Saturday, March 16, 2013

Strength TRUMPS Stress!

Another long and crazy week comes to a close and wow, what a week this has been.  I always say that right?   I hope I don't always sound like an exhausted, whiny person.  Oh well...I always promised reality right? Mine anyway.  This post is full of challenges, illness, drama, financial woes, temptations, resolve and answered prayers.  In no certain order.

So it started with me beginning to feel ill last week towards the end of my travels, Thursday I think.  Sore throat, glob of who knows what collecting at the back of my throat.  I kept telling myself it was just all the stale airplane and hotel air and that I would be fine.  I resisted the urge to eat comfort drive thru food (which will one day seem more a punishment than a comfort!) and took some meds. A few days of Dayquil/Nyquil daquiries and I'd be right as rain.

Yeah, I was wrong.

Monday I was still feeling BLAH and realized the aching/pain on the sides of my neck, in the same area where my eustachian tubes live, were settling in for a serious week of ick, I headed to the doctor.

On a side note, I'm using COBRA insurance this month and of course, nothing was updated at the insurance company, even though it will be backdated effective 3/1, so I had this sneaking suspicion I would be paying out of pocket for everything this week.  Yep.  Add to that the fact that I only got a partial paycheck when I would normally have a full one budgeted (switching from bi-weekly to semi-monthly pay at my new job) and I just purchased 2 tires for the front of my car and some parts for Stephen's truck...sheesh, needless to say the financial pressure was on and I began to feel the stress on me and my emergency fund.  I share all of this not at ALL to get anyone to feel sorry for me (though we won't turn down donations - just KIDDING!) and honestly, God showed up and showed out like He always does (a few unexpected checks/refunds in the mail) and I didn't end up being that short (other than in stature), but THIS my friends is what slips and bad food choices are made of.  The beginnings of stress, pressure, and it building continuously throughout the week.  I felt it mounting.

I started Amoxicillan not realizing I'm immune to it (oops) and Friday night, my right ear closed itself off to the rest of the world while I never really felt better throughout the week, just worked through my Nyquil hangovers.  GREAT.  I already don't have the best hearing (or listening?) so add to it that I can hear nothing out of my "good ear" (that's a joke for my friends who know that same ear lost its tip in a car accident in 1996 and it had to be sewn back together) and the stress continued to build.

The following is a pretty detailed recount of TODAY as I want you to know exactly what happened and how I handled it.

All good stories start like this, "See what had happened was..."

This morning I decided I have to be well, as I'm heading out on another work trip on Monday.  First, I googled home remedies and found that if you take a wet washcloth, zap it in the microwave for 2 minutes, then wrap it in a dry washcloth and apply it to your ear area like a compress, it should help loosen the fluid that is causing the ear to be blocked.  I felt like it felt hot, but did it anyway.  Did it loosen the fluid?  No.  Did I sustain a good first degree burn to my right ear and ear lobe?  YES. 

Compares nicely to my very white other ear.  Yes it does.  STRESS.

So I drove myself to the Urgent Care center in Dublin, GA and as I arrived realized I just missed the St. Patty's day parade, which means, you guessed it, TRAFFIC!

Ain't nobody got TIME FOR THIS!  I might have BRONCHITIS!  (Please see THIS VIDEO if you don't know what I'm referring to here, and you are welcome, and yes, she is for real).

Continued pressure.  STRESS continuing to build.  Please note it is also 1:30pm and I have not had lunch.

I prayed as I pulled into the parking lot of the urgent care center that ALL of the cars in the parking lot were for the pizza place next door.  I walked in and there was NO ONE in the lobby.  Score answered prayer #2!

Was in and out of the Urgent Care pretty quickly, friendly doctor who is also a runner and understands my frustration with the GORGEOUS weather we're having and my uncooperative immune system.  Shot of steroid, new script and on the way home I went.

I stopped to buy some Larabars on the way home as I forgot to stock up at Publix in Macon last night, and I know they are a good price at Kroger.  Let me digress for a moment to tell you I don't eat ALL Larabars, ONLY the ones with just fruit/nuts in them.  None of the ones with chocolate or peanuts (legumes) of course.  So they are W30 legal, but I also don't eat them every day.  They are GREAT to help me stay on track while I'm traveling in the event I don't have GREAT choices at meals or get hungry outside of mealtime.  Since I had not had lunch, I decided this was an emergency and ate one in the car for part 1 of my lunchtime meal.  I felt crappy and was not going to cook myself up an amazing lunch once I got home. The steroids hadn't kicked in yet anyway.

