Thursday, January 31, 2013

I finished my first Whole30! Whoot!

Well, this is it. I finished my Whole30. I'm pretty proud of myself.

Here's what worked for me:
  • Eliminating dairy helped my sinuses
  • My clear sinuses helped me sleep better
  • I feel calmer and more focused and less stressed
  • I find myself "in the zone" for problem solving and creating more often
  • I weigh about 2 more pounds, yet my clothes fit better (cool!)
  • I maintained a 70+ pound weight loss for the 12th  month in a row!!!!
  • My skin broke out less often.
  • My upper body strength is better.
  • I stayed well (no colds and flu)- Everybody knock on wood, right now!!! "knock, knock, knock"
  • My intuition told me to take a long walk on the beach and I got this cool photo of the Goodyear Blimp at sunset.  And this photo of black sand/sediment around the rocks on the beach.

Here are (the very minor) negative things-
  • I tried ghee (clarified butter, allowed on Whole30)- I felt sick. :( 
  • I tried to make beef bone broth. I poured it down the drain.
  • I created the double paleo-fail-ieo- both the ghee and the the bone broth on the same day. 
  • I have more loose skin now than ever. Not a fail, but funny/funky none the less!
  • It was easier to over eat on nuts. I have a fix for that (my nutty post)
What is next: The fork in the road

Bring in certain foods, see how I feel. Continue on my path. Grow, lift things, take a lot of walks on the beach and crush it at the gym. Oh, and photograph the heck out of other people's gardens.(OPG). It's all about OPG and consistency this year.

Updated photos soon for my one year weight maintenance party, Feb 3, 2013.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Whole30 check in- day 27 and plans for the future

Okay- The Whole30. Day 27. Here's the scoop- Karen style

What is working:
  • Eating clean paleo is going well. Very little that I "miss"
  • No sinus headaches. Excited to bring back food slowly to see if I can minimize the few sinus headaches more.
  • More calm during stressful work event that lasted a week. Cool! 
  • Clearer skin overall.
  • Clearer sinuses. Yes!!! 
  • This means deeper sleep. Probably keeps me more calm at work. 
  • I cleaned out my 1000 year old lids with no containers  food container cabinet!
I can see how all of the good points work together to make a better over all health picture.

Here's the more difficult part of the Whole30. Not hard, but more work;

  • A little bit more cooking and food prep- think cooking chicken rather than rotisserie.
  • Seems like a lot more dishes. A LOT more. 
  • I had to face the fact that I found containers from pre-1994 in my cabinet. What the heck!!??
  • I had to say no a couple of times to eating out and bacon while eating out on vacation.
  • I got less done on some days because I go to bed earlier. 
  • Grass-fed meat costs a little bit more (but it's worth it, when I can).
 I'm planning for Feb 2013. I plan to bring foods in one-by-one about 72 hours a part to see how I feel with them. I know what a golden opportunity  it is to do an elimination diet and to be able to road test foods. That could be an eye opener. Or not.
That is the scoop. All this rain in So. Cal is making things a little greener. We need the rain, but I do have to adjust the walking times. I make it work. And, the flowers are pretty, too. Easy compared to the cold in the rest of the US. I'm fortunate!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Nuts, Squirrels, and moderation strategies during weight maintenance

* if talk about nuts is a trigger for you, skip this post.

Nuts!  Both in weight loss and weight maintenance I had to navigate and decide what part nuts played in my diet. Do they help me? Do they keep my bio-markers and inflammation low? Does choosing them trigger me? Will I over eat them?

The answer is YES- they help and hurt at the same time. Oh NUTS! It took a lot of work to figure this one out. It's well worth it.

Here's how I navigated the one of my only foods I can eat in moderation* (see below for disclaimer). I gave up almost all moderation strategies for weight maintenance except this one.

What's out completely: peanuts. They are legumes, trigger foods, and have no place in my life. Dismissed, eliminated, and kicked to the curb. I do not miss them one bit. This leaves almonds, macadamia nuts, cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans.

