How to Get Rid of the Evil Sugar Monkey

"Restlessness and discontent are the first necessities of progress."  -Thomas Edison

Evil Sugar Monkey
I've had a couple people tell me how they connected to the discomfort and sort of melancholy restlessness that brought me to this challenge.  I believe that sensation is our potential best-self communicating to the conscious mind that...."um....heeeellOOOOoooo, it's time to make some changes!"

But, let's be real.  Changes are intimidating: hard to start and super easy to put off.  That's why I'm bringing to you a wonderful step-by-step article on how to "Dump the Sugar for Good" from stumptuous.com.  Seriously, click here and give it a read...it will make you laugh, nod in a agreement, and then help you get on the sugar-free train to....well NOT diabetes-ville, that's for sure.

If sugar is not the habit you're looking to kick, I believe this article gives a great foundation to maybe cutting out alcohol or junk food as well.  If you're feeling that restless discontent, maybe give this challenge a shot!  And don't forget to be gentle with yourself; one slip up is never a good reason to give up.  Peace, love, and a happy Monday to all!


Broken-hearted Knees and What To Do About Them

"IBS, Fibromyalgia, back pain, neck pain, knee pain and more are due, in large part, to our thoughts and emotions. " -Dr. Steve Rosman

I was disrobed and lying under a sheet in immense amounts of disorienting pain.  "Uggggghh," I moaned into the face rest as Jason, massage therapist extraordinaire, dug into my quad, "I seriously think I'm gonna throw up."  I didn't.  But, as the hour ticked on, Jason brought up the concept of emotions/traumatic events being trapped or stored in the body.  It was the second time in two days that someone had told this to me after working on my legs.

I thought back to the Sunday night before my week-long Case of the Mondays and big break down.  Jason had aggressively worked on the knots and ropes that live in my legs these days.  During the week following that massage, I had felt increasingly worn out and distraught by work and (although not mentioned before) suddenly ever-present thoughts of an ex.  Ok...let's be real...THE ex.  I was surprised by the persistent haunting of our past relationship in my brainspace as I had thought I'd come to terms with it and moved on.  For me, there was a lot of anxiety and emotional pain during our on-again-off-again, three-year relationship that ended last December (around the time my knee pain began with a vengeance).  During the week-long haunting of relationships past, I cried more than I had in the previous six months, for no apparent reason.  Following my most recent massage, I was inundated by thoughts of another, more ambiguous, loss from the last six months that continues to be a large source of confusion and sadness for me. Was this all a strange coincidence or something more?


How Frogs and Inertia Help You Get Sh*% Done

"If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea."  -Antoine de Saint-Exuper

Sometimes I wonder if everyone has a brain like me, one that buzzes and whirs and keeps me up at night, striving for efficiency in everything, envisioning the ideal of every situation with no clucking clue how to get there, second guessing, insatiable, analytical...it can be exhausting.  But I love my brain, for within it is everything I've been, everything I am, everything I will be.  My brain is my greatest attribute and my greatest obstacle all in one gray, wormy, three lb mass.  

My brain does not let me rest, and I'm grateful for it.  I'm proud of the successes I've accomplished so far: kicking a seven year addiction to caffeine (this one's been on the New Year's rezzy list for five years or so); resting heart rate has gone from 75 bpm to 62 bpm; a smattering of new PR's at the gym after a year's plateau (snatch 110#, butterfly pullups, handstand push ups, etc).  Exciting!  But, enough?  Nope.  So where to go from here?  Here are the steps that help me get sh*# done.


Paleo-Zone: A Way to Look Good Naked

"The deepest secret is that life is not a process of discovery, but a process of creation. You are not discovering yourself, but creating yourself anew. Seek, therefore, not to find out Who You Are, seek to determine Who You Want To Be."  -Neale Donald Walsch, Conversations with God – Book 1

First off, happy hump-day to everyone!  I know I personally do a quick cheer each week when I get over the hump...two more days till I get to sleep in, yay!  Also, I will always jump at the chance to say "hump," especially in a non-crass way.  And every time I use the word "crass,"  I think of my dear mother who has coached the crap out of me to not embody the aforementioned modifier.  It's a tough job, but she has heart and endless determination.  

