My Quest to Eradicate Cheddar and Become a Healthier Me

Monthly Archives: June 2012

As a speech-language pathologist, I love reading about learning, neuroscience, and communication.  I have “liked” some pages on Facebook which post interesting articles about these subjects.  Today, I read a really interesting article about the Zeigarnik Effect.  A Russian psychologist, Bluma Zeigarnik, observed an interesting phenomenon while watching waiters fulfill their orders.  The article also talks about other studies and gives examples that simply demonstrate that when we start something, we are more likely to finish it.

I am really great at procrastination.  I don’t like that I procrastinate, but I do it quite well.  There are two reasons that I procrastinate:

1 – I am not really motivated to do a task

2 – I don’t know where to start and I want it to be perfect

Being motivated is a key determinant to getting something done.  However, even when I am motivated, I put things off because the task seems so big, and I want to start in the exact, right, perfect place so it turns out well.  I felt this way before I started this blog.  First, I thought that I didn’t have the right blog name, and then I thought that I didn’t start my diet and exercise at the same time, so how can I really keep track of what influenced my body?  Then I thought that I hadn’t taken any measurements until recently, so it’s not really true to my real progress.  Lastly, I realized that I was full of reasons not to get start, and I just had to start somewhere, anywhere!  I did make sure my blog name was just right though 😉

In reality, it doesn’t matter where I start, because it is about the journey and not the destination.  This journey has taught me so much in such a short time.  All I had to do was start!  And ultimately, I have realized the value of all the imperfections I have encountered.  If I started out anything exact, right, and perfect, there would not be any room for progress, and it’s the progress that has motivated me to keep going!  Don’t get me wrong, I’m looking forward to reaching my goals, but what I forget sometimes is that my goals are ideas.  They haven’t happened yet.  When I turn my goals into expectations, it can end in disappointment and resentment.  I try to remember that the journey may alter my idea of these goals, and that is perfectly OK!  So, I’m just trying to enjoy what is happening NOW because that is the only thing under my control.  I truly believe that when I do this, I’ll be in for a great ride 🙂

I remember an instructor during a Dailey Method class saying, “If you’re thinking about what you have to do tonight, the groceries you need to buy, or what you’re doing tomorrow, STOP.  Think positive thoughts.  Think about keeping your hips square and tucking in your pelvis.”  That’s exactly what I did, and, not only was I less stressed, I had a better workout.  That moment was lived.

What types of projects or tasks have you been putting off because you want them to be perfect?


This past weekend was full of wonderful celebrations!  My husband and I drove down to Indianapolis on Saturday to celebrate the 1st birthday of the son of our dear friends.  Of course, Sunday was Father’s Day.  It was so great to enjoy time with friends we haven’t seen in some time.  It was also a once in a lifetime experience to see 37 kids (most under the age of 5) in one place at once, lol. Just watching them all jumping around was quite exhausting. Sunday, we had a Father’s Day lunch and dinner which was wonderful as well.

Clearly, it was going to be difficult for me to stay on my diet when I could not have complete control over my meal choices.  I always allow for myself to indulge a meal or two during the week that aren’t compliant, since that is just reality.  However, being unprepared definitely got me in trouble.  Saturday morning before we left, I made sure to have a bigger breakfast consisting of a 3-egg omelette with spinach and an avocado.  As we embarked on our drive, I decided to only bring water with me.  I did not bring any fruit or nuts to snack on.  Clearly, when we arrived in Indianapolis, I was starved!  So I immediately ate a sandwich and then ate tons of pasta and some delicious cake (I had planned on eating the cake beforehand).  Everything was delicious, and I wasn’t beating myself up too much about it…but I know I could’ve prepared a bit more so I wouldn’t have taken that second serving of pasta and eggplant parmesan.  On top of it, we were driving straight to my in-laws that evening, and I had not prepared a breakfast plan for the next morning.

I started thinking about where I went wrong in not preparing for the trip.  Did I not have the food with at my disposal?  Nope.  Did I not have enough time to get it ready?  Nope.  Did I give up?  Yes!  Basically, I had already thought to myself, “I’m going to let go a little”.  I did not decide how or when I was going to let go (which is what I usually do), which pretty much gave me the opportunity to eat whatever I wanted.    So I failed in my thought process, which led to me choosing to not be prepared and eating unhealthy.  I don’t think there’s anything wrong with letting go a little bit.  However, for a person like me, who lacks self-control, this little goes a long way.  I am positive that having a piece of fruit or nuts on the ride there would have staved off some of my impulsive eating for that day and the next.