How I to got to this point: 

Weight loss mode:
 During my last weight loss attempt, peanut butter was on the Medifast plan. I realized I was on a slippery slope when I "Just HAD to have" a tablespoon every night. If I just "Have to HAVE any food" that = trigger food. Really. I know myself that way.

I ditched peanut butter right then and there. Never looked back. I did experiment with PB2, a low fat peaunt butter substitute.   Once I read the Refuse to Regain book (Barbara Berkeley) and The Paleo Soultion (Robb Wolf) and realized peanuts were legumes and not recommended from an inflammatory standpoint or for weight maintenance, I ditched the PB2 also. 

Weight Maintenance Mode: I tried almond butter, almond butter with flaxseeds. It was most yummy. And I just "had to have it".  So I stopped. I feel better without trigger foods- Paleo or not. I want clarity, recovery, and peace more than anything. 

 *Disclaimer- I will kick nuts to the curb- all of them if I start to be triggered. I will take responsibility. 100%

Choosing not to have nut butters is a huge relief and puts me solidly into my new normal.  Contrary to popular strategies one might choose during weight maintenance,  restricting myself does not lead me to binging, it leads me away from it and keeps me happy, healthy and pain (emotional and physical) free. I accept this and I own this. Fully. I know myself this way.

What does work:  I stet up "NUT RULES". Macadamia nuts in general have those great medium chain fatty acids and are a portable and sustainable snack. The other nuts also have a lot of omega-6 so, that's important for me to balance out with Omega-3's.

  • Unsalted nuts only!
  • Weigh them out into portions or half portions
  • One portion a day!
  • If I overeat them, I stop nuts cold turkey for a week or two.
  • I like macadamia nuts but I do not "Have to have them".
  • Only eat pecans, walnuts, cashews in very tiny amounts as part of recipes. Think Dukkah seasoning, pecan crusted chicken.
  • Other than macadamias and almonds- all other nuts out of bags = trigger.
  • If I am in a business situation and I cannot eat at a regular meal time, I have either almonds or macadamia nuts. This has probably saved me personally and professionally many times. I can go 2-3 hours on a half serving of macadamias or a pre-packaged serving of almonds from Trader Joe's. I feel like I put on a superwoman cape and I can jump any hurdle or do any task. A powerful tool and the reason why I developed the NUT RULES.
 What did not work in the past:

  • Moderation of peanuts or  any salted nuts
  • Absence of "NUT Rules"
  • Thinking I just "Had to have" any type of nut or nut butter.
  • Nut butters- hello triggers.
Okay, that post was long. If you are still reading, do you have any restrictions around nuts that you placed during weight loss or maintenance or as part of a non-triggering plan? Discuss!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Podcast Favorites- Dean Dwyer- MSH show- tools for weight maintenance

I use podcasts to motivate myself as I was the huge stacks of dishes that come with home cooking or preparing about 95% of all the food that I eat. Keeping motivated to keep cooking is key. I've accepted the time commitment as part of weight maintenance. 

On my "must listen" on my podcast lists  are from Dean Dwyer ( blog is here)

The two podcasts are (as of this writing)- Make Shift Happen and The Life Style Hacking Show

I  liked the Crushing 2013 podcasts ( personal growth vs goals) and the MSH show #21 ( becoming an expert on yourself).

I know I'm learning a lot and getting great ideas when I stop, dry my hands, and jot down notes on an index file that I keep at my desk. 

 The topics that Dean talks about -  "Become an expert on yourself....  Audit the brutally honest" are all topics I have to face to make the first year of weight maintenance work for me. After 40 years of yo-yo dieting, I was ready to hop off the regain train for good.

