sugar

My emotion about it – mostly mourning. Not excitement. I know that some people are all excited about it. Not me. I’ve quit sugar before (not long term, but like 2 weeks). And it was rough. But I need to quit all processed sugar no 80/20 stuff here.

Basically, the only sugar I’ll eat is fruit. Or other natural occurring sugar. The key is – unprocessed sugar!!!

Yeah. It will be hard. But I will do it. I need to do it.

And I was successful today. No sugar. 1 down, 29 to go.

Blah and a Book Review of Better than Before

Probably not a great title to a blog post. Especially a blog post on a blog that is supposed to be about health. But I need to be honest.

I haven’t written here in a month. Things haven’t been going great. Stalled mostly.

I mean, I’m still doing good things. I went on a long walk the other day – 14 miles with about 3500 ft elevation gain. It was beautiful and spontaneous, actually.

But I’ve been waffling with my diets. Not with actual waffles, but I might as well be.

Anyway – I read Better than Before, by Gretchen Rubin. I have mixed feelings about the book.

I’ve read several books about habits. I’m fairly intrigued with the concept of habits and how we form them. I’ve read the Power of Habit among other books on habits. I heard about Gretchen Rubin’s new book on habit several months ago (maybe a year ago?), but never got around to checking it out.

I hate to say it, but I had already read The Happiness Project, and while I liked some of the concepts in it, I can’t say that I was really stoked about everything she said. So, I figured that I didn’t really care about reading this new book.

But then I was at the Library, and I saw it, and well – when it’s free, why not? I checked out the book, without much commitment to actually reading it. I figure that I’d check it out.

And. I kind of liked it.

I wasn’t really obsessed with all of the personal stories. That’s just me, though. Despite some of the stories, I felt that there was some value in the book. I read through the four tendencies. In some ways, I resisted labeling myself because I hate labels, and I kind of refuse to believe that I am one of them. But as I continued to read the book, I became more intrigued on which tendency I fell into. Perhaps then I’d be able to apply the other strategies to my own life in the right way.

So, I read through the tendencies again, and I couldn’t really decide which one I was – I’m a mom, so I believe that every mom is an “obliger” to an extent. I’m a Mormon, a practicing Mormon, so it seems like I’d be an “upholder” in some way. “Questioner” also stood out to me because I ask a lot of questions. I also felt kinship to “rebel” as I hate being told what to do and have made many decisions precisely because I’m either supposed to or not supposed to do something.

I found the four tendencies quiz on Rubin’s website, and found that I was “Rebel.” I didn’t really want to accept this label, so in my mind, I just thought “whatever.” I was feeling nice and relaxed on the couch, and I wanted to keep sitting there, so I kept reading.

As I proceeded, I remembered that these labels aren’t actual labels, but are tendencies. So it just means maybe a way that I might tend to act. It isn’t an end-all assessment of who I am.

With a more open mind, I embraced my “rebel” tendency and continued to read the book with this lens. As I mentioned before, I could have done without many of the anecdotes and personal stories. I don’t mind Rubin, but it was also getting a little much for my taste. However, I can see how this book would be helpful for people, so I don’t want to be too difficult on it.

I’ve been thinking about my “tendency.” I’ve been thinking about the other traits (abstainer/moderation, sprinter/marathon). This book didn’t give me much scientific insight on habits, but this book did help me to find a new way to apply the strategies of habit formation.

For me, because of my personality, it is all about identity. This makes a TON of sense. I’m not going to get into that now because it is too personal and annoying and stuff. But it makes sense to me. So I’m going to experiment with this as I continue on with my goals to have better health.

***

Oh – one little illustration. For weeks, I have wanted to walk from my town to a nearby town. There is a mountain between the two towns. There is a road and a pass you can take. For months, because of weather, this road has been closed.

When the road opened, I drove the road with my family. It was amazing and beautiful, and immediately I knew I wanted to walk this same road. It would be a long walk, but beautiful and worthwhile. I love big projects.

So, I announced that I was going to walk it – either the coming Saturday or some following Saturday (depending on the weather).

Once I announced it, I started to feel uneasy. I don’t particularly like being committed to things, but whatever. I looked at the week forecast, and it was rainy. Phew. I had an out.

Of course, on Saturday, the weather was great. But by then, I had talked myself out of it. I figured I wouldn’t go. But I knew I wanted to go on a walk. And I knew I wanted to walk this road to the next town, and I’d do it sometime. Just not this day.

Even though I didn’t want to do the walk, I wanted to walk longer than normal. Saturday is my day to get away from homeschool and all of my other obligations – if just for a few hours. I didn’t eat breakfast, I don’t usually before my walks or runs. I did take some water. And I started my walk.