The next morning, I had granola with milk and fruit for breakfast (fail).  I meant to get some eggs, but since I had given up, this just didn’t happen.  For lunch, I was able to be compliant, however, for Father’s Day dinner, I decided to have 1 crab rangoon.  My parents don’t eat meat or seafood, and one order of crab rangoon had 6 pieces!  Well of course I can’t make my husband eat all of those!  Before I knew it, 3 of them were floating around in my tummy.

Inevitably, this all lead to me feeling irritable.  I was annoyed that I let it happen, and this all led to negative thinking and being a victim to my own choices.  This way of thinking is never good.  On top of it all, I didn’t go to The Dailey Method for 2 days in a row, which I try not to do.  But alas!  This morning,  I went to The Dailey Method and after 10 minutes I could feel myself becoming more calm.  The stress I had placed on myself started trickling away, and I felt the ultimate release.  Finally, I felt like my new self again 🙂

Overall, I think this is a lesson that it just takes on small thought to begin an avalanche of negative behavior.  At the same time, I was so grateful to get back on track and to make the choice to get out of the negativity.

The best part of the weekend was seeing this face 🙂  He was such a birthday champ and is the most handsome little man I have seen!

Since I’ve started adhering to the Whole30 guidelines, most of my meals have been homemade.  However, I have definitely found great options when I dine out.  The tricky part is that I don’t always know whether the meat is grass-fed or organic, and sometimes sugar may be added to different sauces or marinades.  While I want to be super rigid and perfectionistic about the program, I have to be realistic.  Sometimes life doesn’t allow for me to be constantly prepared.  Sometimes, I will have to eat out, and that is ok…at least it is to me 🙂  I do my best to find healthy options, and the rest of the time I try to eat at home.

I would have to say that this has to be my favorite “eating out” meal so far.  I went to Mia Francesca in Lakeview this past weekend, and I ate some delicious salmon!  It was served on a bed of asparagus and topped with tomato, onions, and avocado with a lemon wedge.  It was such a great summer treat on a very warm day.  The Francesca restaurants change their menus every couple weeks, and I just saw that this was no longer on the menu as of today!  I’m so glad I ate it before the menu changed.

I also had a wonderful lunch at my mom’s house a couple weeks ago.  She has been so wonderful and encouraging throughout my journey.  My mom is an amazing artist, and this definitely extends to her creativity and presentation with food.

Lunch consisted of hard-boiled eggs, a veggie salad, boiled swiss chard, cooked parsnips, plain beets, mangos, peaches, and cherries.

Baby spinach, romaine lettuce, cabbage, bell peppers, red onions, tomatoes, radishes, strawberries, walnuts, and homemade sun-dried tomato dressing (yes, homemade!  My mom rocks 🙂 )

Boiled swiss chard with olive oil and garlic

Boiled parsnips. My mom added apple cider vinegar when it was done, and then she added some beets to give it some color! (She’s so creative!)

So there you go, two delicious meals!  What are some creative things you have done to “ordinary” fruits and/or veggies?

I just saw this video from The Dailey Method in my Facebook news feed and it is hilarious!  Let’s just say that I may or may not have said one or more of these things, lol.

I love to laugh at myself – out loud, in my head, alone in the car, etc.  Laughing at my ridiculousness (in and out of the studio) has really helped me to accept my imperfections and focus on the progress I have and will hopefully continue to make whether it be in class, at work, or in my personal life.  There aren’t many things that I take too seriously anymore.  Before I started on this journey, I had a tendency to set high expectations for myself (and I definitely still do at times), but these never served me well.  They just caused me to treat everything as a big deal when they were not.  Not only is laughing healthy for our bodies, it is also healthy for our minds.  I try to remember this when I think I’m in a serious situation which is really only a small moment in the large scheme of things.  Laughter really is the best medicine.

What types of things do you do to take the edge off a serious situation?

One of my favorite vegetables is the white potato…unfortunately, it is not Whole30 or Paleo approved 😦  Obviously it’s a huge source of starchy carbohydrates, so I have had to nix that from my diet.  But alas!  There is a substitute of sorts.  I had heard of mashed cauliflower when I did the South Beach Diet back in 2004, but I never tried making it.  Recently, I started reading through Well Fed: Paleo Recipes For People Who Love To Eat.  This is an amazing cookbook which is based upon Whole9/Whole30.  They have a lot of meal prep information as well as many recipes including mashed cauliflower!  So I decided to finally try it for dinner last night.

