2012 Week by Week

Month: May, 2012

Week #21: followup

Yes, we walked on the Appalachian Trail! It wasn’t the few hours I was hoping for, but we were there. The inn we were staying in had a very thorough guidebook which I studied extensively. We even brought it with us. Our problem was that we decided in advance that we would walk on the section we had crossed on the road. This turned out to be a very bad idea. Our section climbed almost 2,000 feet straight from the parking area. We made it up about 600 feet in a mile but I couldn’t made it any further. The worst part was that when we got to our stopping point there was a forest service road with a truck parked there! I bet it didn’t have to drive up a dozen switchbacks.

Here is a photo at our turnaround point:

Appalachian Trail

I was too demoralized to get the truck in the photo.

The very first (and kind of only) person we met on the trail was a thru-hiker who had started in Georgia on April 7th. He was crazy. He told us that when he got to Maine he was going to ride his bike back to Texas, and then he had two marathons scheduled this winter. Maybe you have to be a little crazy to hike the whole trail at once.

It turns out that if we had just gone the opposite direction from the parking area we would have descended 200 feet and then had a nice, gentle walk along a river to a trail shelter. Maybe next time.

We were a bit disappointed that we didn’t get to see any kind of view for all of our climbing effort, so we took a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway where I snapped this photo:

Blue Ridge Parkway

Much better.


Week #22: Yoga

I love yoga. Several years ago I was a faithful attendee of a weekly yoga class and I made some great progress. Then life happened, I no longer had the evening free, and by the time I was ready to do yoga again my body had changed and the class was frustrating. So now that I’ve lost 30 pounds I’m excited to get back to yoga, but not the class I used to go to. Fortunately there are tons of free yoga resources online that didn’t exist back then, so I can work up to it at home.

I tend to have some time during the day on Wednesdays for yoga, so I’m going to commit to that. Of course, yesterday I had eaten so badly that I had no energy for anything. But I am serious about Wednesday yoga!

Whole 30 – Thoughts

My husband and I finished our first Whole 30 yesterday. I can’t speak for him, but I will share our scale results before telling you some of my thoughts from the experience.

He lost 10 pounds!
I lost 22 pounds!

Of course, I gained 10 pounds the week before I started so I’m pretty sure the first 10 were water, but they still count! I wish I had taken measurements before we started because my body shape changed pretty dramatically. Our scale measures body fat percentage and both of ours stayed about the same.

Now, the thoughts. I enjoyed my Whole 30 very much. The first week I was hungry. The second week I was full and feeling kind of sick. By the third week I just felt awesome. I rarely had cravings or felt like I was being deprived except in social situations, and even then I’m sure it was mostly a mental thing. I can see why some people would choose to eat this way all the time. I may choose to do so after we return from our big vacation weekend.

My relationship with food feels different now. I feel like I am actually in control of food instead of it being in control of me. We stuck very closely to our weekly menus during the last 30 days, which certainly has not always been true. Usually it wasn’t too difficult to convince ourselves to eat out if we were tired, or cranky, or just didn’t feel like eating what I had planned. For the past 30 days I cooked everything I intended to cook. We wasted a lot less food than usual. We also spent a lot more on groceries than usual, but I think we made up for it by not popping out for fast food, or snacks, or dinner all week long.

One result of eating at home was that my husband and I needed to find other things to do with each other out of the house besides eat. I think we had just begun to think about this by the time our 30 days were over, so we have more work to do there. We have long talked about finding some active thing that we can do together.

Going to a party without grazing at the buffet table was an interesting experience for me. I know that social pressure (rather, pressure I invent in social situations) contributes significantly to my bad food habits. I felt really uncomfortable in that room full of people who I know and love without a plate full of food. That was weird and requires more thought.

It was a new and strange experience to feel energized after a meal instead of sleepy. I can’t say that I felt great bursts of energy all the time, but it was effortless to do things like run around with the kids or get a quick workout done. Before the Whole 30 those things seemed kind of impossible.

This is probably the single greatest thing I have ever done for myself. I didn’t realize the extent to which I had been hiding before. Losing 30 pounds since February doesn’t hurt, but feeling the confidence that comes from knowing that I am doing good things for my body is really what feels the best. I need to keep this up.

Before (July 2010):

July 2010

I made a point of hiding from cameras after seeing this photo. I also gained another 15 pounds in the time since it was taken.

After the Whole 30:

May 2012

Not a dramatic change, but I couldn’t get that shirt on before the Whole 30! I also dragged my husband out with the camera so we could find that same tree and take a picture.

I still have a long way to go, but now I feel like change is possible. Yay!

Whole 30 – Day 30!

It’s the last day of the Whole 30! I’m looking forward to weighing myself tomorrow and taking a moment to reflect on the things I’ve learned. But for now…


I didn’t eat breakfast today. Instead I ate lunch a bit early.


Day 30 lunch

Chocolate chili over butternut squash with roasted seeds. Yum.

I had a handful of nuts in the late afternoon to get through til dinner.


Day 30 dinner

Taco chicken salad with guacamole. I love this meal (if my husband shreds the chicken). In fact, I loved it enough to eat it twice.


