Tenacious Ang

“The most difficult thing is the decision to act; the rest is mere tenacity.” ~Amelia Earhart

Here I am at 4 weeks out from Provincials. I still have barely deadlifted since January. I have barely had more than 200 pounds on my back since August. I am roughly 6 pounds over my weight class. My husband can’t drive for something like 6-9 weeks, and I’ve never driven to the Lower Mainland, let alone driven in a big city. Of those four statements, the one that causes me the most anxiety is the very real likelihood that I will need to drive myself to Provincials. The weight loss shouldn’t be an issue at all, and I am determined to accept the realities of any lingering limitations I may have when I step on the platform. There is just something terrifying about driving in unfamiliar territory when the population far exceeds my own environment, but I can be brave if I need to be. White knuckles and all!

I am not planning anything drastic to cut weight for this competition. My current weight is easily within reach of the target, so I will clean up my diet over the next couple of weeks and see what happens. So, I’m cutting out breads, fried, and processed foods. Wine will be eliminated, although I reserve the right to have a glass if in the company of friends. Since I don’t go out very often, my wine consumption will be practically nil. No potato chips. No poutine. No pastries. No pasta. No bread. No ice cream. I even turned down the temptation of the freshly baked apple-peach-blueberry pie that was on display at the produce store this afternoon.

Even though I have known for months that I would need to drop a few pounds, the ultimate decision to begin the process of cleaning up my diet wasn’t easy to make. I knew I’d have to do it, but I also was reluctant to give up my treats, even temporarily. I told myself I’d start last week. Then I told myself I’d start when my husband went in for surgery. Then I told my husband I’d start on Wednesday. Yesterday I told my coach that I started that day, and that was mostly true. There was enough wine left in the fridge for one final glass. Who else would drink it but me? I couldn’t just waste it! Aside from that final glass of wine, I did clean up my diet yesterday, and I’ve stuck to it today. Decision made. Now I need that tenacity to kick in.

I know that I can do it. Been there, done it several times, and always made my weight class!

Becoming Mrs. Clean

It was going to happen sooner or later, but now that I really should begin I want to drag my feet. What am I talking about? Cleaning up my diet. I knew I’d eventually have to do it to make weight for competition, but I wasn’t expecting to start now. The reason for cleaning up my diet now has nothing to do with making weight and everything to do with reducing inflammation. My chiropractor suggested this due to the inflammation in my lower back. Although I have eaten super clean for periods of time and for specific reasons in the past, right now I feel stubbornly opposed.

I don’t want to give up a glass or two of wine on my weekend. I don’t want to make the extra effort required to prep food for work that doesn’t include flour, sugar, or processed items.

How interesting! Here I have been making small efforts over the past several months to re-focus my eating habits. I’ve been focusing on eating more vegetables again, on planning meals in advance, on eating less processed stuff, so this suggestion to clean my diet even more shouldn’t be as onerous as it feels. I think I just feel unprepared.

Although I have done well with meal planning for the past few weeks, I will admit that I really have nothing planned for this week. I did plan for yesterday’s dinner, but I could only come up with blanks for the rest of the week. My schedule is such that I won’t be home to prep or eat dinner with the rest of the family almost every day of the week, and that scenario tends to be where I struggle with meal planning the most. Unfortunately, when you are trying to eliminate sugars, flours and processed foods, many quick and easy meal solutions are suddenly problematic. A sandwich? Nope. Cereal? No. Forget about treats like muffins or brownies or ice cream. Dairy should probably go, too.

