Friday, 27 July 2012

In with the good, out with the bad

I'm focusing on the positive today - I lost eleven pounds!!!  Nineteen more to my goal, and bodies are awesome! Cold or not, I'm totally wearing my mini skirts every chance I get this winter.  I miss them!  And the shorts I bought myself two weeks ago to go to the beach?  Yeah, they don't really fit anymore.  I'm not complaining.

I can't say this month has been anything near easy, but at least food and my weight are two things I haven't had to worry about.  Literally all I'm doing is not eating grains or refined sugar.  I fry half of my meals (in sesame oil or bacon grease) and am hardly ever actually hungry.  I munch on berries or nuts (that I baked in coconut oil, cashew butter, and raw honey) throughout the day, eat a couple of good meals with red meat when I have it, and I'm not exercising a fraction of what I used to.  I'm on my feet at work all day, and honestly that's about it.  Once a week I've been biking a couple miles into town or going to the beach or running laps around the house outside with Loki instead of every two days busting my butt at the gym and with dumbbells on every other day.  (*Note* This is me still being surprised at the flaws of conventional wisdom here.  I'll get over it eventually.)  I got a migraine yesterday, but aside from the times I've cheated on my food and eaten stuff I shouldn't have, it's the first headache I've had since I started this a month ago.  I 100% blame current stress and nasty people at work.  Day two is coming on with tension in my neck... I'll be taking a Magnesium and migraine pill shortly, which will be the first of either I've taken in, oh let's count it, about a month.

Moving on from that (I'm seriously excited to bursting about the scale - first time it's dropped below 145 since last fall!), I've finished two more books which puts me at 12/24.  A Feast for Crows, which may be the last of the Song of Ice and Fire books that I read as it was a complete drag to get through, and The Way of Shadows, book 1 of the Night Angels trilogy.  Yeah, I read that in under two days.  Holy crap was it good.  Assassins and magic and intrigue and everything modern fantasy wants and usually drops the ball on mixing well.  The ending was kinda stupid and cliche, but there are two more books (currently on order at Books-A-Million) so I'll hold off on final judgement.  My coworkers have discovered my love of reading, and now that I'm in the middle of reading 月の影 影の海, which I've had on my re-read list for about three years (didn't understand most of it the first time around) and is two books long, I now also have a copy of The Giver and Fahrenheit 451 that I have to get through in the next month before I move again.  My boss also has a historical fiction about King Harold (last Anglo-Saxon king of England) that he wants to lend me.  I wish I had more time!!

It's good to be reading in Japanese again though.  I've been avoiding it aside from the translating I've been doing here and there.  The good news is, though, I haven't really forgotten much.  Even some of the level 1 kanji that I crammed for the N1 test three years ago and never used since are still in there apparently.  Lots of memories coming back though, which is good but sad.  It makes me miss my friends, but I would do it all over again, even knowing what I do now.  I really should get on studying again though.  I'm not taking remedial Japanese at U-M because I tested poorly.  Not that I'm overly worried.  I'll easily test out of the required courses, but the biggest reason I want to study there is to take their medieval Japanese.  And then there's the part of me that grudgingly knows I should have studied just a little harder for N1 and gotten that .5% better so I would just have that stupid certificate already.  I doubt if it'll happen this year... but we'll see how busy I am with work.  It'll be a good reason to go visit Matt in Chicago anyway... not that I really need one.

Apartment has also been found and applied for.  This is super exciting news, and my tentative move day is around the 25th of August.  I'll be sad to leave my coworkers though, they're freaking awesome people.  Lame sounding as it is, I have to get their addresses before I go so I can mail them Christmas presents if nothing else.  Speaking of presents, I need to make more of my bead guys.  I haven't had the space to do any crafts really this summer.  I'm so excited to have my own apartment again!!

So that's the gist of the good.  I may go make some coffee and try out the coconut milk I bought to help this headache.  And I need to find my migraine medicine.  Then I think I'll go play with Loki outside for a bit before work if it eases up a bit.  It might rain again today, which is good.  I know this area of the country has been really lucky with rain about twice a month.  It's Friday, which means work will be pretty busy this evening even if it does rain... which is good.  It can get boring in the evenings.

I can't believe it's almost August!

Thursday, 12 July 2012

I did a dumb thing

I got lazy when I was hungry and made a frozen pizza last night.  Never again.... which is sad because I really love pizza and it's really the one food I miss eating paleo/primal.  Everything hurt; my insides, my head, my skin (!).  Not badly, mind you, but when you haven't been hurting at all for a couple weeks, I really noticed it.  I went to bed just feeling yucky, slept like the dead, and woke up again at the crack of dawn.  I'm really not sure why I keep doing that.... it's quite the struggle to get back to sleep after the sun is up, but I'm working 12-8:30 so habit is telling me "Go back to sleep."  Which is really dumb too.  I could get up at 5:30 when I'm wide awake and feeling pretty well refreshed and have a nice morning rather than having a long evening after work.... Having a roommate makes going to sleep early and getting up early difficult too, especially in close quarters.