Headed to the pharmacy to find I arrived when they close for lunch.  Seriously?  STRESS.  I went home and talked my hubby into going back up there later to get my meds.  He's amazing.

Then I ate some leftover zucchini spaghetti and that with the Larabar made my lunch.  Less protein than I'd like, but hey, I'm sick and it was all fruit, nuts, veggies and goodness.  And I didn't stop at Wendy's to get a jr. bacon cheeseburger, though the diet coke devil deep down inside me threw it out there as a suggestion on my way to Kroger.  Larabar won.  I'd say that worked out pretty well.

A few hours later I still felt soooo blah.

And had a sudden hankering for POPCORN.

I am on Day 46 of the Whole 30 with NO CHEATS.

Let me explain, my husband makes the BEST stove top popped popcorn EVER.  But of course, I have no idea how I would react to popcorn since I haven't had it in so long.  I already decided to delay reintroducing grains, dairy and legumes until I'm no longer sick, you know, so I can actually TELL what doesn't agree with me for future reference.

I asked him to make me popcorn.  My 9 year old girl jumped on that bandwagon faster than you can say Pop...and he promised he would as soon as he was done tweaking his sermon.

Lucky for me that took too long and it was time to make dinner.


Suddenly, I felt better (hello steroids kicking in).  I cooked a beautiful dinner of chicken legs and my favorite brussel sprouts salad. (don't worry I'll share some recipes below).  My wonderful husband had cleaned the kitchen completely while I was at the doctor, and I was determined not to make him regret me cooking.  So I cleaned while I cooked.  There was the burst of energy I needed.

The chicken was delicious.  I had two chicken legs, and usually eat three, but I haven't exercised in over a week and really wanted the W30 dessert I was making.  And two satisfied me.  Progress there, if you know me at all...

Yes, I said dessert.  I've not called anything dessert in a really long time.  And honestly, you might not call this dessert either but it was amazing and very sweet to me while also containing some heart healthy fat and the raspberries were just wow in the balsamic vinegar.  Poached pears in a coconut raspberry sauce with toasted almonds.  Holy Yum.

So literally as I'm typing I hear my husband in the kitchen right now making something.  Wanna know what it is?  Popcorn.  He was kind enough to ask me if it was still OK to make it, even if I didn't want any.  Of course I said yes. Think I'll have any?

Well I won't.  Because the craving has now passed.  I won.  Again.  And I'm still in clean eating/paleo/W30 land and feeling GREAT.  Each win = strength.  And since strength trumps stress, and my life has had an unusual amount of change and stress as of late, I'd say I'm faring pretty amazingly.

There truly is not ONE food that I miss or crave enough to undo all the good I've done.  And every day/week/month that passes, I feel stronger.  Since you can't usually see stress coming in advance, I'm stockpiling that strength right now.

I contemplated not counting my W30 days anymore...but I think I will, as it is a great reminder of how far I've come.

Yesterday I weighed in at 200 pounds even.  I know the scale will fluctuate some over the next week as I get back to my workout routine (shooting for 3-4 workouts this week, not going to overdo it until I know I'm well for sure) and begin building my muscle back up.  I'm back to 85 pounds down.  That feels incredible.

There's no going back - and not because I am afraid to, or uncertain of myself, but because I DON'T WANT TO.

Three words sum it up.  AH-MAZ-ING.

And now for the pictures and deets!

Here's a quick pic of me and my girl at Outback last night for dinner. I had the ribeye (I cut the fat off), grilled asparagus and steamed green beans. NO bread (though I did handle it for my daughter and prepare her a few slices).  I added my own secret balsamic vinegar to the veggies and they served them dry (see picture below of my new secret weapons). Yep, I'm a ninja W30er.

Clara's Zucchini Spaghetti.  Don't miss pasta at ALL with this dish!  I make my sauce from scratch - sorta - 1 large can of tomato puree, 2 cans of diced tomatoes (with no additives/salt added), a can of tomato paste and my own seasoning like oregano, minced fresh garlic, parsley and a pound of grass fed beef.  I used my julienne peeler (click HERE if you don't know what that is, I had it for years and never used it) and scraped the raw zucchini into "noodles" then blanched them (in and out of boiling water VERY quickly as it doesn't take long to make them into mush).  The centers of the zucchini are tough to peel, so I chopped those up once I made all my noodles and added them to the sauce.  I added blackened onion to the top, because blackened onion makes EVERYTHING yummier and more flavorful!