I felt like maybe I’d like the option of choosing to walk to the neighboring town, so I started walking the road that leads to it. Without a commitment either way.

And I walked. I walked up the mountain quite a way, and I figured I’d make it up to a trail head that is part of the way up on the way to the pass.

When I made it there, I realized I had been walking long enough that I might as well walk to the pass, but I didn’t need to keep walking after that if I wasn’t feeling up to it.

I made it to the pass. The walk had been so steep (starting at 5600 ft and ending at 9000 feet – it was hard at times), that when I made it to the pass, I could see two valleys – one on either side of the mountain. It was such a special moment. Such a rush. I figured I might as well finish my walk.

And I did. I accomplished what I wanted to do. It clicked to me. I am who I am and I can do what I want. I don’t need to pin myself down. I don’t need to make elaborate schedules (unless I really want to). I can just think about my goals, who I am, and then let them happen.

I know that some of my goals will require more work. But I feel like I might have a tool that will help me in an effective way.

ok. blah. end.

One of My Favorite Podcasts

I love listening to podcasts. I listen to them while I walk and while I sew. One of my favorite podcasts is The Model Health Show – hosted by Shawn Stevenson and Jade Harrell.

Today, I listened to an interview all about energy, healing, and meditation. Shawn Stevenson hosted Tristan Truscott- a dude who practices martial arts and Qigong (you can find the episode here.

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Saw this little dude looking at me today.

Anyway – this episode resonated with me. I still am having major problems with eczema. I’m not sure what else I can do. I’ve tried so much. I don’t eat any of the aggravating foods, but it still feels aggravated. In fact, when I’m not trying to eat well, when I’m not conscientious, my skin gets better!

I have a feeling it is because I’m not stressing about it. Every once in a while, I figure, “forget it! – nothing I’m doing is working anyways, so why not eat hoagies and cookies.

But I’m not happy with that because I know that the hoagies and cookies are adding to my problem. Sure some of the acute signs go away, but I don’t think that they are healing my skin. I think that I’m just not stressing so much.

So – right now, I’m really doing well with eating and with exercise, and I feel really happy about that. Meanwhile, my skin is just exploding. I figure I need to keep addressing stress. In case you’re wondering – yes, I’ve seen a dermatologist. I’ve seen three doctors. None of them have addressed stress or diet. They just put me on prednisone. I also got a prescription for a very strong steroid-cream (Clobetasol). It kills my skin. It’s a band-aid. It gets better for a day, then I stop, and it all comes back with a vengeance.

I’ve stopped eating nightshades, eggs, and nuts. I gave up dairy for a while, and when I added it back in, I didn’t notice it giving me much of a problem. I don’t eat much dairy, but I do eat it from time to time. I’ve noticed, though, that nuts and nightshades absolutely make my skin crazy. I’m experimenting with eggs still.

This whole thing has been going on for over two years now, and I may be going a bit insane.

Today’s podcast really resonated with me. I need to focus on my energy and meditation. That’s really all that I have left to do. I have been doing yoga for some time now. I love it. I’ve also been meditating, but I’m going to try to really focus on medical meditation and perhaps check out qigong.

Crossing my fingers

***
Have you tried Qigong? Has meditation helped any of your medical problems? How did you learn to heal yourself this way?

Sleeping

I’ve always hated sleep. When I was a kid, I thought it was boring. I remember, when I was a teen, there was a song by REM, and one of the verses sung, “Sleep delays my life, Get up! Get up! Where does time go? I don’t know!” – And I believed in this sentiment wholeheartedly.

Of course, I started liking sleep a little more when I was a new mother – and I never got any. But, for the most part, I still loathed the idea that I needed to spend so much time doing nothing.

Well, that’s where I was mistaken. I know now that a lot is happening during sleep. While we sleep, our bodies are getting much needed rest, Melatonin increases, Cortisol decreases and our bodies are able to heal themselves from basic wear and tear of the day.

It took me a long time and a lot of pain (and itching) to learn this. A few years ago, I started suffering from dyshydrotic eczema. The condition got progressively worse. I had a major flare up of eczema all over my body. When I finally saw the doctor, she was giddy, “I’ve never seen such a bad case!” Then, I was put on a high dose of Prednisone for over a month.

Since then, I’ve been on Prednisone at least 3 more times. It is horrible.

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My hands last October. It got much worse and I have problems with all of my skin now.

I changed my diet. I took vitamins, supplements, etc. I knew that I needed to get more sleep, but sleep just takes so long. – I homeschool my children and I look forward to a few hours in the evening for some peace and quiet.

I keep refusing to prioritize sleep, and my skin gets worse.

I saw a documentary about the terrorists being held at Guantanamo Bay, and I learned that one of the tactics used to get them to give up information is to put some kind of itching powder on them. I can see why this method is used. I’ve been so itchy, I finally found myself at a point where I was willing to say or do anything to stop itching…Including sleep.