So that was my dumb thing, after I posted yesterday about how great I felt.  I'm still a little sluggish today, either from staying up too late or from a carb crash.  So sad about the pizza though.  I really do love pizza.  I'll have to make mom's zucchini and squash pizza soon... once my zucchini gets big enough and the squash comes in. ^_^ Picked the first zucchini off the plant yesterday, perfect size for putting in my meals.  Fay wants to grow them bigger for zucchini bread (which I can't eat), so I figure the next couple I'll let get big-ish.  Bummed we only have one plant.  Not that we have room for more than one plant.  I wanted a bit bigger of a garden, but Fay wanted to use a garden box instead of clearing out the old garden and planting in the actual ground, and I don't want to pay $30 for a bag of dirt, so we're using about 1/3 of the garden box and have five plants crammed in there.  Only the zucchini plant is really growing anything.  We might get a few tomatoes, but neither tomato plant looks very healthy.  Hopefully next summer I'll be able to have a decent sized garden.  I love fresh veggies.

Still apartment hunting for the fall.  Actually my soon-to-be-roommate is apartment hunting for us.  She's found one that would be nice, but it's at the outer edge of our budget.  The nicest mobile home she found was next to a landfill, which doesn't surprise me but is rather unfortunate.  Still have a few weeks left to search, but it'd be nice to know where I'm moving to next so I don't have that to worry about anymore.  I hope we can be close to Ann Arbor so I can look for a full time job there and still be close enough to school.  That would be ideal.  We shall see.

For now... no more pizza for me. :(

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Going Primal

Living in the sticks, spending all day outside, running barefoot through forests.... er.. actually not.  Too many ticks, and even in sandals I end up stabbing my foot with twigs.  The title is just fun to say.  It's actually referencing a diet/lifestyle that I've been researching and giving a shot at for the last few weeks.  While science hasn't given me a solid enough theory with solid enough proof for me to buy that we evolved from proteins, the theories behind the Paleo Diet and the Primal Blueprint just make sense to me.  The basic gist is that human beings are/were meant to be hunter-gatherers, not live on grain, processed meats and sugars, and basically all the crap we've been eating since we became agriculture-based as a society.  Translate that into the modern day where we eat almost nothing but processed foods grown across the planet, covered in pesticides, and packaged with chemicals no one can pronounce.  And we're appalled at and confused by obesity and type II diabetes in children.

So all that about processed foods is something that I've had issue with since I was a kid. My mom's always been good about buying more natural, healthier foods, and when I was out living on my own I did what I could to buy less processed foods as well.  In Japan it was a bit harder because I couldn't always read what was in the packaging, but aside from the occasional chips and pizza (and of course my daily coke), I mostly made my own stir fries with rice because it was cheapest.  My first year in Japan I ate for crap.  Mostly rice, some fried foods, coke every day, and whatever I could get my hands on because I didn't have the money or means to make my own food.  I was 123 when I left in the fall, size 7.   Nine months later I was 123 and easily fit into a size 5 with some room to spare.  The difference?  Well, I walked everywhere, danced a lot, and was insanely active.  Looking back, I also ate next to no bread, my only sugar was in coke, and processed or otherwise, I ate a ton of meats and veggies.  The last year I lived there I peaked at 136 but was still a size 6.  I was less active and ate more pizza (I lived on it for a month after the earthquake).  When I came back last spring I wanted to lose that extra ten pounds, so I actively tried to eat better and somehow gained ten pounds.  In the fall I really started exercising and counting calories... and gained another ten pounds and two sizes over the winter.

I'm about halfway through Mark Sisson's Primal Blueprint (book), and looking back on the last year, the biggest difference in my eating, despite trying to eat healthy, was a lack of red meat and a lot of grain in the form of bread, pasta, tortilla shells, and popcorn (my "healthy" snack).  I still generally kept under my "weight loss calorie count," but it, obviously, didn't work.  It may be pseudo-science,  I'm not a scientist and neither is Sisson, but I recognize a good argument with good research, and Sisson's argument that grains are toxic is pretty solid in my eyes.  I'd like to see some counter arguments, but in the mean time, I'm willing to give it a try.  His argument that high-fat meats are better for humans than vegetable oils runs so counter to what I've always learned that, despite being well argued and well researched, I'm having a little more trouble with that one.  Still, I'm willing to give that a try as well.

So, since this is getting long, let me wrap up the last few weeks.  I weighed in at 155 three weeks ago when I cut out grain products, or at least started trying to.  July 4 was the last time I had any grain (hamburger bun at my work barbecue) and it's been four or five days since I've drank anything but water.  I'm eating nuts, fruits, veggies, and lots and lots of red meat.  I'm avoiding chicken as much as possible because the hormone injected jumbo chickens scare me and taste gross.  What refined sugar I'm getting is incidental in a couple of the nuts I've been eating (chocolate roasted almonds which I try to limit and the coconut flakes I mixed in with the protein bars I made on Monday - I couldn't find unsweetened).  My results after a week of seriously doing this and two weeks of kinda doing it?  Yesterday I weighed in at 149, my skin is starting to clear up, my nails are growing again, and my almost-daily headaches are gone.  Six pound loss aside (it still could be muscle loss or water weight in my book), the only time my head hurts is when I don't put my glasses on right away.  That's it.  No migraines, not even a dull throb for at least two weeks.  My head doesn't hurt!!  Sold, right there.

So, I'm not done reading Primal Blueprint, but I'll update again when I finish.  I hope my readers, especially my family, take a minute to think about the ideas here.  For me, not having a constant headache is worth giving up sandwiches and fussing a bit more with food.  My family's pretty long-lived, but we're not very healthy for all that.  I want to be 100+ and healthy, not in a nursing home waiting to die, and I want my family and friends around with me.  So, yeah, just think about it.  I have to go make my lunch/dinner for work now - squash, broccoli, carrots, and ground beef in spaghetti sauce.. don't knock it till you've tried it.  The only better one I've come up with is all that in taco seasoning. ^_~