Whole30 Graduate

For the month of January I did Whole30. I gave you a week 1 recap and then didn’t give you a week 2 or 3 recap. My bad. But! I’m happy to report that I stuck with it for 30 days straight; I haven’t had grains*, gluten, soy, dairy, alcohol, added sugar or legumes. 95% of the meals I ate in the month of January I cooked. That’s right; to ensure I was compliant with Whole30 I cooked almost all of my  meals at home, and if I did go out to eat it was to grab a salad, or the like. Needless to say it was by far the healthiest month of my life.

So, was it hard? Ab-so-freaking-lutely.

Would I do it again? Probably.

So why exactly did I do this?

Well I’ve mentioned here before that after the marathon, running took a back burner in the fall. Combine that with going out quite a bit on weekends and eating all.of.the.things, come December my body was in desperate need of a break and reset. I was feeling extremely puffy and bloated, and it started to affect my mood and my self image and confidence. Unfortunately, it got to the point where I was the unhappiest with my body than I’ve been in years.

Emily brought up the idea of doing Whole30 for the month of January and I told her she was crazy. But, due to the aforementioned feelings above, I knew I needed a hard reset and to do something I’d never done before. I had been putting off my health for months, letting vacations or fun events be an excuse. But in January all my weekends were free and the excuses had run out. It was time for me to focus on making myself healthier and happier. So while Whole30 was a bit of an extreme way to set out to accomplish this goal, desperate times call for extreme measures.

What did I learn, exactly? Well, over the last 30 days I’ve gained a lot of perspective. I think a lot of people share this mentality when it comes to treats: that a bite won’t kill you. But for me, a bite turns into 2 or 3 bites, and I regret all of them later. “Treats” weren’t special anymore and I wasn’t saving them for what they are; a special food to celebrate a birthday or a really shitty day. Not to celebrate that I got of bed that morning and was a functioning human. Before Whole30 I was taking the “treat yoself” mentality a little too liberally. I was saying “yes!” to everything out of fear of feeling FOMO or looking silly (I don’t know about you, but when something is in front of me I have a really hard time saying no). Yes, I’m that girl who enjoys the half of a cupcake for a few minutes and then is on the bus home after work regretting it. But what I realized was underneath that was disappointment in myself that I didn’t have control or that I let FOMO get the best of me.

I had to learn to get comfortable saying no. Instead of giving in I remembered my goal and why I was doing this in the first place; why I was on this restrictive diet and reset. I would remind myself “You’ve had a cookie before. What you haven’t done before is said no to indulgences that you’ll regret later.” So with that, I politely said no more times than I ever had before and explained I was doing Whole30. And you know what? Everyone supported me. And I began to be okay with “missing out.” I put myself and this dedication to my body and mind first. I’m really proud of that. Perhaps the most important learning and accomplishment of Whole30 is that I have more willpower and determination than I’ve ever given myself credit.

Taking the time to mindfully think about the foods I was putting into my body was also a welcome perspective. I’ve circled back on the realization that my food is my fuel. You already know running and my performance is important to me. So, yes, while I did PR the morning after a day of day drinking last fall, I’ve also been able to wake up every day for 30 days without the excuse of a hangover to skip my morning workout. I’m also someone who gets MAJOR anxiety after they drink, so that anxiety relief has been amazing as well.

So did I lose weight? Yep. About 6 pounds. And while I’m thrilled, I’m more grateful for the loss of anxiety, learning to put myself first, and getting comfortable with saying no. It feels great to accomplish something so big for me personally to start off the year.

I bet you’re wondering if I’m eating a donut as I’m writing this reflection post. Not exactly. I’m following the Whole30 reintroduction and will start to slowly add back in the foods I haven’t been eating. So instead of a donut I’m eating homemade granola. And it is GLORIOUS! On Friday I’m going out for sushi and am adding back in legumes, and after my race on Sunday I’ll have my first drink since January 1st.

Cheers to 2017 already off to a healthy and accomplished start : )

*Disclaimer: I was eating quinoa for a few days there. As I’m training for a half my body needed some type of grain carb.