Here's an example

What worked for me

  • Figuring out what worked for me the first year ( The expert on yourself part)
  • Looking back (Auditing the results) at my weight charts on the 1, 2, 3 month views
  • Being very, very honest with myself  (honesty- giving in and recognizing the slippery slope voice)
What did not work in my past attempts at weight maintenance

  • Not customizing another food plan to my own plan for weight maintenance
  • Not keeping careful data on my weight and looking at the trending over time
  • Listening to the slippery slope voice ( you've earned this Skinny cow ice cream)
So- I you are looking for some new podcast, try out Dean's episodes.
Hey! The dishes are clean and I've refreshed my learning, mindset and motivation.   :)

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Updating my blog roll soon- we are stronger together

Hello All!  I will be updating my blog roll soon.  We are stronger together. Let me know if you'd like your blog to be added (or deleted). 

Reading about other weight maintainers has been very helpful this year. Asking questions, trying things out, great topics. 

It's been very helpful to me to see  the different types of maintainers out there (see my post about it here).

It's a good thing that there is a large enough base of blogger maintainers. It was easier for me to look at a wide variety of practices so I could build my own best practice.

We are stronger together. There's a lot of overlap between the different groups of maintainers. Thanks for a great year everyone!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Article about different types of weight maintainers from Dr. Sharma

I really enjoyed the article about different styles of weight maintainers from Dr. Sharma.  "Why Are Some People Successful at maintaining weight loss.

Link to the article

Read both the main  article and the linked article about each style or cluster of people

I can identify with both the struggler and the poor eater example (Janis and Gertrude). However, I am not struggling so much (relative to my failed attempts at maintenance) and I'm not a poor eater.

Who I am:   ME! And I take a lot of photos!

Red hot poker- Crystal Cove State Park, Orange County, CA

I am a hybrid.   I'm a weight maintainer, structured Paleo styled eater who weighs every day and still tracks my food most days. I walk 8-11 thousand steps a day, with some sprinting and weight training. I'm one meal away from eating off the rails at ALL times.

How I identify myself:
I don't entirely fit into the Paleo mold, but I do identify the most with that eating template.
I don't entirely fit into the Primal mold, but I do identify with the play, sleep, and carb aspects. 
I don't entirely fit into the Weight Watchers mold either, but I do identify with the support aspect.
I don't entirely fit into the Take Shape for Life (Medifast) maintainers, but it did work well for loss & support.

I absolutely disconnected from my obese identity, but I do have old wiring and habits that still surface. I still remember what it was like to be overweight as a kid in the 70's & 80's. And yo-yo weights as an adult in the 90's and 2000's.

I'm embracing the second year of weight maintenance for what it is for me- a lot of work cooking and exercising, tracking, and enjoying fresh, real food. A lot of time outdoors. A lot of emotional work too, with some personal growth. It's not too much. If I'm consistent with what works and I respect and am willing to work at it. And, willing to change up my routine if my life changes. And it did a lot in the first year.

I'm very excited to sign up on the NWCR- National Weight Control Registry so I can add my data to the data of those who are long time maintainers. Very exciting. It's taken 40 years to reach this point. Sweet! (in a non-food sort of way. )  ;)

Feb 3, 2013 is the 1 year mark. I'm going to crush 2013.   Did you read the articles at Dr. Sharma's? Learn anything from them?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Favorite Podcast week- The Fat Burning Man by Abel James

I use podcasts as on-going weight maintenance tools for learning and expanding this phase of life.
I'll be doing shout outs to highlight my favorite podcasts and why  I like them.

The Fat Burning Man by Abel James . Subscribe here
The Fat Burning Man website is here.  Website

Why I like it-  Top reason:  I listen and think, that's cool

  (like the a cool vintage Corvette parked just off the Pacific Coast Highway)

  1. Great interviews- I learn from the topics- health related, fits my maintenance world, great speakers, too.
  2. Timely topics
  3. Abel James awesome voice. Dreamy. I would pay to have his voice replace Siri. ;)
  4. Frequent podcasts
  5. Free learning
  6.  I listen while I clean my house. Motivation to do something I hate turns into a cool time to listen, learn, and go on with my day.
If you listened to Abel James and the Fat Burning Man, did you like it? Do you see what I mean about his voice? 