A typical breakfast for me - and YES it's HEARTY!  And yummy.  2 eggs scrambled with one Andelle's Apple Chicken Sausage link (they are HUGE btw and have zero sugar or sugar substitute, sweetened by the real apples in it and real fruit juice), half a Haas avocado with a dash of sea salt and Cayenne pepper.  Seriously.  So so good.  I ate carrots after this too, they just didn't make it into the picture; I definitely needed more veggies with this meal; could have added spinach to the eggs.  Absolutely FULL until lunchtime.  It's GREAT!  NOT ALL Andelle's sausage is have to check the lables and be sure there is no added sugar or fake stuff, ok?

This is one of my FAVORITE fast go-to meals.  I prep the chicken breast ahead of time, grilling it or crock potting it then shredding it.  I take a bag of broccoli slaw mix (its just the veggies, no dressing) and this time sauteed it in macadamia nut oil.  I added 2 cans of diced pineapple (without the juice) and some w30 approved Fish Sauce (which is kinda like a soy sauce without being soy -lol) and a dash of unsweetened coconut to finish the dish off.  SO SO GOOD and super easy. 

Tonight's beautiful dinner.  The chicken legs came from a recipe called the D^$N Fine chicken - we'll call it Clara's mighty good chicken.  Find the recipe HERE at another great website for those following this eating lifestyle.  The brussel sprouts is an adaptation of a recipe I used to make.  Clara's I-Promise-You-Will-Love-Brussel-Sprouts-Salad: I dice the brussel sprouts and then steam them in the microwave for 2 mins.  In the meantime I blacken, you guessed it, an onion.  I also diced two small apples (used to use craisins but don't anymore as they have added sugar).  I toss the brussel sprouts, apple and blackened onion into a sautee pan with some macadamia nut oil (my new fave as of tonight) and balsamic vinegar (the kind with no sugar and only naturally occuring sulfites) until it gets beautiful and browned like this.  Toss in 2 slices of cooked crumbled Applegate Farms all natural bacon and its AMAZING.  Husband loves it too.  Trying to convince the wee one to agree...patience.
My new secret traveling weapon - my very own organic olive oil and balsamic vinegar in travel size packs!  These will be a staple in my travel bag now along with my avocados, larabars for emergencies, cuties oranges (they're not just for kids!) and much more portable than my bottle of macadamia nut oil (which I DID pull out in a few restaurants - giving everyone the, yes, I am and I dare you to comment look).

Poached pears in a coconut raspberry cream sauce with toasted almonds.  This recipe is in the It Starts with Food book, so I don't want to infringe on their copyrights by posting it...just check out the book, in the back, where the recipe section is.  Was super duper yummy and felt like a real dessert and was completely W30 approved!

I LOVE THE FOOD I  EAT!!!  Have I mentioned that yet?  Seriously.  I haven't counted a fat gram, a point, or a carrot since this thing started.  And I've lost 14.4 pounds to date (in 46 days).  25.6 since the beginning of the year.  85 since 2009. 

Looking forwward to amping up activity again and seeing the muscle burn off more fat!

STRENGTH TRUMPS STRESS. This is my big learning for the week. Hope you are inspired by it too.



Amanda in RI said...

I just finished a whole30, and let myself have popcorn. Don't do it. :) It honestly wasn't worth it.

Way to go, overcoming the Diet Coke dragon! I'm 76 days from my last one, and I think I've finally kicked the habit. :) At least I'm not getting cravings.

You had an amazing week--I hope you're feeling better soon!

ClaraB said...

THANKS for that Amanda! I'm so so glad I didn't. It didn't even really smell tempting (buttery and all) as I was full from dinner. Yeah, diet coke honestly I think singlehandedly slid me down the mountain more than once. Of ALL the things I miss, I think I miss that most! BUT I have found if I really crave bubbly, I just drink some soda water (plain) with a lime and that feels like a treat in itself. I'm feeling SO MUCH BETTER today! Hoping to get some exercise tomorrow.