Well, it looks like I have been on an unintentional sabbatical from writing here. I know I talked about re-branding my blog back in September, and then I disappeared! I was posting to my Facebook page, but well, between my two international trips to Europe in August and Bolivia in October, my Paleo lifestyle kinda flew out the window. So, guilt-ridden, my Cutting the Cheese persona went along with it.
The good news is, while I lost my way a bit in the nutrition world, I have started to find my way in the mindful world which is almost even better! I have been eating up a lot of literature about mindfulness, meditation, attachment/detachment, etc, and I’ve also been eating up a lot of processed food (eek!). But the great think about unintentionally swapping Paleo for spirituality of sorts is that I wasn’t beating myself up about the Paleo thing. I love eating Paleo, it makes me feel AWESOME. So let’s put it this way, when I don’t eat Paleo, my body punishes me enough with pimples, gas, muscle cramps, and sinus headaches. Do I really need to beat myself up mentally? First of all, fat shaming myself and others is incredibly harmful and sexist on many levels, check out Cranky Fat Feminist for some inspiration about that. Being mindful (NOT critiquing) of the way I’m thinking and feeling in any situation (food-related or not) has given me a way to examine my habits. Where do they stem from? What do I exactly say to myself? How do I react to other people/objects/situations/myself in these situations? How do I cope or ‘fill’ myself? With food? With TV? Talking to friends? Facebook? Clothes? Wine? I am guilty of doing all of these, and I have done my best not to judge myself for that. Because, well…how does that help anyone? Wait! It helps the fat loss industry, my bad 🙂
Cynicism aside (kinda), as cheesy as it sounds, looking at myself, my feelings, and my actions has been so valuable in the past few months. One can only wonder how beneficial that can be if done throughout a lifetime! Well, that’s my intention going forward. Looking at the ways I am broken has mended me. I’m not encouraging anyone to dwell on the past by trying to figure out what’s “wrong” with them. First of all, the binary notion of “right” and “wrong” is…well…wrong 😉 I just intend to express that we are beautiful in everyday, when we are heavier, lighter, depressed, joyous, eating Oreos, or eating kale. With that behind said, here is a newfound quote (new for me) that expresses the above:
There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in. – Leonard Cohen
There was a woman I used to meet through some mutual friends, and when I asked how she was, she would say on multiple occasions, “I’m just sad”. I just wanted to hug her, tell her not to be sad, talk about positive things in life, etc. I don’t have this urge any longer. While I would still love to give her a big hug, it would be in acceptance of her sadness, not because I desire to change her feelings. We all have a right to feel the way we feel. Sitting in our feelings is the single-most difficult yet transformative things we can do. The process of emotions can be so painful, yet the outcome can be quite beautiful.
In my self-exploration, I have started to truly love myself in a way I didn’t know was possible. And, a lot of it has been through not just examining myself, but observing others, staring at snowflakes, trudging through a snowstorm, working with a difficult client, locking my car keys in the car, listening to my mom talk about my dad who passed away a year ago…the list can go on. Now how the hell does that make any sense? Well, I have been seeing myself through the lens of other people, situations, objects, nature, while riding the bus, etc. And I see that there is an interconnectedness to everything when I am in the company of others or isolated by myself.
My path is ever-evolving and always in transition (aren’t all of ours?), and I am falling in love with it because I don’t know where it will lead me. However, I am certain that it will have a positive impact in so many areas of my life, including health. The idea of self-observation and self-love will hopefully allow me to be healthier in every aspect of my life whether it be food, exercise, self-talk, relationships with loved ones, and, most importantly,the relationship with myself. I will falter, I will deviate, because that’s just part of it.
As I re-read what I have just written, I thought to myself “Wow, I sound like some New Age hippie!”. Well, so be it. This is where I am now, and I’m just happy to be.
No, I’m not re-launching my site or anything yet, but as my thoughts and experiences with my health journey evolve through the way I eat, move, and think, my vision for “Cutting the Cheese” has evolved as well.