So – now I’ve got a strict bedtime. I go to my bedroom at 9PM, brush my teeth, get ready for bed, etc, and am usually asleep around 9:45. I don’t have an alarm for the morning. I’m just allowing myself to sleep.

Admittedly, I only started this in the last week. The first few nights I slept for a long time. Today, I woke up at 5:16 AM. I stayed in bed for another hour before getting out of bed – just in case I fell back asleep. I’m hoping to fall into a rhythm soon.

While my skin isn’t cured, it is already starting to clear up. More than that, I’ve been in a better mood and I’ve been able to get a lot done in the morning before the kids wake up. I feel less stressed during the day because I have so much more time and because I’m not dead tired.

So – sleep. This is a major major part of my Primal Experiment.

 

Periodization Plan 2016

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A pretty picture because I believe that blog posts need pretty pictures

 

So, one of my “complaints” about Primal Endurance is that there isn’t a set plan for me. HOWEVER I understand why that doesn’t happen in this book.

If you’re looking for some laid out schedule – run 3 miles on monday, 5 miles on Tuesday, 4 x 800m Intervals , etc. – then you will be disappointed with Primal Endurance.

Instead, Primal Endurance teaches you to know your body and be intuitive. I love this idea. I love the idea of knowing myself! I want to be intuitive. It’s just a little bit more work.

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View at 30,000 ft.

I was on a plane a few days ago from Boston to Seattle. It gave me plenty of time to hash out a plan.

Wait. I didn’t hash out a plan. That’s not really a primal thing to do.

I created a basic plan for periodization that gives me a little bit of focus, but it is also vague enough for me to be able to be intuitive with my training.

So – here’s the plan:

Aerobic Base

  • April 10 – July 2

Intensity Mini-Periods

  • July 3 – July 16 – Intensity and Competition Phase, with a short race on July 9.
  • July 17 – July 30 – Rest and Aerobic Phase
  • July 31 – August 13 – Intensity and Competition Phase, with a race on August 13
  • August 14 – August 27 – Rest and Aerobic Phase
  • August 29 – September 17 – Intensity and Competition Phase, with a 1/2 Marathon on 17 September
  • September 18 – October 8 – REST – NO FORMAL EXERCISE
  • October 9 – October 22 – Intensity and Competition Phase
  • October 23 – November 5 – Rest and Aerobic Phase
  • November 6 – November 26 – Intensity and Competition Phase

Rest Phase

  • November 27 – January 1, 2017 – no formal exercise.

It’s important to note that this plan is subject to change. It all depends on how I’m feeling and how I’m progressing. The first thing is to build an aerobic base. This comes through training at an aerobic level (using the MAF method: 180-Age). The second thing is to change the diet – eliminating sugar dependency and encouraging the body to use fat for fuel (especially fat storage).

So – building the aerobic base takes time, but with commitment and consistency, I know that I can do it. I know that if I just stay primally aligned with my eating, get enough sleep, and keep my workouts under 138 bpm, (my adjusted MAF heart rate), then I’ll be able to build the aerobic base that will enable me to perform better and be healthier.

Primal Endurance and Other Thoughts

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Making a Plan

One of the basic guides I’ll be following in my Primal Experiment is outlined in Mark Sisson’s book Primal Endurance

I really liked the book. I think that it will especially help people who are completely unfamiliar with the Primal Lifestyle. There is a lot of good, convincing information in the book that will help persuade most readers to give this method of endurance training a try.

To say that this book suggests a very unconventional method is an understatement. I’ve trained for marathons in the past, and I successfully completed one. Maybe successful is an understatement. A few weeks before the marathon I completed, I was experiencing a lot of pain in my foot. I couldn’t even walk. I went to a doctor, and he said I had a small stress fracture.

I wanted to feel tough, so I stayed of my foot during my taper period. Then I ran my marathon. My foot killed. Afterwards it was swollen and red. I hobbled around in a boot for several weeks.

Yet, I still like running.

I’ve put it on the back burner – at least really long distance because I have been following Mark Sisson and other people in the Primal/paleo community. I’ve suffered from a few other health conditions that have persuaded me to slow down. I walk a ton.

But I miss running.

Along comes Primal Endurance. I started listening to the Podcast since it started, and I was introduced to Phil Maffetone. I bought his book and read it. I was in the middle of a lot of things – in my life – stressful things. (Moving several times in the space of a year). I knew that it wasn’t the right time to start building my Aerobic base or doing any kind of endurance challenge.

So yeah. Here we go. Have you used Phil Maffetone’s method for endurance sports? Have you implemented the method as taught by Mark Sisson in Primal Endurance? If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts.