Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Earth Day April 2014 and an Instagram Tag #walkingforweightmaintenance

Earth Day April 2014

I celebrate Earth Day each day that I walk for weight maintenance. I aim for 60 minutes of walking most days. It's my way of being very Primal.

Walking outside helps me connect to the earth, other people, de-stress, practice my photography hobby, and helps me keep my weight in the maintenance zone. One action, many hours of awesomeness. Sometimes, I'll take a trash bag and pick up trash as I go. Pay it forward.

The great thing about walking, I could still walk when I was 70 pounds over weight.

I started a new Instagram hashtag #walkingforweightmaintenance

If you walk for weight loss or weight maintenance, tag up some photos

If you are not following me on Instagram - here's a link  gardengirl_kp

BE SMART: Don't use the location tag if that would put you or your family in any sort of danger. I don't do the same walk twice or on a regular schedule. Most of my photos are from the last 2 weeks up to the last 2 years.

Anyhoo- I'm off to do some projects and take some more walks.  Happy Earth Day!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Part 3 - Non-food emotional eating triggers- avoiding decisions, problems,and dreaded discussions

Part 3 of a 7 part series: Non-food emotional eating triggers- Avoidance: decisions, problems,and dreaded discussions

The first part of the series links are below.
Part 2: Identifying non-food emotional eating- Stress

 If it's not painful enough, the third most common trigger for me is Avoidance.
1. Decisions
2. Problems
3. Dreaded discussions

Holy Smokes! I get a little stressed out just thinking about this one. Psssst: I even avoided writing this post a few times. 

Anyhoo, it seemed like it was easier to just load up snacks in the evening, stop at a store with candy during the day. Numb out with food, then I didn't have to think. 

Funny thing (okay, not so funny) was that the problem was still there. Doing nothing was a decision that caused more problems. Not only was the problem still there, my clothes didn't fit, I felt horrible, and I had headaches a lot! Not one single time was eating food a solution. But, I continued day- after day. 

Frequency: When ever problems arise AND I'm stuck in the avoidance cycle. This all depends on my mood, sleep, motivation level, and amount of courage I have saved up for the day.

What happens: "problem detection". I'll find myself delaying, thinking about when my next meal is, what my next meal is, or wanting to do something repetitive that I know I can do well. Rather than facing the problem.

Where: Home, work, you name it. There's always an opportunity to avoid problems and decisions.

What happens next: When I call myself on avoiding a problems I usually say to myself "Face it" or simply FACE!  That often will break the cycle of not stepping in and doing something. 

1. Address the problem: send an email, arrange for a day off work, book appointments, make a list of tasks and phone numbers, get into gym clothes, etc. Sometimes it's to just put aside some time and feel the pain, and make a decision. Or to drop out half of the "perfect list" to create a "good enough" list.  Put myself into motion. Notice that all are action items and have nothing to do with food.

Prevention:  The blue font. This stuff doesn't happen overnight. Start where you are and work on it.
0. Recognize my behavior.  (2-3 years)
1. Remember the good outcomes of actions (big and small) from the past. (1-2 years)
2. Remind myself that compared to my whole life, this small think is but a little tiny thing. (1 month)
3. Routine, writing down tasks or to-do lists and checking them off. (6 months)
4. Reward- music, coffee, photography time. No food involved ( I drink my coffee black and don't snack at the coffee shop anymore. (3 months)

Once the numbness of the food left. The problem was still there. The best benefit from "facing it" is the freedom of mind and time once I learned not to avoid with food.

What didn't work in the past:

1. Not taking action once I recognized my behavior.
2.  Not thinking ahead to see the good outcomes
3. Thinking that one or two small things or even one big thing would be a game stopper.
4. Not rewarding myself for the good work I was doing. Not giving myself enough credit.

That's my story. Do you ever avoid difficult things and numb out with food? How do you FACE things you are avoiding?

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Third food sober Easter- April 2014

Spring Flowers
Read about my second food sober Easter here

April 2014- My 3rd food sober Easter.  Yep! Love it. I abstain from Easter Candy.

March 2010
1. Because I used to over eat a lot on Easter Candy. A lot.
2. Because sugar was a trigger
3. Because jelly beans were a binge food
4. Because it was okay to eat a lot of candy at Easter

Sugar was the root cause at Easter. 

I never met a peep I didn't eat  like. I was secretly thrilled when Peeps came out at more than just Easter time, prior to 2011.

March 2010
Not my fault that sugar triggers. But it is my responsibility to choose a clear mind. I choose healthier body

1. I choose foods that don't trigger
2. Because I like the new normal.
3. Because the new normal is sweeter than any peep, or jelly bean.
4. Because I deserve it. I deserve to live the next 40 years my way. 

If you abstain from Easter candy, please know, you are not alone. Happy Easter!

Coffee will be free flowing! :)
April 2014
Photo credit ( Jr. Family Member). Thanks for understanding. And, how cool that the Easter Bunny brings dark chocolate, strawberries, iTunes? It's all good.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Update- April 18th, 2014- staying on track, and the world of fitbit!

I'm still here. Staying on track. No worries. Still daily weighing. 117.8.  I tracked my food on My Fitness Pal for a while this week. I've got enough data now. Glad that I can track one number (my weight) rather than all the food. I find that keeping my carbs 50-75 or so (more if I'm more active)

One reason I've been off the grid a lot: SLEEP!

Monday, I was gifted with a Fitbit Flex. I love it a lot for many things. My sleep habits clearly need a little work. My goal is get close to 7 hours a night.

Add in making 3 meals a day, working, commuting, walking 1 hour +, strength training 2x per week, time to connect with my teenager = full life   Prioritizing is key to weight maintenance

Whew! I like that I'm prioritizing sleep. The outcome is less time  blogging, commenting on other blogs, Instagram (my new addiction!), tweeting, and a little bit of Facebook.

Okay: Coming up on future blog posts:
1. Part 3 of non-food emotional triggers: Avoidance!
2. More take away lessons from PaloFx 2014- addictions!
3. Anything you'd like me to blog about (within reason!)

Onward!  Keep going. Problem solve, correction, prevention. It's all good. Lots of work. Great returns on time investment.

What's working
1. Paleo-ish food template, 50-75 grams of carbs, from non-starchy veggies and berries
2. Sleeping more
3. Keeping up exercise routines

What didn't work in the past
1. Counting calories, Counting points in combination with eating processed, trigger foods, high carb!
2. Sleeping way, way too little
3. Sitting on the couch, at my desk, and not going to the gym for strength.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Livestreaming PaleoFX 2014 April 11, 2014- Loving it!

I'm totally geeking out this Saturday morning and watching the live streaming of PaleoFX 2014 
I'm also actively tweeting a lot about key take aways.

Since I use a Paleo-ish food template and a Primal Blueprint lifestyle to maintain my 70 pound weight loss, continuing education is a must. If I want to be a long term weight maintainer, keeping my head in the game is a critical step. It started with food for me, but extends into sleep, stress management, and dealing with emotional eating.

I started the morning listening to Sarah Fragoso speak about how to "Undo the Paleo Diet" and escape the diet dogma. 

What I loved: 
1. Diets don't work- ask yourself how you feel
2. What is your paleo?- ask yourself how you feel
3. Model good behavior for you, your kids will follow you.
4. Sarah still struggles with when to turn off and "slow the heck down".
Karen's notes: Yep! I can totally relate to Sarah. Customizing your food template and putting yourself first as a parent/person are both critical steps to my well-being.

 I caught the tail end of the Ask the Paleo Masterminds Talk.  Wow! Such a great line up of experts. Dr. Terry Wahls  
Kirk Parsley,  M.D. 
Chris Kresser  
 Dallas Hartwig 
  Nora Gedgaudas
I also sat down and had an egg wrap with asparagus, kale, and avocado and a cup of coffee.

 What I loved:
1. Question about cravings being related to the foods you are sensitive.Nora explained about stress response due to the food sensitivity releasing endorphins and thus the craving. "Is there a food you couldn't live without?" Might be a place to start. No absolutes here.   Karen's note: I nearly passed out on the floor when I realized that my so called pizza craving was really a wheat sensitivity. I blogged about that day here.

2.  Dr. Wahls: The food we are eating is less nutrient dense than that of our parents, grandparents, great grandparents.    Karen's note: eating real foods is key to stopping emotional eating triggers for me. My long term health is much, much better.

3. Cris Kresser: Your body becomes habituated to inflammatory foods, your body is always "on gaurd".  Karen's notes: I can tell you I was in a huge amount of physical and emotional pain when I had a hs-CRP of 6.8  Now using a Paleo Food template, my hs-CRP is 0.4   Big difference in my health, not getting sick, feeling energetic and no joint pain. Amazing.

Finally,  the US Healthcare Crisis or Chaos Talk

What I loved:
1. The different perspectives and personal experiences of the panel- Doctors, consumers, experts in reducing health costs.

Robb Wolf 
Dr. Grayson Wheatley 
Julie and Charles Mayfield 
Dr. Richard Maurer 
Darryl Edwards

2. It made me think about how much my own health care costs and validates some of the decisions to opt out of a screening test that my insurance won't cover. I believe that I'm being over screened. I told my doctor that either the Radiologist could go on vacation or I could go on vacation. I was going to pick me this time!  It feels good to use my instincts on this one.  I'll have some future blog posts about this.

3. Ummm.. not sure if I should say this or not, but these guys were easy on the eyes. Should that matter? nooooo. But, it was a bonus! Just saying...  ;)

That's it! I'm off to do some work before the next sessions start up. I would say I've already gotten my $$ worth out of the livestreaming. The continuing education is wonderful. The topics presented will stay for along time in my brain and that keeps me on my path and motivated. Onward!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Identifying non-food emotional eating triggers in weight maintenance part 2 Stress

Part 2 Identifying non-food emotional eating triggers in weight maintenance- Stress

 See previous parts to this series here:
Variable-  sometimes stress is often, sometimes long periods without it
Predictable: doing taxes is stressful for me, holiday, job stress
Unpredictable: Illnesses, accidents, minor or major life events

What happens and "problem" detection:
A stress even arrives. I've got to to deal with it with non foods. There's no way to avoid stress. Stress is part of life and here to stay! Taxes, illnesses- mine or someone close to me. Life happens. I can only shape my responses. I can't stop death and taxes.  I can teach myself not eat over detected stress events.  I might also add that these are not problems- per se, but normal life events.

Where: Stress is on the job, at home, on the commute, a given while alive. Stress can be everywhere. As a single parent and only adult head of household, I'm the only adult making adult decisions. Stress can also be at 3am when a faulty smoke alarm at the top of a flight of stairs is going off and I'm the only one who can deal with it.
The stairs at Universal Studios- Hollywood

What happens next:  I usually label it, then use a coping technique to deal. 
I can label it:  Ah! March... I'll be doing taxes. It will be stressful. 
I can label it: Work stress- yes, this part of the job is stressful. I'll need to deal with it.
I can label it: Oh, that was unexpected (accident, hospice, illness).. how sad. I feel sad. It's stressful to grieve myself and watch my friends/family grieve.
I can label it: Well, ALL of my smoke alarms go off unexpectedly, time to replace the whole system so I don't have to teeter on the edge of the stairs at 3am with a frightened child wanting to run outside and call 911 (as taught in class in elementary)
Root cause: ask yourself why 5 times (takes about 30 seconds), to identify root causes of stress. I can often only ask once to uncover the root!

Correction: (this took me half a life time- 40 years, but it doesn't have to take that long. A good counselor can help you learn how to deal with stress in 6-12 months, if you didn't learn it earlier. It's never too late!)  Identify stress so I can prevent feeding it with food.
Once I identify that I'm stressed out, then I can choose different ways to cope and or problem solve.  Not a single stress reliever has to do with FOOD. That's important. Food fixes hunger. Not stress. Comfort foods used to be a really ineffective way I dealt numbed out or avoided stress.  Whip up a batch of cookies, bread, family favorite fill in the blank__________.  Yeah, my binge brain loves that. Suuuuurrrrre! 
Insert screeching break sound here.  Insert me calling myself on my own BS here. Ahhhh! That's better. Getting real with effective coping techniques is and was key in long term weight maintenance. My health is better, my pants fit better when I get real and stay real. When I promised myself I would stop 40 years of yo-yo dieting, stress management was at the top of the list.
To stop emotional eating binging and to choose my best life.  I had to find non-food ways to sooth and deal with stress.

Prevention:   Well, I can't stop death or taxes, but I can manage other stresses. 
Effective management  techniques ( Learning this technique 1-2 years with a good friend, counselor, or support group)

Prevention #1 (30 minutes- 1 hour to walk) Time for myself: I can choose to go walking while sitting with someone who is in a hospice situation. Me sitting bedside with a sick family member is okay, but not taking time to take care of me is not okay. As sad as it was, I was outside walking at the very moment a family member died. It was actually the best and kindest thing that I could do for myself and that person and my family. I told that person "I don't want to leave, but I need to go walking for myself. I feel much better that way. I'll be back soon." That's the last thing I ever told my loved one. I feel good that I took care of myself. It was his time to die.

Great example of putting myself first. That person who died would want that for me. I remember his smile each time I visited "Hey, you are still skinny and have not regained the weight" . After 40 years of yo-yoing with my weight and struggling, he knew that I had addressed key issues. It was a nice closure for me.

More than pleasing other people, most importantly, I wanted it for myself. In fact, the hospice worker told me that my family member may have been waiting for me to physically leave the room to die. Interesting! She might be right. I may never know. I but it did feel right at the time.

Prevention #2:  ( 5 minutes to contact someone) Calling a support person who will call me on my emotional/binge behavior. Calling someone who is going to pat me on the back and suggest I eat my way  or comfort myself with food is not effective. I've found that calling someone who gets emotional eating and is not afraid to call me on my own BS thinking is very, very effective for weight maintenance. 
That person is not to do the work, but there to spell break any magic emotional thinking. Personal support people don't do the work, but enable me to save myself from my own slippery slope.
Prevention #3  ( a few weeks to hire someone, less time to buy turbo tax!) Planning in advance to do taxes or to hire someone if needed. Good electronic scanning, filing, printing, paper labeling help, also.

Preventions 4- (infinity, never ending)- Correct labeling of stress and things like taking a walk, reading, calling a friend, sleeping, reading a book at 3 am if I'm wide awake.

The take away: Pick a root cause, ask for help and work on effective coping skills.  Stress is part of life.  It’s not going to happen overnight. Gather a team, village, or singe support that works best.
The leave behind:Blame, shame, and ineffective processes. It’s okay not to be perfect! It's not okay to continue with ineffective processes if it's keeping you from being who/what you want to be.  Change it up as best you can. The world doesn't revolve around me. Me being there controlling every last detail will likely change NOTHING. Life goes on, so I'd better take care of  myself.

It's the best thing I can do to stay steady in weight maintenance, stress management. The best thing I can pass on to my daughter. I'm proud not to model stress eating and to pass better problem solving on to her.  I get the benefits day in and day out of lower cortisol/stress cycles and she gets a more effective example.  Notice : The blue font. This stuff doesn't happen overnight. Start where you are and work on it.
Having good stress management tools are key. 

 What works now:
1. All of the above

What didn't work in the past

1. Not putting myself first for eating or exercise, eating, sleeping, help.  Putting others first trained others to treat me second class, also. Terrible cycle. That family/friend/co-worker dynamic added to my stress. Reversible with the right help.

2. Not calling someone who would support me or emotional eating. A person in recovery to call me on my own BS!

3- 4 Not problem solving and selecting the right tool. Cookies and candy didn't fix my leaky toilet, but calling a plumber did.  So did replacing my smoke detectors. Eating doesn't fix anything but nutrition and hunger.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Eating Out, No Grains- No Gains April 2014 Blog Topic

Our Mission Statement : A group a of Primal/Paleo/Grain free women who blog about their experiences/life/benefits without grains. It’s a great way for others (who may be wanting to lose weight, reverse an acute/chronic health trend, and/or transition from commercial weight loss programs) to read about real life women who are living the life and succeeding!

April 2014 Topic- Eating Out
 Eating out and being grain free, dairy free, and nut free was challenging at first. Once I had a little practice, It became:
Pure Burger on my Birthday!

1. Easier
2. Better tasting
3. A true flavor/food treat
4. Part of my food template
5. A nice way to take a break from cooking at home.
6. A great way to try local food
7. In some cases less expensive
8. In other cases more expensive.

I've got some of my favorite eating out strategies listed below. I'm super gluten sensitive, so if I find something that works, I stick to it. I avoid the pain of un-intentional gluten exposure.

Important note: I do state that I'm strict gluten free (sensitive). I ignore the eye rolling. If I see it, and I can leave and go someplace else, I do.  I'm in too much physical pain from wheat to accept any shenanigans from wait staff or establishment with attitudes.  My money is limited, so  I want it to go to places with top notch customer service. I'll contact any restaurant that gives me beef (no pun intended!) and let them know it's a medical need that customer service was poor. Yelp is good for weeding out the poor service.

I find eating out is pretty simple, most of the time: Protein, Fat, Carbohydrates from non-starchy veggies/fruit.  Once I got over finding hidden sources of gluten, it became much easier to navigate.

 Faster Food dinner
  1. Chipotle Grill- lettuce, chicken, salsa, guacamole. Sometimes grilled veggies
  2. Pure Burger/ Elevation Burger/ Burger Lounge- protein style with a lettuce wrap
  3. Breakfast for dinner- be sure to state "no pancake batter in the omelet /strict gluten free"
  4. No food. Really, eating 3 meals a day means going 5-6 hours without eating.  Sometimes I'll eat before I go, if the options are not great. 
  5. Gourmet food trucks, make it grain free. I love   Not So Fast Food Truck in the San Diego Area.
  6. Grocery store and buy a bagged salad, cooked protein. Use olive oil/balsamic for dressing.

Pure Burger
Coffee, no food

Not So Fast- San Diego Paleo Food truck- so tasty!

 Nicer Restaurants, less often, more expensive, I try to choose local
1. Seafood & grilled veggies
2  Steak and salad
3. Beef fajitas with grilled veggies
When in Alaska, I ate seafood.
4. Salmon- grilled with veggies
6. Lamb- grilled with veggies

Snow crab in Alaska

Pre-flight salad
Salad on a hot day

1. Bring a salad bowl from home, plastic. Eat the salad before the flight, rinse. Use the bowl later in the trip to store left overs.
2. Bring an avocado, beef jerky, nuts if you can eat them, maybe some fruit.
3. A few airports have great food. I don't plan on it, though. I can order a burger or salmon at some airports and get by until I land.

Hotels with kitchens
1. Stop by a grocery or local farmers markets and eat much cheaper for the whole family.
2. Ask for or choose hard boiled eggs, guacamole or fruit to take with you as you travel.
3. Bigger cities will have Trader Joe's or Whole foods or specialty groceries.
4. I travel with salt, olive oil and balsamic. I can do a lot with those items.

Cooking breakfast in Seattle
Turkey breakfast bowl, Phoenix AZ
Guacamole, hard boiled egg and peach on a cruise
Egg bowl from home, at Starbucks

Special situations:

1. Food from the buffet on cruises for snacking after shore excursions. (on template food!)

2. Breakfast in a bowl for post blood draw after an overnight fast, at Starbucks, STAT!

What works now:
1. All of the above
2. I can still travel and enjoy

What did not work in the past:
1. Eating food at chain restaurants from the dollar menu. 
2. Eating "low fat" food at expensive restaurants. Cost a lot, not that filling
3. Eating gluten, not checking the preparation
4. Eating lots of airport food, scones/biscoti/low fat dairy (unpleasant GI stuff)
5. Eating off that "free breakfast" buffet when we could have had fresh, local gourmet food at a near by farmer's market that was on my food template.
6. Not eating a lot of protein or avocado while traveling, because it was high in WW points. 

 Now head over to the blogs of Gwen, Lynda, Leigh, and Jeanette and see how they eat out, grain free.