Next podcast shout out-  Dean Dwyer- Make Shift Happen and the Life Style Hacking Show. No fighting guys, somebody's podcast had to come first. ;)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

More tide pools and why photography is part of weight maintnence

Baby Octopus
 I use my photo hobby as motivation to get outside and exercise every day. I don't take photos every day, but I take my camera.

I discovered Project Noah and I post some of my animal and plant spottings at that site. Great data base and tool to use to see what is around you at home and at travel.

I'm glad to see scientists and schools using the site as a research and learning tool.

I promised myself I would keep the weight off.  So, Project Noah combines my hobby and connects me with the rest of the community and world. 

I can get out and "play" every day. I've got the strength and balance needed to hike long and far, or stroll close to home.  It's the mind, body, earth connection.   Good stuff!   

And always good to have a natural motivator for weight maintenance. When it becomes more than about just weight, it becomes part of living life. Awesomeness.   

Be sure to check out

You can see more of my photos at
Pacific Seastar
Seastar hanging onto rocks

Starburst Anenome

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Whole30, day 12 - Eating out & Tide pools

One of the lowest tide of the year in So. California. Awesomeness. To explore the tide pools with the family.   I was grateful that I have good health to climb the stairs and good balance to stay upright.   Fun to chat, people watch, and warm up cold, cold feet.

I had a snack of half a serving of macadamia nuts without salt. Day 12 of my Whole30.  Macadamias keep me full for about 2-3 hours. Good snack until I can make dinner.

 I've adjusted to eating out and taking Whole30 compliant snacks with me on the go. I quickly put together the cooked chicken thighs, baby spring mix salad, cucumbers, tomatoes and avocados. I put balsamic vinegar and olive oil in a small container.  I had no problem telling the waitress I was "on a special diet", ordering a cup of coffee and eating my meal in the restaurant with my non-paleo family member. Didn't phase me a bit.  I've arrived!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Things I've gained by doing the Whole30

 I will start day eleven of my Whole30 (one month of very focused Paleo eating) on Jan 11, 2013.

My last post listed the foods that I had to give up for the Whole30.

This post will list the things I'm gaining for the Whole30. Not all food related. Which is part of the non-food benefits of the Whole30 in the first place.

1. First of all, I'm prioritizing time with friends (during vacation) and my photography hobby. I took this photo with my submersible camera in a tide pool. Awesomeness!

2. I can still drink really good coffee on the Whole30. I finally made it to the Portola Coffee Lab in Costa Mesa, CA. Fantastic cup of coffee. All served up by people wearing lab coats and brewing using lab looking instruments. Dream come true! Very much worth the trip if you are in Orange County, CA.  It is not far from John Wayne Airport and IKEA.

3. I'm experimenting with new spices. I found Dukkah at Trader Joe's. It's an almond type crunchy coating for fish, chicken, etc.

 Skip the bread.... really, your body will thank you!, as the label suggests and use it for meat. I've also been using coconut oil (chicken and Brussels sprouts) and avocado oil (on shrimp) just a little bit more.

4. I'm sleeping more soundly and winding down at night much easier. I get very tired, in a relaxing sort of "sleep now this minute" sleep. Less time on the internet or TV. That's okay with me.

5. I can breath easier (fewer allergies) at night, too. I still have some seasonal allergies going on, but they are not bad.

6. Headache free so far. I do get occasional headaches. None so far.

7. A little less stressed and more focused. We'll see how long it lasts!

That's it so far. I've adapted pretty well with my to-go snacks and I've adjusted what I need to pack in my lunch. As long as I batch cook ahead and plan ahead, it's very doable.

Any questions?   Anyone with plans to do a Whole30 this year?

Friday, January 4, 2013

Foods I gave up for my Whole30 Jan 2013

I eat pretty clean normally. I found that by eating a Paleo template and by adopting a Primal life style (as much as possible) I could maintain my weight loss easier.

Note, I did not say it was easy to maintain 70+ pounds and go through a major weight loss transformation.  I just find it easier by  eating low inflammatory foods, keeping a good structure and Primal life balance.