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President Trump

*Warning: Semi-liberal post. If you’re offended by these opinions, I advise you don’t read this post*

I’ve been interested in politics since I was a little girl. I can’t remember how, or what exactly sparked my interest, but I remember writing a history paper in 7th grade about JFK. I did TONS of research on the young president who came from a family of wealth and privilege. Even then, I wasn’t ignorant to his extra marital affairs but instead focused on his legacy; how a young, Catholic senator from Massachusetts captivated our nation.

This history/political science interest continued on to high school, where I had a history teacher named Ms. Feinberg. Whether she knows this or not, she had an incredible impact on how and why I think the way I do. She graduated from Columbia undergrad and Stanford graduate school. She wasn’t married, had frizzy hair, and didn’t dress all that well. And she was the first female role model I had who’d put her education first. Above getting married, her looks, etc. And while I don’t think this was ever her intention, her liberal rhetoric poured over into the way she taught. I thought she was incredibly smart, and I challenged myself to be more like her.

I went on to be a Political Science minor in college, and was fortunate enough to be going to school in Colorado in 2008; a swing state that has a caucus nomination process. The night I went to caucus was one of the most important and rewarding experiences of my life as an American citizen. I went to the local elementary school where I sat in a classroom with about 35 other voters. When the facilitator asked us to raise our hands for who we were nominating for the Democratic party, about 12 people raised their for Hillary Clinton, and 23 or so raised their hands for Barack Obama.

I raised my hand for Barack Obama.

A couple of weeks earlier, Obama held a rally at the University of Denver on a weekday morning. A classmate and I left at 6:30 am, made our way down to Denver, and arrived at 7:30 am to see 20,000 people lined up outside the DU Hockey Arena. 20,000 people. The arena could only hold 9,000. Some people left, but we heard muffling of people going onto the soccer field where he would address those who wouldn’t be able to get in. We beelined for the soccer field, and were some of the first ones on the field.

He came out with Caroline Kennedy by his side, and I felt a moment where life had come full circle. From that braces and pimpley preteen who was infatuated with this woman’s father to then, a woman in college attending a political rally.

He spoke about change. He spoke about hope. He was charismatic, kind, warm, and smart. It felt like everything he was saying I was looking for. My vote was a no brainer.

Flash forward 8 years, to Election Day 2016.

Maybe I’ll blame the fact that I chose to write my first history paper on a democrat, or maybe I’ll blame Ms. Feinberg. Or the fact that I was born and raised in the most liberal city in the country. I even have republican parents! But I can’t help it. I am what you would classify as a liberal. I believe in women’s rights. I believe in equal pay. I believe in a woman’s right to choose. I believe in gay marriage. I believe in civil rights. I believe in social welfare programs. I believe in universal healthcare. I believe that global warming is real. I want to protect our national parks. I am willing to pay my fair share of taxes and sacrifice part of my paycheck to protect and advance these initiatives. Because I believe we are all in this together. But I also want to say, that I support our troops, our veterans, and those who fight for our country. I think you can be “Republican” on some issues and “Democrat” on others. I’m not sure there isn’t anyone in this country who doesn’t think we need to make veteran affairs a top priority. So if that makes me by definition a liberal, then so be it.

I’m here to say, and I guess the point of this post, is that I am sad today. Sure, I am sad my party “lost.” I am sad that Congress is made up of a Republican Majority. I’m afraid these leaders will take away some of the rights I believe should be non-negotiable. But with that, I understand there are transitions of power. I know that “my party” isn’t always going to be in power.

What I am sad about most is there is a man in power, the leader of the free world, my, our, YOUR POTUS- a man who degrades women. Who mocks the disabled. I am sad we are transitioning from a dignified, respectable, and graceful president to a man who has shown little to no empathy or tolerance for those of different religions, cultures, and circumstances than his own.

About a month before the election I heard an interview with a republican couple from North Carolina. They were swing voters who were leaning towards Trump because of their religious values. What was making them swing and doubt their vote was Trump himself. The husband worked for an international company and did a lot of business overseas. He was embarrassed by Trump and was afraid of losing business if Trump became president. They spoke about the bible, and how God loves all of his children, no matter their immigration status. I’m sure they ended up voting for Trump, but for those reasons I can understand. They voted for him because the values they hold dear he supported. But they did not support his demeanor and candor.

I know that there are people who don’t agree with me on what I value. But then again, I don’t know them personally. I live in my liberal bubble. I only travel to the coasts, to big cities. I am amongst people who would fight for my right to be paid equally. I am amongst people who would fight for my right to get birth control. I don’t know people who are sick and tired of our government. Who feel like this isn’t their America. The people I know thought our government was working just fine under President Obama. Sure, they may not have been happy all the time, but I don’t know anyone who is happy about the man we are going to have in office for four years.

I know there are disgruntled Americans. I know they are out there. Because they have made their voices heard. I just want to know if they are proud of our new president’s demeanor? Of his temper? Of his Tweets?

Because I believe you can still respect a leader in power who you don’t see eye to eye with. You can still respect someone you don’t agree with. You can still be kind. You can still be graceful.

I’m hopeful. Because if we lose sight of hope, we have no dreams to hold on to.

My best friend sent me this quote, and it encapsulates everything I’m feeling today: “Loyalist to country always. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”- Mark Twain.

“Whole 30” Week 1

Last Monday I started Whole30. If you haven’t heard of Whole30, I’m sure you’ve heard of the “Paleo” Diet. And if you haven’t heard of Paleo, you’ve at least seen a meme of people talking about the latest fad diet they’ve either tried or are currently on. Not to diminish Whole30 as a fad diet, but you know what I mean. Anyway, Whole30 is basically a more intense version of Paleo that lasts for 30 days. It’s no grains, dairy, soy, added sugar, legumes, and alcohol. People use Whole30 to lose weight, obviously, but also to reset their metabolism, learn which foods that may be causing them discomfort, and change their relationship with food.

Ah, relationships with food. I won’t get too far into it because that isn’t the point of this post. But here’s a quick rundown: when I graduated from college and moved home, I noticed that point blank I was chubby. I tried the South Beach Diet in combination with starting to run. One of those lasted for a few weeks, the other I fell in love with and still torture myself with today. When that didn’t work, I stumbled across Tone It Up, and this program spoke to me. A program led by two women whose main goal is in the name: to help women tone up. I purchased their nutrition plan and have essentially been trying to live by the lifestyle for years now: 5 meals a day, eating fruit and carbs in the morning, leaving fats for the afternoon, and eating lean, clean, and green dinners. Sure their stuff can be cheesy, but there are millions of Instagram tags and posts of women who are bonding over a shared goal of getting healthier. I find that the program empowers women and is a safe platform for encouragement and community. The world needs a lot more of that, in my opinion; a space for women to share their insecurities, to know that they are not alone in their struggles with loving and accepting their bodies.

When Emily moved in last August, we discovered that we both followed Tone It Up, among other things: a shared bond over our love of fitness, yoga, healthy and indulgent cooking, Lululemon, acai bowls, Taylor Swift, etc. We’re sort of the two most basic girls in San Francisco. And it’s lovely.

Flash forward to December, and Emily decided we would be doing Whole 30 in January. I quickly said yes, because over the last few months I’ve gained about 10 pounds. Since the marathon, running has fallen behind and I’ve consistently felt bloated and puffy. I’ve let fun weekends and trips be an excuse to indulge, while not making my health a priority. I’ve wanted this for a while; a reset, some discipline, an accountability partner, and to get back to a healthy place with food again.

So! Week one went great. I’m really proud of my self for outlining all of meals, grocery shopping, and meal prepping on Sundays. I will say, I AM EATING QUINOA! I’m training for the Kaiser Half on February 5th, and I need some sort of carb other than sweet potatoes to fuel my training. However, that is my only deviance form the program, and I feel really great. I feel less bloated, have a ton of energy, and I’m not really missing anything too much. Sure, I had to walk away from my coworker the other day when he had mac and cheese for lunch, and I was eyeing the mint flavored Oreo’s at work today (and I don’t even really like Oreo’s!), but I’ve been able to get over it quickly. It’s all about remembering why you started. Here are some of the meals I ate last week:

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Lunch: kale, avocado, whole30 approved mayo with tuna, roasted butternut squash and cauliflower

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Dinner Cauliflower rice bowl: cod, roasted butternut squash, and avocado

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A dinner my friend Mandy made! Whole30 butter chicken, roasted zucchini and brussels sprouts, salad, and quinoa

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Breakfast quinoa bowl: quinoa, sliced almonds, chia seeds, cashew butter, frozen cherries, and unsweetened coconut flakes

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Sunday Supper: short ribs, quinoa, and mashed sweet potatoes

I’m planning on following Whole30 until February 5th (or at least not consuming alcohol until then) so I’ll keep you all posted each week!