Initially, my thought was to create a blog name that would be refer to Paleo and also be punny. I think I succeeded. I do have to give credit to a close friend that helped me out, so thank you Jasmy 🙂 Cheese is something I LOVE, so I thought it was a perfect fit! However, as I learned more about Paleo, I realized that, yes, in the strictest sense, dairy isn’t “allowed”. But, as time went on, I stopped thinking of Paleo as a diet of restriction, and I started to see it as using food for nourishment. So, given this change, I started introducing dairy in my meals. While I do feel some effects from dairy, I am unaffected in moderation. So, I haven’t always had to “cut the cheese” out of my diet…however, that doesn’t mean I haven’t had to do it figuratively 😉
As I have I started looking at Paleo from a different perspective, I decided to re-brand my blog through a different lens. I believe most of us know what “Cutting the Cheese” means as an idiom. If not, feel free to find out here. The the meaning is funny in the sophomoric sense that many hate to love. It provokes laughter with a bit of discomfort – literally and figuratively 🙂
Recently, I started a Facebook page to go along with my blog. I tend to post a few times a day to this page by sharing some personal experiences as well as sharing information that I find helpful from other blogs/pages. Sometimes I share recipes or just general information about the Paleo way of eating. However, as I have mentioned before, I do see Paleo as a lifestyle. At the same time, I see eating processed foods and treating certain physical ailments with drugs, and not nutrition, as a lifestyle too. Paleo aside, I feel there are obvious sociopolitical conflicts that serve to profit companies that the modern world just accepts. This makes me uncomfortable…very uncomfortable. I didn’t want to believe it. I don’t want to believe it. But I have to believe it. The Food Pyramid, FDA guidelines, GMO’s, yadda yadda are all politically and economically motivated and most of us either want to ignore it, minimize it, or simply believe that the government and big food companies have our best interests at heart. As an individual, I cannot solely change the current political, economic, or food systems. However, it would be silly for me to not recognize the motivation and manipulation of these systems. If everyone realized how they were being manipulated, they would probably be uncomfortable.
Another area I have felt passionate about is self-love when it comes to body image and what we think about ourselves. I have definitely struggled with body image in many ways that I hope to share in future posts. In the past couple months, I have been able to move past a lot of my insecurities and get to a point where not only do I love myself and my body more than before, but I have also realized that I was making excuses about why I didn’t think I was insecure in the first place. Again, this was uncomfortable. Loving who I am, as I am, is uncomfortable. Do I have a Victoria’s Secret model body? NO. Have I lost as much weight as I would have initially liked? NO. A year ago, these answers would have made me very uncomfortable. But, I’m happy to say, that I’m much more happy in my skin, as is, than before. Does that mean I don’t want to lose weight or that I don’t think I would be as attractive if I lost more weight? No, not at all. My priorities have just changed. My goal is health first, and, as Jason Seib says, to look “hot by accident”.
Lastly, I have started to make some changes in my daily routine to include meditation, prayer, and asking for help when I feel I need support in my life. Stress management is a huge part of lifestyle and if affects our bodies immensely. Here is a great summary about stress and adrenal fatigue: The Real Deal On Adrenal Fatigue by Robb Wolf. Making changes to daily habits is difficult. After all the Merriam-Webster definition of a habit is “a usual way of behaving : something that a person does often in a regular and repeated way”. So making changes in our busy, stress-filled lives, especially to slow down and let go of certain outcomes through mediation, prayer, or what have you, is hard and uncomfortable, but it is also very beneficial. I’m not talking about being a yogi and sitting on a mountain in lotus position. These are changes you can make throughout the day in the comfort of your home, but, to do so, priorities have to change.
I’m evolving/re-branding this blog by pushing through uncomfortable barriers and becoming more aware, accepting, and comfortable being uncomfortable! I still do plan to post recipes, etc to have some balance and fun 🙂
Enjoy and feel free to comment about this change!
Well I did my abbreviated version of a Whole30 with success. It’s been almost a year since I did my first (and only) Whole30, and I forgot (and was reminded) of some things.
1. Eating out. One lesson I was reminded of was how hard it is to eat out! Regardless of the quality of meat restaurants use, one thing that really gets me is the oils they are probably using. I’m usually too skittish to ask, but I’m guessing most restaurants don’t use Organic Extra Virgin Cold-Pressed Coconut Oil. I guess that might seem like I am really snobby, however, I feel that I have good reason to be picky about this. Also, it is very likely that there might be hidden sugars in food. The best bet is to order a salad, dressing on the side (or request olive oil and balsamic). On many instances, I did eat prior to eating out since I knew I might be limited. I learned that even though I’m afraid, I do need to ask questions when eating out.
2. I love sugar! I really do, well maybe just my brain does (same thing?). The first couple days were pretty challenging in this regard, however, after that it wasn’t too difficult. Fruit provided a perfect sugar fix that didn’t make me feel like total crap afterwards.
3. Variety exists! When I started this journey last year, it was difficult for me to think about variety. In the past year, I have experimented with different types of meat and seasonings, and variety is much more common for me. I have experimented with vegetables like chard, bok choy, kale, etc instead of sticking to lettuce and spinach. I experimented with lamb and pork, which I was very frightened of last year.