Here are the ingredients you need (the only thing I didn’t have were chives, and I used ghee instead of coconut oil):

  • 1 bag (16 ounces) frozen cauliflower florets
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons dried chopped chives
First you boil the cauliflower according to the instructions and drain it.  Make sure it isn’t too watery.

Then you heat up the garlic, oil, milk, salt, and pepper in a pan.

Throw the cauliflower in the processor, scraping down the sides.  Then add the heated milk mixture.  It should look like this, except maybe without my finger swipe imprint, hehe.  I’m the only one that was going to eat it, so no guilt 🙂

And here it is on my plate with my dinner!  I got some chile garlic tilapia from Olivia’s Market (right around the corner from The Dailey Method).  It’s such a nice little grocery store in Bucktown!

Here is my husband’s dinner.  I made him a delicious avocado pasta that I have made in the past.  It is definitely not Whole30 approved, but it sure is yummy!

So how does it compare to mashed potatoes? Well…they are not mashed potatoes, however, they are still really yummy, and I will definitely be making them again.  I thought about putting a dollop of ghee on top, but then I figured that might be a little much.  While I was a little afraid of the taste from the coconut milk, I was surprised that I actually liked it!  It gave a nice little kick to the dish.

I made enough to save for later, which is always great!  I am learning to plan ahead a lot more with this new lifestyle.  It’s going to be a process, but I am really enjoying it!

What interesting recipes have you tried out to substitute for your not as healthy favorite dishes?

As you may have read in a previous post, my workout regimen consists of attending The Dailey Method (TDM) classes in the Bucktown neighborhood of Chicago.  I had attended some of these classes in 2010, and I really enjoyed it.  When people ask me what it is, I say it’s a mixture of pilates (focusing on your core strength and postural alignment), yoga (focusing on breathing, stretching, and lengthening your muscles), and body sculpting (strengthening your muscles).  They work to isolate specific muscles and through repetitions, different positions, and vicious holds, your body will transform.  I typically attend classes 4-5 days a week.

In every class, they work on strengthening your arms, thighs, seat, and core.  Core exercises include planks and abdominal work where you do multiple contractions in a sit-up like position where your shoulders are at different heights relative to the ground (not sure if that makes sense, but that’s the best I can do to describe it).  Basically, your core is definitely worked to the…core 🙂  Here are some pictures to illustrate these different strengthening positions.  The abdominal work photo is what I was trying to explain before.


These are just a few of the types of positions I somehow manage to get (and try to stay) into…it ain’t easy.  Even after almost 4 months of taking classes, I am still taught new and challenging variations that work my muscles in a way I didn’t know was possible.  Then of course there are the stretches.  Now, I am very inflexible.  Before I started attending TDM classes, I couldn’t touch my toes, I had lower back pain, and I hunched forward pretty much all the time.   Within 2 weeks of taking classes, there was a noticeable change in my posture.  I started standing taller and my shoulders naturally went backwards rather than forwards.  After about 2 months, I could touch my toes and hold it for a very long time.  I also noticed that I no longer felt much, if any, lower back pain when I was sitting in a chair, driving, or walking.  I can single-handedly attribute this to taking TDM classes.

I also have been amazed at what the classes have been doing for my mind.  First of all, I am prioritizing exercise as a part of my life.  That already puts me in a great mindset where I realize that self-care has to be present before I try to do anything else.  Through breathing, stretching, and strengthening, I leave every TDM class feeling more relaxed, motivated to start my day, and less irritable at those little things that can easily turn into big things.

When I walk into the studio, I am warmly greeted by staff and instructors.  The instructors are amazing.  They help to correct your posture, but they never make you feel not good enough.  They are understanding towards people of all levels, beginners through advanced.  They also explain in detail how to transition into various positions and how to really target specific areas in your body.  Who knew that pushing your foot into the ground in a certain position would work your gluteus maximus?  The tunes are also quite excellent.

So…there you have it.  I love The Dailey Method, and one day, I will be able to hold a plank without going to my knees at all!  If you live in Chicago or near their other locations, I encourage you to try it out!

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