2016 Running Recap

One of my New Year’s Resolutions for 2016 was to run one race a month. I’m happy to say that with the exception of August I stuck to my resolution! These races were a combination of painful slow running, sensational fast running, frustration, weaving between crowds, cold and hot weather, etc. Some were unexpectedly easier than others, while some were annoyingly harder. I considered sleeping in and ditching a lot of these races, but I held myself accountable, which is another unexpected accomplishment from this resolution. Here’s my list of races for 2016:

January: Hot chocolate 5K

  Foster City 5K

February: Chinese New Year 10K (3rd year in a row!)

March: Get Lucky 5K*: 25:13/top 2 women!

April: Guardsmen 10K

May: Girls on the Run 5K

June: San Diego Rock n Roll Half Marathon*: 1:56:22 (first time breaking sub 2hours!)

July: San Francisco Marathon

August: No race, still miserable from the marathon and was seriously debating if I ever wanted to run again

September: Giants 10K*: 53:37

October: Run 10 Feed 10

November: Oceanside Turkey Trot 10K

December: Timed 5K on December 31: 26:02

*PR!

As I admitted above, a lot of these races weren’t exactly pretty. In particular, the half marathon in June was the toughest; not from a physical aspect, but because I was in a really emotional headspace. I was going through a lot of change that left me in a sensitive state of fragility and self conscious with uncertainty. I also added on the pressure that if I wanted to do well in my first marathon in July, I had to run this half easily. The combination of my vulnerable state of mind and PR stress resulted in me using the race as a way to hold on to the part of my identity that I was most proud of, while simultaneously fighting feelings of nervousness and doubt. Every race I repeat to myself not to give up, but this race that voice quickly turned into nagging and reminding myself that in 7 weeks I had to run double the mileage. The internal competition within myself reached an extreme point. I was pushing myself so hard. In most of my other races, it’s typically my mind that gives me the extra push when my body feels exhausted. But this race it was my mind that was trying to keep up with my body. Giving up wasn’t an option, and my body was stronger than my mind. It was a time where I was truly appreciative of all of the training I’d ever done that had lead me to that point.

The best and most surprising race of the year was the Giants 10K. To be honest I was pretty hungover, as the day before I was celebrating Erik Davis’ birthday playing some good old fashioned sloshball (aka keg kickball aka drinking lots of beer while playing kickball) in Golden Gate Park. Considering it was my first race since the marathon, I had no expectations for this race (quite the alternative since June). Maybe it was all of the carbs from the beer or the fact I was running a familiar route, but I quickly found my stride after mile one, and continued to feel better with each mile. I didn’t wear my Garmin for this race (that’s how much I was winging it), so when I looked up my race results and saw that I PR’d by a full minute, I was pretty stoked.

These two races ended in PR’s and were so obviously different. It just proves that at the end of the day not every PR, accomplishment or success was traveled on a yellow brick road to get there. I guess that’s a metaphor for life too, right?

Admittedly, running has taken a back burner the last few months. To put it simply, I just haven’t been into it. I’ve felt and seen changes in my body as a result, and feel sluggish and slow. Quite the contrast from this past Summer when I was in maybe the best shape of my life. But it’s not all about how I look physically. As a creature of habit I feel so much more stable when I have a routine. It feels SO good every time I cross off another interval, fartlek, track, tempo, or long run. Training for a race and goal, and knowing what I need to do to get there gives me a sense of security and accomplishment.

I’ve made it no secret here that 2016 was a tough year, for many reasons. So in an effort to make 2017 better, a couple weeks ago I decided I would start training for the Kaiser Half Marathon on February 5th. I look forward to sharing with you all a bit of my training progress in the new year!

Here’s to more miles, happiness, and health in 2017 🙂