4. I feel great. That is a given. I knew I’d feel fabulous when I did this, even though it was only 7 days. My stomach felt at ease, I slept well, my sinus problems reduced, and I didn’t wake up feeling fat 🙂 The funny thing is that even though I can afford to lose a few more pounds, it wasn’t my main goal. It was an added benefit, but I’m so glad I am less focused on this aspect. As one of my favorite podcasters Jason Seib from the Everyday Paleo Lifestyle & Fitness podcast says “Healthy by choice, hot by accident” 🙂
This goes to show that doing something like this, even for a short time, really proves that changes in diet can impact health and happiness. If I did this longer, it would have made even more of a difference!
I do want to do a Whole30 again before the end of the year. I’m thinking I will do it the month of my birthday (September), so stay tuned 🙂
I can’t believe it’s been over a month since I have blogged! This past month has been pretty crazy with more going on at work and prepping for my trip to India! Yes…that’s right! In one week, I will be on a plane heading to India with my family. I’m VERY excited about this trip. I have been to India four times in the past, but I’m really excited about this trip because I will be meeting a lot of my husband’s family and my brother-in-law, sister-in-law, and three beautiful nephews are coming as well! I’ve never traveled to India with them before (I haven’t gone with my husband yet either), so it should be a lot of fun 🙂
How does this all play into my health plan? Well…the past month’s activities have, unfortunately, cut into my personal journey towards better health. I haven’t really lost any weight. I probably gained a little bit, but that’s not even what I care that much about. I kind of just lost sight of things because…well…life is hard to balance. The changes I’ve had at work were great for my work life. However, this came at a cost of not being able to go to The Dailey Method as much because I was now working during the classes I usually attended. Since I have focused so much on those classes, I didn’t put much of an effort towards doing anything at home. In terms of food, well…I have definitely tried to keep it up, but let’s just say that I had a lot of dessert at a wedding reception last night! My will and Paleo decision-making has someone gone down the drain. One reason I haven’t been beating myself up too much about it is because it will be impossible to live up to my Paleo lifestyle in India. None of my relatives eat meat, and eating it going to be very central to the trip. Let’s just say that family in India LOVE to feed you. I’m going to enjoy this, however, I’m also going to make sure I feel satisfied rather than full. I also didn’t want to do Paleo for the past few weeks and then totally shock my system when I’m in India when I will inevitably be eating a lot of grains and carbs.
Anywho…one thing this past month has taught me is that balance, while very important, is very hard! That doesn’t mean I’m giving up though! I have always said this is a journey. My weight loss is not going to be perfect, life isn’t perfect. The great thing about this is all the great lessons I learn about myself in the process. I am trying to keep a positive outlook, because a positive MIND is what is going to help me with my healthy lifestyle.
In the next week before I head to India, I’m going to eat a “regular” diet with grains, carbs, etc. I am still going to avoid processed food. One question I’m going to ask myself is “Am I really hungry?” I read a lot about this concept from the book Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program that Works by registered dietitians Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. This is a great book about our hunger signals. I have noticed that my hunger signals can mean a few things: I’m thirsty; I’m bored; I’m stressed; or I really am hungry. I’m going to evaluate myself before making these decisions. I am usually pretty satisfied throughout the day when I start my day by drinking 10 to 20 oz of water and continuing to drink water all day. So, I think this will be the best way for me to eat this week and while I’m in India as well.
So, there ya have it! I plan to post that Pre-Made Paleo review I promised a few months ago before I leave! Sorry for slacking on that.
What can I say? I’ve been slacking on the blogging. I’ve been slacking on working out 5 times a week. I haven’t updated my Pounds and Inches page in 2 months! I am a slacker!
Hopefully this post will put an end to this 🙂 The good news is that I’ve been losing more pounds and inches. I realized that working out 5 times a week is really difficult. I can do it, but I tend to be really tired by the end of the week when I do. If I’m not in bed by 10:30pm, then it’s really hard for me to wake up early and workout. While I definitely think I need to not make excuses, there is actually a lot of research that talks about how sleep is more important than working out due to hormonal activity that is tied to appetite. In fact, losing sleep in order to workout could lead to weight gain because there is a hormonal imbalance which causes us to crave sugary, high-carb foods. Here’s one article that explains this concept. I know the difference between, “I went to sleep at 11pm and waking up at 5:30am stinks”, and “I have gotten 4 hours a sleep and my eyes are burning”. I don’t workout if the latter is true. So this means that lately, I have been working out around 3-4 times a week, and I no longer feel bad about it! I feel really good, and I’m still losing pounds and inches…which brings me to…
My Pounds and Inches page? Well, I have to be honest. After I finished my first Whole30, I went back to my old ways a little bit. With that, I gained some of my weight back, and I just “got lazy” and didn’t post it. Yes, I was embarrassed. I was also a little annoyed because, eventually, I started to get back on track and my scale was starting to be really inconsistent, as in, I would weigh myself, and I gained 10 lbs in one day. Hmmm, not only did I not like the number, but it was clearly ridiculous. Then I realized that I’m working with a pretty ancient scale, so I decided to order a fancy new one. This picture is a great example of what I was dealing with before…and after. My old scale was at my parents house, and they gave it to me…as you can see, I really needed an upgrade!