We are approximately sixty days strong into The Clean Year.  Whoop!  Time to do a recap.  It started with three weeks of hell, i.e. withdrawal symptoms from caffeine and sugar followed by approximately three weeks of smooth sailing.  My energy levels went from a 5-6 ish range to a 7-9.  Restful sleep became easier to attain.  My skin cleared up quite a bit.  Cravings were not too frequent and not too strong.  Six weeks in, I hit a big wall and cried about it, publicly.  Discovered new ways of crutching myself.  (Yes, I turned "crutch" into a verb...you're welcome, world.)  Stress levels sky rocketed, refined-sugar free binging commenced, skin broke out, tossing and turning replaced sleeping, used all possible restraint to not drink a gallon of beer/wine/tequila to relax my old-fashioned way.  Gah!  Refocused and rejuvenated myself with outside time and with support of a great community.  Began ten weeks of Paleo-Zone style grub-munching a week and a half ago.

Why Paleo-Zone?  First and foremost, because when I eat this way, I shed fat like it's nothing (click here to see), I lift heavier weights and get faster times on workouts, I feel amazing, and most of all, my energy and moods become super stable and positive.  I know that for me, it's a great avenue to work towards greater health and ultimately, a long and disease-free life.  The nutrition lecture at Crossfit Verve a week and a half ago reminded me of the reasoning behind it.  Paleo is all about eating quality, anti-inflammatory foods: lean meat, veggies, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar.  Paleo style eating can come in all different flavors and can be tweaked to meet each person's individual needs.  Check out this nice, concise blog that compares and contrasts the different takes on "caveman grub".  Zone, on the other hand, addresses the quantity of food/macronutrients I put in my pie-hole.

Realizations since starting my Paleo-Zone party are as follows:

- Weighing and measuring is a pain in the ass...AT FIRST!  Then, it becomes a part of the routine.  Easy peezy.

Post 5K recovery: 3 blocks of food and a crap-ton of ice.
- I was eating wayyyyyyy too much.  As in, I don't get to eat just cuz I feel like it?!  

- When I'm consuming appropriate amounts of carbs, protein and fat, I am forced to eat a ton of veggies so I don't starve all day.  I have to think about my carbs and how to "spend them".  Luckily, that's how my body likes to be fed...it's the brain that needs the convincing.

- I'm lazy.  Or maybe it's just that I have no free time.  Either way...I don't cook that much.  I love to look droolingly at food blogs.  I dream big, then get back to my reality:  eating bags of frozen veggies or raw no-prep veggies, with a hunk of meat that I mass-grilled on Sunday and sliced up avocado or a few nuts.  Even the lazy man's Paleo is delicious.  Not joking.  People get jealous.

- I get smaller when I eat appropriate amounts of quality foods for my lean body mass.  Who knew?  So far, I have shrunk the same amount (a couple lbs and about a half an inch at the waist) in a week and a half as I did the first seven weeks of this journey.  Boom.

- A food journal is a fascinating tool.  You can figure out all sorts of sh*& about your body by looking for patterns of what you eat.  It is also a necessary practice for significant forward progress in my nutrition.

- A well-balanced meal that will keep me full and energetic will also make my jaws hurt from all the chewing.  Seriously, I eat at top speed all the time, and these meals still take, at the very least, ten minutes to finish.  If it's done in two, we've got a problem.

Driving back from the cabin with Sarah Bear and Jo Jo.
- Life still comes first.  Out of the last ten days, five were great Paleo-Zone days and four were Paleo-Zone-ish days and one was a Paleo-ish day.  Great?  Nope.  But I went to a cabin with some of my favorite friends, where we cooked and ate as a family...was I gonna whip out my scale and measuring cups right there?  Nope.  I might be there one day, but last weekend was all about friends and food and fun.  And watching them get all happy-drunk while I sipped on sparkling water with a splash of juice.  It was a GREAT weekend.

So, the next "crutches" in my squashing machine (not to be confused with the smooshing machine, says the reality T.V. addict...hahaha, cracking myself up) are grains, most dairy, eating too much or "just cuz I wanna", and too much fruit.  I'm on my way back to Awesome...and loving the journey!

I know a ton of people who also started dialing in their nutrition recently, how goes it with you?