I am working a close shift tonight, which means I need a snack and something closely resembling dinner to eat on my breaks. In cleaning up the kitchen last night, my husband tossed the rest of the rice which I had thought I would bring with some of the chicken and vegetable stew I made for dinner yesterday. The stew without the extra carbs just wouldn’t be enough. This is where the stubborn streak began to tug at my emotions, telling me that I didn’t need to do this. But I do. I am weary of this back pain and the limitations that come with it. I want the problem to resolve, go away and never come back. I want to be able to squat to proper depth without feeling as if my back is stuck. I want to be able to set up for a bench press without wincing and holding my breath. I want to be able to deadlift again. Heck, I’d like to just sneeze without feeling like a bomb went off in my lower back. Or sit! I haven’t done a lot of sitting for well more than a year, but I’d love to just sit for a while without pain. I want to get better, which is why I do the drills my chiropractor tells me to do. I want to get better, which is why I listen to my coach’s advice on when to push and when to play it safe. I want to get better, so I am going to clean up my eating habits…it just might not be perfect immediately.

I already know that I will be starving by the time I get home from work tonight, but I made the effort to prepare some food to take to work with me. Raw veggies to enjoy with some guacamole. A salad of mixed greens, veggies, seeds and nuts, and some roasted chicken I set aside when making yesterday’s stew…and a simple olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette. My meal break will be around 5pm and I work until 9:30. I bet I’ll be starving by 7:30.

Down But Not Out

I really should know better, do better, be better. I should be, and that is why I am frustrated and disappointed with myself today. The kicker? I knew I would feel this way, but I kept to my wayward path. So what did I do? I had crap for lunch. I had more crap for lunch than I typically have on any day other than on Saturday, my cheat day. But it wasn’t like I had an overly large amount of food. Nope. It really wasn’t a lot in terms of quantity, but it was sure a lot in terms of less than stellar quality!

Today would normally be a day where I consume a lower amount of carbs, roughly 100 grams over the course of the day. Ideally those would be complex carbs, good carbs. Oh, Angela! At lunch today I consumed 123 grams of carbs, and there was nothing complex about any of them. I ate a BELT breakfast sandwich (sausage, egg, cheese, lettuce, tomato on a bagel), a hash brown, and a handful of birthday cake Timbits. I can’t even say that the food was especially appetizing, because it was mediocre at best. Except for the Timbits! Birthday cake Timbits are amazing and addictive. While I savoured the Timbits, the rest was basically flavourless and disappointing.

You know what is really disappointing? I had brought a healthier lunch to work with me, but I chose to leave it untouched. This has been an all too common occurrence of late, and I don’t like it but I struggle to get back on track in this area. My will power and discipline can be great at home or when I am out and about, but my workplace has become the one place where my will power can’t be found. I can’t really say that the food at work is too appealing to resist (except for those Timbits maybe!), because the truth is that I am not the least bit tempted by most of what we sell. I can’t even blame it all on a lack of preparation, because I have brought a lunch from home more often than not over the past year and a bit. Maybe I’m just bored with the same old, same old, and there is likely a lot of truth in that statement.

I am about five pounds heavier today than I was in the summer. I remind myself quite often that this is not the end of the world. My clothes still fit. I still use the same notch on my belt. My current weight is quite reasonable; I just don’t like it very much. I am not stressing out over it, but it streaks across my mind a fair bit. I might very much like to drop a weight class for my next competition(s), and that gap seems so much larger at my current weight. I know that the world won’t end if I don’t drop a weight class, but I’m competitive and there are records that could be attainable at the lower weight. It’s not everything, I know it. I am okay. I will be okay.

<sigh>

Regardless of what weight class I will end up falling into, ultimately I want to be healthy, to make better choices most of the time. My husband would like to think that I am super-disciplined. He’s great at coming up with excuses for why he can’t be as disciplined as I am. He must think this is easy, but the truth is that it is not. Some of it does come easily to me. I can have gelato in my freezer without going crazy with it. I can have 4, 5, even 6 bars of dark chocolate on top of the fridge and go weeks between nibbles. I used to have 3, 4, or 5 Diet Cokes a day, but I can’t even remember the last time I had one. I used to have 2 or 3 Iced Capps a day, and I haven’t had one since early August. I went 30 days without sugars or flours. Yes, I have discipline and will power…sometimes. Not always. So today I am a little frustrated with myself. Tomorrow I will pick myself up and do lots of squats and get back on track.

Pizza Night?

I said no to pizza tonight. And wings. I am not even sick!

It doesn’t even feel like I’ve had the previous three days off, and I am so glad that today was my Friday. Today was a long day at work. Isn’t it funny how an 8-hour shift can feel like so much more if the conditions line up a particular way. The morning began slowly, but the craziness hit mid-morning and all the way through lunch and beyond. I have been yawning since I got home.

I sort of had intentions for dinner, but my brain and my body really just wanted to shut down for the rest of the day. Kane came home from work wanting to do something special for dinner. The kids didn’t want to go out, so they decided to order pizza.

If I really wanted pizza, then I would have some pizza; however, I really wasn’t keen on having pizza and today is a lower carb day. While I’m okay to have a moderate amount of carbs, pizza wouldn’t be my best choice. So despite my exhaustion, I made myself a salad of sorts with seasoned ground beef, brown rice, lettuce, veggies and some cheese…strangely satisfying even though it wasn’t pizza. Although I do have to say that the wings smelled rather delicious!

Throwback Thursday

Many people on social sites use Thursdays to post old photos, a throw-back to some random or significant event in their lives. I don’t often do that myself, but I did decide to look back at my blog post from last year to refresh my memory of where I was at in this journey.

On this date last year, I was on day 3 of a week without carbs. My trainer had been gradually tweaking my eating habits, but then he got serious. I had that one week without carbs, followed by alternating days of moderate carbs and low carbs/high fats with one cheat day per week.

Before looking back in my blog, I knew it had been roughly a year since I started this eating plan, yet re-reading those old blog posts somehow make me feel as if I’ve been doing this carb cycling thing for so much longer than a year. I can barely recall those early struggles to stay away from carbs, to consume enough protein, and drink enough water. I am certain that I spent a lot of time thinking about food, about what I could or could not eat. Figuring out what I could eat and what I wanted to eat and making sure all my numbers for carbs, fats and proteins added up to the proper levels was a real challenge…in the beginning. It’s so much easier now!

My numbers have changed from what they were a year ago, but for the most part I still follow the same plan. Since I am not actively seeking to lose weight right now, I am not always so strict with my numbers, but I find that I am quite comfortable with this plan that I follow. I do not feel deprived, and I so seldom have cravings that I can’t even recall the last time I did. I rarely feel as if I am starving. While my choices are not always perfect, I tend to make better ones more often than I did before. I can enjoy my cheat day without feeling guilt or shame or regret that I have eaten something with virtually no nutritional value but a boatload of fat and calories, because I know that I am in control of what I eat rather than being controlled by what I eat.

I know that not everyone has the discipline to stick with a program as consistently as I have over the past year. Don’t get me wrong-it isn’t always easy! It can be hard work. It does require effort and forethought and determination. It’s not always easy, but it does get easier the more you do it!

Ten Thoughts for Thursday

  1. I had a sandwich for lunch, because I haven’t had a sandwich for the past month and I kind of suddenly really wanted one. It was delicious, but I have to say that my gut has not been very happy since I ate it a few hours ago. I feel rather bloated, and there is a lot of churning going on inside. I just might need to keep my wheat intake to a minimum.
  2. I also did some baking for the first time in a month. It’s funny how my eating habits can dictate what the rest of the family gets to eat…or not eat! I suppose I’m just not keen on baking when I can’t enjoy the results. Wait a second! I did bake pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving a couple of weeks ago, and I made a flour & sugar-free pumpkin mousse for myself.
  3. So what did I bake? Healthy cinnamon bun muffins. I ate one. It was reasonably delicious, but I know that one child will not eat it. The picture that was posted with the recipe does not match the actual finished product, and I am bothered by that fact. If the muffin looked like the recipe’s photo, then I think my picky child would quite possibly try it. But it doesn’t, so he won’t. I wonder why they used the photo they did, because there is absolutely no way that their muffin recipe could ever turn out like the photo! The muffins in their photo look like actual cinnamon buns with dough rolled into shape, but muffin batter that you are instructed to ‘fill the muffin liners 3/4 full’ will never look like rolled dough. Oh my, does that little incongruity greatly annoy me!
  4. Yesterday I asked my chiropractor how long I must refrain from running. There is no definitive answer, except to say that he wants to wait until we get the hip/shoulder issue resolved first. I understand that. I can even agree with that logic, but I really miss going for a run. And this is prime running weather! I’m going to miss running through crunchy leaves. That sucks.
  5. It seems that my hip issue is related to my shoulder issue, which means I’ve come full circle. Goes to show how connected the different parts of the body are and how easily a problem in one area can affect other areas.
  6. Yesterday was the second week that I have done my floor presses focusing on the new, to me, technique of attempting to break the bar. I have a tendency to bend my wrists when pressing, so Michael has instructed me to squeeze the bar hard and attempt to break it in half as I am pressing. This seems to keep my wrists in a stronger position which will benefit me greatly. Right now I do need to concentrate on keeping my wrists in the correct position, so I find that I am struggling more to keep the bar moving in the correct path. I’m not pressing as much as I know I can right now, but I can definitely feel how having my wrists in the proper position is making the act of pressing easier. Does that make sense? It is clear in my head, but I’m not sure it is translating properly.
  7. I seem to have a mental block when it comes to doing curls or pressing with dumbbells. Yesterday I had to do inclined presses using 20 pound dumbbells. As Michael pointed out (and he is right!), I tend to feel intimidated by those dumbbells, even though I’m pressing less weight than I just pressed from the floor using a barbell! For my floor presses I did a set at 65 pounds, a couple of sets at 85 pounds, and a set at 70 pounds. Why should I ever feel that pressing 20 pounds per arm is too difficult?
  8. My local weather is amazing. Three hours ago, the sun poked through the grey skies to shine in my living room window. It was pouring rain about an hour ago, and now I can see blue sky, fluffy white clouds, and sunshine through the window again! I love it.
  9. My chiropractor, in working on my shoulder again yesterday, said that my shoulders are more stable than they were when I first came to him in May…and they are more muscular! Oh yeah!
  10. Being a parent of young adults is rather fun. As I was home alone this morning, I heard my youngest son’s car as he arrived home from class. For some unexplainable reason, I went to his bedroom and positioned myself inside his open closet which is right next to his bedroom door, and I waited. He came in the house and went straight to his room, came in and put down his backpack, took off his jacket and turned to walk back out. Then he saw me, jumped and let out a bit of a shriek! Ha ha ha! Oh, how I laughed!

30 Days Success

Today is the final day of the 30-Day No Flours/No Sugar challenge! I made it through all thirty days successfully and with sanity intact. There were a couple of questionable days near the beginning, but I also had a lot going on emotionally with my hip and the state of limbo I was in leading up to the marathon. However, I soon settled into the new routine of staying away from sugars and flours.

In fact, it was easier than I had expected it to be, but that might be because I have been working to clean up my eating habits for a while. Cleaner eating habits or not, I still was used to eating things containing some form of flour and/or sugar, even if they were “healthier” forms. I do not think that there was ever a point where I absolutely craved something. There were moments (and a moment is really what they were!) when I felt a twinge of sadness that I could not have a piece of dark chocolate or a bit of ketchup with a French fry or a spoonful of gelato. Those moments were blips that flashed into existence and vanished just as quickly.

The past thirty days have been rather good. I feel good, too. I didn’t lose any weight, but I wasn’t looking to lose anyway. I have been asked a few times about what I am going to eat tomorrow. Truth be told, I really don’t know! I have not put any thought into it yet, even though I have been counting down these final days. I suppose that means that this challenge hasn’t been onerous at all. Still, I am looking forward to enjoying a few things once again…in moderation.