The day I stepped on my new scale by EatSmart (isn’t she a beauty?), I made an interesting discovery. I was 3 lbs lighter compared to my old scale! This was great, in a way. However, I no longer really know how accurate my pounds are on my page since I was using my older scale. Thankfully, I am also tracking inches lost, and my tape measure is accurate (I think, hehe). I was trying to think of a way to resolve this since it probably has been somewhat inaccurate the whole time. I decided to keep this simple and just continue to log my weight and not change my previous weight. However, I am going to make a notation around 10/4/12, which is around when I bought the new scale. So, as you can see now, Pounds and Inches is updated 🙂 I have been continue to lose pounds and inches slowly but surely!
So yes, I have been slacking. I guess, like anything, this blog is going to have its peaks and valleys. But now it’s time to get back on track! Even when I’m not writing here, I am always thinking about how this blog makes me accountable to myself and to you!
What’s coming up? I’m going to blog more about my Pre-Made Paleo experience. Also, I have a dear friend that is going to write a guest blog, so I’m really excited about that! Stay tuned 🙂
So as I mentioned in my last post, I intended to introduce food groups one at a time back into my eating regimen. Well…that didn’t go to well. I only added dairy for the first 2 days, but then on the 3rd day I went to a Chicago Air and Water Show party. The spread of delicious food was amazing! There were unlimited drinks and desserts galore! I think I got a little too excited. While the desserts were gluten free, I definitely had other foods that were not along with many other sugary delights. For me, it was really hard to just do one food group at a time because my body just started craving more “bad stuff” once I started! I hadn’t felt like that in over a month, and I did NOT like that feeling.
On the Whole30, I really enjoyed that I never felt bloated and flabby. I mean, wouldn’t you?? It was a great feeling. However, I know that it might not always be realistic. In ISWF, they mention that it may take a few times of re-entry to understand your cravings and know how to eat without going nuts after the Whole30 is over. So…I’m not going to beat myself up about it too much. But, getting back into a non-Whole30 diet definitely gave me perspective! It made me realize that I am MUCH happier when I adhere to the Whole30 guidelines (I’m not gonna lie. One thing I am holding on to is my coffee with Splenda. So far I don’t feel many negative effects from doing so).
While I wasn’t able to isolate how I felt with each particular food group, I can tell you that eating how I used to reminded me of how not so great I used to feel. I got more sinus headaches (which I used to get weekly), stomach pain, not as wonderful sleep, and some irritability in terms of my temperament. None of these feelings were fun, but I am happy that I experienced them. Why, you ask? Well, now I know how I CAN feel if I eat good, natural, unprocessed, whole foods 🙂 I am happier and healthier. Sounds easy, right? 😉 Now when I eat something that isn’t as healthy, I have a full understanding of the potential consequences.
The Whole9 Facebook page had a really great post the other day:
The simple absence of grains or dairy or whathaveyou in stuff you eat doesn’t make it “Paleo”. A Paleo way of life is about choosing to partake in a “nutrient-dense life”, complete with deeply nourishing food, emotionally satisfying social relationships, and genuine interaction with the natural (i.e. outside) world. Embrace the spirit of the lifestyle instead of seeking ways to work around it. Relying on a blend of dried fruit and nuts isn’t “Paleo” – it’s just overeating trail mix.
This statement reflects the thoughts my original post about doing Whole30 in the first place. I really have been trying to embrace this lifestyle concept. However, the greatest difficulty so far is to not look/seem like a “picky” eater or inflexible. I never was picky with what I ate. However, finding a way of eating that truly makes me feel good, actually GREAT, makes me want to keep doing what I’m doing! Sometimes it’s hard to explain/make someone believe that I’m declining the cake, candy, bread, etc because I really don’t want it, not because I “can’t” have it. It’s a work in progress. I guess the point is that I’m not trying to convince others. If I did that all the time, I would never be happy. Also, if change were comfortable, it wouldn’t be so hard, right?
What types of things have you changed in your life for the better or worse?