Day 30 snack

Many thanks to Cheryl for going out of her way to provide snacks I could eat at tonight’s podcast group meeting! I ate loads of grapes and some salami.

What will tomorrow bring? I don’t know for sure. Maybe a bagel. Definitely those frozen chocolate chip cookies. Also some good Whole 30 approved meals because that’s what we have in the house. All I know is I won’t be taking pictures of it anymore. Thanks for sticking with me for 30 days!

Whole 30 – Day 29

It’s day 29!


Day 29 breakfast

I’m not thrilled with how my breakfast came out, but this is probably the best yolk on a fried egg that I have ever made. Under the kind of ugly egg are two sweet potato latkes, which I probably won’t make again. I have a few more to eat this week.


Day 29 lunch

After my sweet potato breakfast the butternut squash puree hiding under this chili just seemed too sweet. I’m pleased with the chili, though, and with the handful of roasted butternut squash seeds on top for crunch.


Day 29 dinner

After work today I really wanted a nap, but instead I had to cook dinner. That may explain the severe char on one side of my steak and the fact that my house still smells like burning. Despite my inattentiveness it was pretty tasty. My husband made the side of kale and onions and put the salad together. Yay teamwork!

Whole 30 – Day 28

Day 28! I have to say that the temptation to round up is strong in our house right now. But we’re going to stay the course.


Day 28 lunch

When we came home from church we boiled up the last 4 hot dogs and fixed a quick salad. Boiling the hot dogs significantly helped the saltiness problem.

The afternoon was really busy. After grocery shopping we ran a few errands, and we quickly realized that if we didn’t eat (and soon) we would probably not make it out of the mall. Our problem may have been trying to go to the mall in the first place, but I digress.

So instead of eating the delicious steak dinner I had planned, we ended up at a not very noteworthy Mexican place for a quick meal.


Day 28 dinner

Imagine our surprise, then when I found this on the menu:

Parillada Mixta – For serious meat lovers!!! Grilled meat platter made with shrimp, chicken, and premium steak alongside grilled mild and spicy sausages, grilled onion and jalapeno pepper.

We asked them to hold the rice, beans, and tortillas and ordered a guacamole salad instead and split everything. It was incredible.


Day 28 snack

I’m in the middle of making our lunches for the week, so I had an apple and the rest of the deli turkey to fortify me til bedtime.

Week #21: Hike on the Appalachian Trail

With the end of the Whole 30 it is time to get back to my weekly goals. This week I am so excited to let you know that my husband and I plan to spend a day on the Appalachian Trail while we’re on vacation. It is a huge dream of mine to through hike the AT one day so just getting to spend a few hours on it is going to be amazing. I’ll take pictures and let you know how it went next week.

Menu week #21

This week we will finish the Whole 30 (yay!), have two normalish days, and then head out of town for our anniversary and my birthday. We are going to indulge and love every moment of it (hopefully), and we’ll figure out what our new normal needs to be next week.

Saturday – hamburgers, guacamole, lettuce, tomato
Sunday – out
Monday –  steak, green beans, salad
Tuesday –  chicken taco salads
Wednesday –  garlic rosemary wings, sweet potato fries
Thursday – out
Friday – out

Breakfasts will be mostly sweet potato latkes and yogurt with berries. Lunches will be mostly Mel’s chocolate chili.

Whole 30 – Day 27

It’s day 27! We’re now starting to make strategies for finishing this thing, taking after photos, going on vacation, eating chocolate chip cookies, etc. I’m right in the middle of making a menu that will take us to day 30 and beyond. It’s a challenge!


Day 27 breakfast

We went to a local brunch place for our weekly Saturday morning out. I ordered this pulled pork hash topped with two poached eggs without the potatoes or the hollandaise sauce (then later realized I probably could have eaten the sauce. Oh well). It was delicious and filling. My husband kept the biscuits that came with our meals for eating later this week.


Day 27 lunch

Lunch was leftovers: the end of the best breakfast ever, part of a sweet potato, a couple of broccoli spears. I didn’t eat it until 4pm.


Day 27 dinner

Two grilled hamburgers topped with guacamole and tomato with a side of lettuce. This was a really delicious meal. At the beginning of the Whole 30 my husband swore he wouldn’t eat a hamburger without a bun, and tonight he happily ate two of them. Yay!

Whole 30 – Day 26

Today was a much less hungry day than my last few days. This is what I ate:


Day 26 breakfast

World’s best breakfast without the egg. We finished the last of our eggs with dinner last night. Oops. It was still tasty.

After breakfast I went to the grocery store to take advantage of a good deal on ground beef and bought two more Larabars. I ate one mid morning and one mid afternoon. The first one tasted like acetone and the second one wasn’t much better. I may be cured of my desire for them.


Day 26 lunch

The last two cabbage rolls.

In the afternoon I ate a slice of turkey as a snack.


Day 26 dinner

Yellowfin tuna (there was a second piece still in the skillet), roasted broccoli, and a baked sweet potato with ghee. I couldn’t finish it all.

After dinner we walked to the movie theater and watched Wrath of the Titans. It wasn’t very good, but it was nice to get out.