I work pretty hard every day to make sure I've got good food to eat & cook, get my walking and get my strength training in day-in-day out. Getting enough sleep and eeking in my family time and photography along the way is part of the equation. Some how, I work a full time job in there, too- with commute.  It is a true balancing act.

This article by the Whole9 group (read the dessert- habit article here ) and knowing that Nom-Nom Paleo was going to be "cruise director" - AKA- posting her recipes for Whole30 really help push me over the fence and got me to commit to 30 days of really clean Paleo.

I promised myself I would work as hard and as long as I needed to work in the first year of weight maintenance to :
  • get my best plan in place, functional, and tested across travel, emotional stuff, family stuff, parties, holidays and eating out.  
  •  The Whole30 is my final exam.

I've waited 40 years to get this all together. What's one more year/month?

Here's a list of items that I gave up this month for the Whole30. I did experience fatigue on New Years Eve, as I started transitioning to the Whole30 on 1-1-2013.

1.  Bacon. I do not buy pastured bacon, no nitrites or sugar added. Expensive! I don't do much bacon anyway. It's more of a vacation only item. I may source pastured bacon from local places later in the year.

2. Think Thin Bars. They do not trigger over eating and they are portable and high protein. But they have soy and whey. I think that the whey may be setting off sinus problems and possibly acne. Usually, I can have whey isolate, but I'm starting to wonder. I need to be off them for a while and I may or may not re-introduce.

3. Medifast products- once in a blue moon, I would have one- like a pancake or brownie. Didn't trigger, but soy based. My weight loss program was Medifast. I transitioned in Feb 2012.

4. 85% or darker Chocolate- I had two very small squares a night. Did not trigger and I loved it. But, I can also live without it. Very much a habit.

5. Rotisserie Chickens from Costco or any grocery. This was my "I'm too tired to cook" fall back item. Yeah, this one is coming back

5.5 Packaged, gluten free chicken sausage. Kind of loved this. Also coming back in Feb.

6. Restaurant foods- except for Fish, seafood, steaks, and/or Chipolte's carnitas or Elevation Burger ( 100% grass fed burgers cooked without canola or corn oil) . It's almost impossible to escape vegetable oils when dining out at lower cost restaurants. I bring my own sometimes. It's not fun to have an accidental gluten exposure. Occasional exposure to canola or corn oil, I can live with.

7. Sea Snacks - Seaweed from Trader Joe's. I smuggle these into the movie theater and I  have a package once a week. It's my popcorn, chip substitute. They are off limits because they contain a smidge of canola oil.

8. Alaskan Salmon Burgers - frozen from Trader Joes. They also have a small amount of canola oil. On the fence about these.

9. Almond milk beverage in the box- sugarless. There's all kinds of ingredients that are not Whole30 compliant. I was pretty much off of this in the last month or so.

10. Beef Jerky- I had for portable snacks, but there is added sugar. And loads of sodium. Probably wont' come back, but I'll probably source some Paleo friendly jerky in the future.  

That's the scoop. What have you given up for the Whole30?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

2013 check in - 11 months of maintenance

I've got my eye on 11 months of maintenance and a fresh approach to 2013.  Here's the scoop
Highest Weight: 187.5
Current weight: 116.2
Goal Weight 115.4
Height 5'1" ( have I mentioned I'm short?)
Age: mid-40's
11 months in weight maintenance

Goals for 2013:

1. Complete a Whole30 ( Super squeaky clean Paleo eating)
2. Grow Herbs in the garden for cooking.
3. Lift a 5 gallon water bottle into place from the floor to water cooler, without struggling.
4. Complete a professional goal at work.
5. Sign up for the National Weight Loss registry in Feb 2013.
6. Maintain my weight in 2013.

That's it for now.  If I had picked a word last year it would be : Structure.

If I pick a word this year, it will be Consistent.

Happy New Year 2013. I started 2013 out by sleeping soundly and starting a Whole30 on Jan 1. I'm learning a lot already.  More on the Whole30 soon.